opinion

Karl Stefanovic just delivered a masterclass in how to apologise.

This morning, Karl Stefanovic offered an apology for his shockingly transphobic remarks made on air yesterday.

And what a masterclass it was in gracefully acknowledging you’ve stuffed up royally.

Stefanovic repeatedly used the terms “transvestite” and “tranny” during a cross with reporter Christine Ahern in Rio.

Stefanovic repeatedly used the terms "transvestite" and "tranny". Image via Channel 9.

A number of viewers expressed their disappointment about Stefanovic's comments on Twitter.

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Stefanovic responded  to the backlash this morning, labelling himself an "ignorant fool" and acknowledged that he had "crossed a line... I didn't even know that line existed."

He then used the word "tranny" (which is widely understood to be a derogatory and dehumanising term to describe transgender people) for what he said would be "the last time".

I acknowledge that Stefanovic's on-air apology is not mine to accept.

I am not a member of the LGBTQI community. I have no understanding of the hardships faced by individuals who are, in Stefanovic's words, "battling against the odds of mainstream society".

But as an outsider, with an enormous investment in equality, acceptance and gender liberation, I cannot help but feel that Stefanovic's apology is a step in the right direction.

Last week, we saw Sonia Kruger standby her racist call to ban Muslim migration.

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Last month, we saw Eddie McGuire offer an incredibly weak and tone-deaf 'apology' for his comment about drowning journalist Caroline Wilson.

eddie mcguire caroline wilson
Last month, we saw Eddie McGuire attempt to make an apology. Image via Getty.

McGuire said "[I'm] really disappointed that these comments have led to these feelings from people," thus apologising for how some people happened to feel, rather than the words that left his mouth.

I think we need to recognise that the progression of society depends on people changing their mind. 

Stefanovic cannot know what he does not know.

As a media personality, who spends three hours on our televisions every weekday morning, he should have known.

But Stefanovic, as he acknowledged, is a white, middle aged, privileged man. I do not find it hard to believe that he has had little to do with a disenfranchised minority.

He did not try and argue that he was misunderstood or maligned. He just wholly accepted that he took "an ignorant jibe at the expense of a beautiful community". And it was wrong.

You can watch Karl Stefanovic's full apology on The Today Show here. Post continues...

Video by Channel 9

Changing your mind isn't an act of weakness or defeat, it's a sign of intelligence.

If more people were open to having their mind changed by discussions and education, then I think we would live in a very different world.

I sincerely hope that we can all learn a lesson from Stefanovic's anachronistic remarks made yesterday morning, and collectively, throw those terms in the bin.

And rather than demonise individuals who say the wrong thing, we should strive to educate them.

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