Former drag queen accuses boss of homophobia

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A gay man who once worked as a drag queen is suing his boss for unfair dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination.

Dean Awford, 42, worked as a sales manager for furniture store Grays At Northwick for two years, earning an annual salary of £16,000.

He alleges that his boss David Gray continually directed homophobic insults at him and humiliated him in front of customers.

Awford told an employment tribunal he had made no secret of his sexual orientation but Gray would call him a “poof and “faggot”, along with referring to him as “she”.

He said: “During my employment I was subjected to continual harassment due to my sexual preference.. . Mr Gray was an extremely volatile and abusive employer.

“[On one] occasion I was in a white suit and he said ‘look at you, you faggot.’ Faggot is a word I don’t like and I would complain verbally about what he was saying to me.”

Gray, 56, denied Awford’s claims, saying both men made banter about his sexual orientation.

Awford, who used to appear in clubs in Birmingham and Manchester as Scarlett Eclipse, said people expected to see a drag queen make remarks about homosexuality but he did not expect it in the workplace.

The case continues.