London bus homophobic attack: 4 teens charged for assaulting lesbian couple after they refused to kiss
Melania Geymonat, 28, and her partner, Chris, 29, were traveling on a city bus when they became victims of a violent physical assault after they refused to kiss on demand of the group of teens who were looking to get entertained
The London Metropolitan Police charged four teenagers on Thursday, July 25, for a homophobic attack against two women who refused to kiss on a night bus in May this year. The assault had received widespread condemnation with the then British Prime Minister Theresa May describing it as "sickening," and London Mayor Sadiq Khan calling it "disgusting, misogynistic."
"Detectives investigating an attack on a Route N31 bus in Camden in the early hours of Thursday, 30 May have charged four people," London's Metropolitan Police said in a press release.
The accused individuals are all aged between 15 and 17 years and have been charged with an aggravated hate crime. They are scheduled to appear at Highbury Corner Youth Court on Aug. 21.
Three of them face an additional number of charges. One of the 16-year-olds and the 15-year-old were charged with handling stolen goods, while the former was also charged with theft.
Another 16-year-old was accused of possessing cannabis.
Melania Geymonat, 28, and her partner, Chris, 29, were traveling on a city bus when they became victims of a violent physical assault after they refused to kiss on demand of the group of teens who were looking to get entertained.
After the attack, the suspects stole their bag and phone and fled from the spot.
WARNING: The following picture might be disturbing for some readers:
"They got up out of their seats and walked over to where we were and started very aggressively harassing us," Chris told BBC News following the attack.
"One of them stayed a couple of rows behind and was throwing coins at us."
Geymonat recalled that the couple initially tried to diffuse the situation. "I did not engage with him at all. Initially, Melania was trying to deescalate the situation. She was being friendly but trying to keep them at bay."
She added that while she had been verbally abused before because of her sexuality, it was the first time that she had been a victim of physical violence.
"The violence is not only because we are women which are dating each other it's also because we are women," she said.
However, what the assault did was to make her more fearless than ever, Geymonat said.
"I am not scared about being visibly queer. If anything, you should do it more. There are a lot of people's rights at risk and people's basic safety is at risk," she said. "I want people to take away that they should stand up for themselves."