Popular drag queen Paul Ryder was this week refused a lift in a taxi because the driver felt his costume was “inappropriate” and “an issue of hygiene”.
Dressed to impress for an appearance at an IT Tallaght Student Union event, Ryder was wearing a black leotard paired with black boots, fishnet tights and a top hat when he booked the cab through Hailo. But as soon as taxi drver Declan Harrington saw the outfit, he refused the fare.
“It would be general attire for a gig – I dress as the character of a ringmaster,” Paul told the Herald. “It’s not as if I came out wearing a bra and knickers, every bit of me was covered.”
“When he called me to tell me he was outside I asked him to turn around and pull in as close as possible to the gate so I could get into the taxi as quickly as possible,” he said.
“As I walked to the taxi he looked out the window and said ‘No way’.”
Speaking earlier this week, Mr Harrington said his refusal was not homophobic in nature but that he was “uncomfortable” with the way the panto choreographer was dressed.
“From what I could see, most of the cheeks of his bum were exposed. So I was in shock and said ‘I’m sorry, but you’re inappropriately dressed’ – and he turned around and went back into the house,” he said.
“I couldn’t have a bare bottom on the seat like that. I’ve picked up people over the last eight years from all walks of life at all times but never someone that was exposed in such a way in that area.”
Ryder made a formal compaint to Hailo, and the incident is under investigation.
“I’m old and ugly enough to deal with this stuff,” Ryder surmises. “I’d be more worried if it was a trans person who had built up the courage to leave the house for the first time.”
© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.