UK: Gay policeman fighting for right to wear earring on duty

Anthony Cuesta | August 16, 2006

LONDON — A gay policeman in Portsmouth, England, has told an employment hearing he should be allowed to wear an earring while on duty just like his female colleagues.

Constable Neil Bloomfield, 39, alleges the county constabulary refuses to let him wear a gold stud in his right ear because he is gay, The Daily Mail of London reports.

"I choose to wear a small stud earring in my left ear and this is an indicator of my sexual orientation," Bloomfield said in his statement to the tribunal. Police policy states no male staff may wear earrings while on duty.

But Bloomfield claimed heterosexual officers are not disciplined for wearing earrings. Some even wear tongue studs, nose rings and eyebrow piercings, all in violation of regulations, he said to the Mail of London.

"I believe because I made a complaint about the dress code or because it is known that I wear my earring as an indicator of my sexual orientation I have been singled out by the strict enforcement of the dress code against me," Bloomfield�s statement continued. "It is quite clear that it is not generally well enforced and that a large number of breaches of that policy are allowed to continue without comment."

He said his problem began when a superior on the force started taunting him because of his sexuality, calling him derogatory names and insisting he remove the earring, the Mail of London reports.

According to the Mail of London, when Bloomfield refused, the superior said he resented Bloomfield acting as a "crusader" on the matter. The employment hearing board has not ruled on the matter. – Issued by Gay Link Content

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