A lesbian couple was allegedly beaten by a group of men after they refused to kiss each other while on the top deck of a London bus. Melanie Geymonat was traveling with her girlfriend, Chris, when a group of young men began to harass them, demanding that they kiss and making sexual gestures towards the women while throwing coins at them.
Geymonat posted about the incident on Facebook, describing how they tried to joke their way out of the situation before it escalated. “In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes. I thought this might make them go away. Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing us coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it.”
The men then began assaulting Geymonat’s partner. Geymonat also intervened, and described the violence in her Facebook post: “The next thing I know is I’m being punched. I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness. Suddenly the bus had stopped, the police were there and I was bleeding all over.”
After the incident, the couple was taken to the hospital for injuries, and the BBC reports that Geymonat has not been able to return to work since the incident.
The director of compliance, policing and on-street services at Transport for London, Siwan Hayward, told BBC News that the assault was “utterly unacceptable,” and that “homophobic behavior and abuse is a hate crime and won’t be tolerated on our network.” The Metropolitan Police are investigating the attack and have put out a request for information for anyone that may have witnessed the incident.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke out about the violence on Twitter, calling the incident a “disgusting, misogynistic attack” and stating that “[h]ate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London.”
This was a disgusting, misogynistic attack. Hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) June 7, 2019