According to a shock ruling by a Paris employment tribunal,
calling a gay male hairdresser a “dirty faggot” is not a
homophobic insult, because there are lots of gay male
The ruling, which emerged this week in Metronews, has sparked
obvious anger among the gay community, who have been left
stunned, not only by the judgement but also by the tribunal's
The ruling relates to the sacking of a hairdresser in Paris last
year after he failed to turn up for work, because he was sick.
Following the sacking the female boss of the salon accidentally
sent a message to the employee he had just fired which said: “I
am not going to keep [the hairdresser in question]. I don’t have
a good feeling about this guy. He’s a dirty faggot…They're all
up to no good.”
The words used in French were "sale PD", with PD being short for
"pédé", a derogatory term that normally translates as "faggot".
The employee took his boss to the tribunal for unfair dismissal
and claimed the text message clearly showed there was homophobic
motive to the sacking.
The hairdressers said the employee was let go because he was
"slow" and had "trouble fitting in", refused to do certain tasks
and "aimed to quickly get a management position".
Despite the fact that in French the word “PD” is clearly viewed
as being derogatory the tribunal decided it wasn’t a homophobic
insult and therefore not an aggravating factor in the man’s
But then came the tribunal's bizarre reasoning.
“If we put it in the context of the field of hairdressing, the
council considers that the term “faggot” used by a manager
cannot be considered as a homophobic insult, because hair salons
regularly employ gay people, notably in female hairdressers, and
that poses no problem at all,” read the tribunal’s written
While ruling that the employer did not discriminate against the
employee, the tribunal awarded him 5,000 euros ($5,700) for
moral prejudice "because injurious words were used".
The ruling was tweeted out this week and quickly prompted anger
on social media in France.
"You are a hairdresser, you get called a faggot and that's OK
because hairdressers are often gay right. Thanks to the
tribunal," tweeted Mathieu Brancourt, a journalist who revealed
Another tweeted: "So basically it's OK to be homophobic if you
work in an area with lots of homosexuals. Fantastic guys".
Gilles Dehais president of SOS Homophobie told The Local: "It's
scandalous and of course we are outraged. But this is a
reflection of the ordinary homophobia that is present in daily
life in France and to which gay, lesbian and transsexual people
are victims of.
The ruling "may worsen the homophobic climate, which is already
bad," said Clemence Zamora-Cruz, spokeswoman of the group Inter-
She said discrimination against gays rarely gets a hearing
because the victims "prefer to keep quiet".
The decision was "clearly homophobic", said Nicolas Noguier, who
runs a shelter for victims of homophobia. "Condensed into three
or four lines, it's really all the insults that the young people
we help are subjected to."
The French labour minister Myrian El Khomri spoke out against
the ruling on Friday morning calling it "outrageous " and
France’s rights watchdog Le Défenseur des Droits, has become
involved in the case and has confirmed the victim will appeal