Ex-drag queen sues boss for sexual discrimination

Friday, December 18, 2009

LONDON - A former drag queen has sued his boss for unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination.

Dean Awford, dubbed “Dean The Queen”, told a tribunal yesterday that his upmarket furniture store boss David Gray, 56, subjected him to two years of homophobic abuse.

Giving evidence at the hearing in Birmingham, Awford said that Gray would frequently refer to him as “she” or “her,” and would say, “Don’t be such a puff”, making him feel humiliated and insulted.

Awford, who used to appear in Birmingham and Manchester clubs as Scarlett Eclipse, said Gray would point him in the direction of homosexual customers, and would say, “There’s one of your type - just go and sort it out.”

“I am a homosexual male and have made no secret of that. During my employment I was subjected to continual harassment due to my sexual preference,” the Daily Express quoted Awford, from Worcester, as saying.

“I was very intimidated by him,” he stated.

The tribunal also heard that when Awford came into work wearing a white suit Gray remarked, “Look at you, you faggot”, and “You look like that man out of Fantasy Island”.

Awford, 42, told how Gray had made him feel uncomfortable when a customer commented on white shoes with a floral pattern he was wearing.

“She has got the knickers to match,” Gray had replied to the customer.

Awford, who said he lost his 16,000 pounds-a-year job, was asked by Gray’s legal representative, Alison Frazer, why he did not complain.

“It was far easier to laugh off the comments,” he explained.

Awford also claimed he was treated like a “skivvy” and was shouted at for leaving the shop in a mess when Gray was away for three days.

He told the hearing that although he had not been a drag queen for 10 years, he would perform for special requests or charity events.

He said his stage name “Dean The Queen” was only used by his best friends and added that he did not like Gray using the expression.

Gray has denied Awford’s claims of discrimination and the hearing is still continuing. (ANI)

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