Affirmative Action Face Off: Lesbian sues Muslim barber for denying her a haircut

The Ontario Human Rights Commission has its work cut out for it.

Earlier this week, a Toronto resident brought a complaint against a local Muslim barber before the commission. His crime? Refusing to give her a haircut based on his religious beliefs.
The Toronto Star has an opinion piece up on the matter. Unfortunately, since it’s not clear who is higher up on the minority hierarchy– a white lesbian, or a male muslim fundamentalist– the piece fails to reach a conclusion beyond “can’t we all just get along.” From their article:

The most recent case started last summer when a woman with a penchant for men’s hairdos walked into the Bay St. Terminal Barbershop. Faith McGregor asked the male barbers if they offer the “businessman cut” and, of course, they do but when it became clear she wanted the cut for herself the men demurred, saying their Muslim religion forbids them from touching women who are not their relatives.

Almost immediately, McGregor filed a human rights complaint with the tribunal, saying she felt like a “second class citizen.” Later, on a point of principle, McGregor declined the barbershop’s offer of a haircut from a different barber.

A short haired, masculine looking woman stands in front of a barbershop

Faith McGregor, the lesbian denied a haircut by a muslim barber. Frankly, if she’d just put on a deep voice and introduced herself as “Frank” I don’t think the barber would have noticed she is a woman.

This is a fairly standard sort of complaint brought before the Canadian human rights commissions. When they’re not awarding tens of thousands of dollars to drunken lesbian hecklers  or leveling fines at Mom and Pop bed and breakfasts for refusing to rent a room to homosexuals they’re wasting everyone’s time and money failing to come to a decision about whether a pre op transexual should be allowed to join a women’s only gym.

The issue in that case, by the way, was whether or not a man with a penis can be considered a woman, not whether it’s Ok to exclude men from a business (according to the human rights commission, it is). Fortunately, for the commission, they avoided having to come to a decision because the case was dropped, but not before it cost the business owner tens of thousands of dollars.  Lifesitenews reports:

In recent years the Canadian Human Rights Commission system has come under heavy fire from critics. One of the major criticisms that has been levelled against the system is that people who launch complaints have their legal fees covered by the government, while those responding to the complaints are required to pay their own legal fees. The result is that most respondents will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees defending themselves, even if they win the case – ensuring that, in the words of HRC critic Ezra Levant, “the process is the punishment.”The dispute began in the summer of 2006, when a man, calling himself Lisa MacDonald, sought membership in John Fulton’s fitness club for women.  The man insisted not only on joining the club, but on using the women’s change room and bathroom, despite Fulton’s efforts to offer alternative solutions.  MacDonald refused, however, to consider any other possibilities and threatened legal action.

MacDonald filed his complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on August 4th, 2006, making a claim for damages.  The case continued despite the fact that he later moved to Ottawa, never actually joining the gym.  Then, this past August 29th, he sought to withdraw his complaint, a request which was accepted by the commission on October 19th.

“It’s like I’ve been terrorized by this for years,” Fulton told CanWest.  “I wanted to take them to task. I didn’t want to settle and pay them. I told them that they weren’t going to get a penny from me. I didn’t care if I ended up homeless because of this.”

“Not only did I not get my day in court, I was bad-mouthed,” he told the St. Catherines Standard.  “They put me through hell for three years and at the 11th hour, they dropped it. … There really was no resolution … and my costs with this are huge.”

The commission has no trouble ruling when the defendant is white, male, a christian, or any mixture of those three. They certainly have their hands full with this new case however, and will have to decide which human right is greater: the right for a lesbian to force a business to give her a haircut, or the right for religious extremists to not touch women.

Blogger BC Blue points out that the commission has a long and glorious history ruling in favour of gay rights when they come into conflict with freedom of religion. However all of those cases have been against Christian businesses. Will Islam receive similar treatment, or will the commission suddenly decide there’s nothing wrong with asking a lesbian to go to one of the many, many other barbers that would be glad to have her business?

Only time will tell.

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Categories: Beliefs, Morals, Events, Gender issues, Multiculturalism, People

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3 Comments on “Affirmative Action Face Off: Lesbian sues Muslim barber for denying her a haircut”

  1. gwallan
    November 21, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    I’ll bet there’s any number of barbers or hairdressers she could have gone to. She chose this one for a reason.

  2. November 22, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    isn’t this getting ridiculous? It galls me to think that Australia is going the same way… already in the draft at the Attorney General’s office is consolidation and expansion of the terms “to be offended / insulted”

  3. May 15, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    A Muslim woman applied for a job as a hairdresser and insisted on wearing her head scarf to work. The owner said she couldn’t hire the person because she wanted all the employees to show off their hair because her shop was trendy and had a certain image so the woman sued the owner. She had applied at a few other shops and was not hired but they didn’t say why they wouldn’t hire the woman but this one woman was honest and she was the one who got sued.

    With regards to this woman, it is like she wanted the muslim business owner to deny her so she could take him to court. Salons have male and female patrons don’t they? Why doesn’t she go to magic cuts or super cuts? It is like she wants to get her face in the news. It seems like a political move to me in my opinion.

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