Virgin Atlantic has been accused of discrimination after it dropped a female drag queen from a new campaign to promote ‘Pride Flight’, which the company says will involve LGBT pilots and cabin crew in ‘a 38,000ft celebration of queer culture’. The aim, says Virgin, is to ‘challenge and subvert stereotypes, highlighting that we are a diverse airline welcoming everyone’.
Artiste Lacey McFadyen, who performs as Lacey Lou, claims Richard Branson’s airline offered her a £750 role in a promotional video but withdrew it because they wanted only male acts. A discrimination lawyer told the Telegraph: ‘It appears she has been treated less favourably because of her sex, which is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. She may therefore be in a position to pursue a claim of direct discrimination.’
Clearly, Virgin Atlantic welcomes everyone apart from heterosexual women performing as women, and despite its name, never seems to ‘celebrate’ virginity.
By coincidence, this morning my husband was popping into his bowls club, where the lady members were having a ‘ladies’ cake morning’. Sensing his disappointment at being ‘excluded’ on the grounds of sex, I suggested he went along and told them he felt like a woman. However, belatedly I realised that while this would gain him more favourable treatment on the grounds of being ‘trans’, it would also leave him open to prosecution on the grounds of ‘hate’ and sexual harassment. Which highlights the fact that today’s version of equality means the equal right only to the positive aspects of the category which we covet – much the same as having your cake and eating it.