This community acknowledged their hard work with gracious thanks. Did anyone ask, did anyone care, what they did in the privacy of their own homes? Of course not.
Singer Elton John has also been awarded a Queen’s honour, for his contribution to the community and his enormous charitable works.
The story of his life is one of a determined young bisexual man who overcame enormous difficulties to become an international superstar, and went on to use his success to help struggling communities around the world.
His is a story familiar to many young people around the world, who feel lost and out of place and alone. Perhaps, like Elton John, because of their sexuality. Perhaps because of their race or their gender or their body shape. Being young is hard.
Elton John’s story offers hope to many – not just LGBTQI people. So how do we acknowledge him? By banning the movie telling that story of his life, because it portrays the triumph of love and friendship and determination over bigotry and abuse. Movies that portray violence and abuse are allowed to screen – but not a story about hope.
I can’t critique Rocketman – I haven’t seen it and now I can’t. The censor admits he hasn’t seen it either, and his planned ban is based entirely on what he has heard second-hand from nations like Egypt and Samoa.
But if the head of the Church of England, Queen Elizabeth II, can award Elton John a knighthood, we really needn’t be so fearful of his life story.
Nobody is forcing anyone to watch this movie; neither should anyone deny others the chance to see it.
The laws of this nation still prohibit homosexual acts. But at a community level, LGBTQI people tell us they feel mostly embraced and accepted.
So let that manifestation of Christianity – Jesus’ instruction to “love thy neighbour” – be how we present ourselves to the world.
This ban has no place in the Cook Islands. – Jonathan Milne