Members and supporters of Warwickshire's LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community held a protest against hate crimes this week.Read more...
A couple say they were subjected to a homophobic attack and left covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus.
Melania Geymonat, 28, said the attack on her and girlfriend Chris happened on the top deck of a London night bus as they were travelling to Camden Town in the early hours of 30 May.
A group of young men began harassing them when they discovered the women were a couple, asking them to kiss while making sexual gestures. Scotland Yard is investigating.
Ms Geymonat posted on her Facebook page: "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 next thing I know is that Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them. On an impulse, I went over there only to find her face bleeding and three of them beating her up.
"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."
Ms Geymonat added that the gang of at least four men might have broken her nose during the ordeal, and stole a phone and bag from them before fleeing.
Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries. Ms Geymonat said one of the men spoke Spanish and the others had British accents.
London mayor Sadiq Khan described the attack as disgusting and misogynistic. He also reinforced that hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing and on-street services at Transport for London, described the assault as "sickening" and "utterly unacceptable", adding that "homophobic behaviour and abuse is a hate crime and won't be tolerated on our network".
Police are appealing for witnesses for the attack which happened on the N31 bus in West Hampstead.
Nationally, LGBT+ related hate crime has increased in recent years. Warwickshire has also experienced the same trend with a year-on-year increase in hate crimes affecting LGBT+ people.
EQuIP, a Warwickshire based equalities charity, support victims of hate crime and they encourage anyone that experiences and/or witnesses a hate crime/incident to always report. You can ring 101 in a non-emergency sitaution, but always call 999 in an emergency.
In Warwickshire, if you do not want to contact the police directly, you can report hate crimes/incidents to EQuIP online via the www.reporthatenow.com website, email email@example.com or if you prefer to speak to someone in person, you can contact EQuIP on 01788 863117.