According to the Citizen newspaper - In South Africa's Johannesburg, if the dove is the bird of peace, the pigeon might soon be known as the bird of hate. If you think that statement might be a bit far-fetched, proceedings at the Equality Court earlier this week might indicate otherwise.
A case centering on hatespeech was brought before South Africa's Equality court by the out and proud Tim Trengrove-Jones, a tenant at Gleneagles flats in Killarney, Johannesburg and also a longtime contributor to Exit, a South African LGBT community newspaper..
Trengrove-Jones, alleges that fellow tenant Elvira Oelofse called him "a f*****g old queen" during an altercation in July.
On the day, Timothy O'Connor and two of his employees, hired by Trengrove-Jones and the body corporate of Gleneagles flats , were covering plumbing ducts that pigeons were occupying.
Trengrove-Jones testified that he heard yelling and following the "shrieks" to their source found Oelofse "body-blocking" the duct on which O'Connor and his men were trying to work.
In a video shown to the court, Oelofse is seen yelling at the men to stop covering the duct and to get away from her property.
When the men attempted to set up their ladders she is heard shouting that they are physically violating her and warning them that she knew Japanese martial arts.
Oelofse and Trengrove-Jones are then seen arguing. Oelofse shouted at Trengrove-Jones that he is "common" and "disgusting".
Trengrove-Jones's testimony was that later in the altercation she called him "a f*****g old queen", which Oelofse neither confirmed nor denied.
"This insult was based on my identity as a gay male and aimed to mock me on the basis of my sexuality," he said. "She caused me personal trauma and distress, which I believe was her intention."
Oelofse, through her attorney, claims that she wanted to protect the birds because the nets in the ducts would cause their death.
Trengrove-Jones is seeking an apology and R50,000 in damages.