Dunstable woman '˜abused in pub for being transgender'

A high-flying career woman was verbally abused by teenagers in a Dunstable pub because she is transgender, it is claimed.

Friday, 6th January 2017, 10:22 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:11 pm

Transwoman Paula Collins, 57, was at the Gary Cooper pub on Court Drive on May 5 last year when a pair of underage teenagers entered the pub with two of their friends.

Once inside, Ms Collins claims the pair approached her table and began jeering transphobic abuse at her, labelling her “queer” among other insults.

The incident followed another alleged verbal attack on April 26 when one of the pair was said to have shouted, “you should be killed” at her in the street.

Giving evidence at Luton Magistrates Court yesterday, Ms Collins said: “I wanted to ask why, for the second time in less than two weeks, are you coming into a safe space and abusing me for no other reason than I’m perceived to be different.”

The pair denied the charges against them. One defendant claimed that it was Ms Collins who was aggressive.

But when cross-examined she said: “They both approached me ... I stared up and said, ‘what’s your problem?’

“I wanted to keep an eye on what I perceived to be my main threat. I said, ‘what’s your problem, you can’t come in and abuse people like this’.”

As the group went upstairs to use the toilet, Ms Collins phoned the police and the pair allegedly continued to laugh and shout insults at her.

It was suggested by the defence that Ms Collins was confused over the defendants’ identities due to multiple incidents of abuse, but she rejected this.

She said: “When you’ve been shouted abuse at more than once by the same people, you do tend to remember faces. Yes, there have been other incidents but I’ve just brushed them off and tried to get on with my everyday life.”

Ms Collins is the world’s first and only Boeing 787 and Boeing 737 Max transgender aircraft instructor.

The trial has been adjourned until February 7