Four teenage boys have been charged with a homophobic attack against two women who refused to kiss for their entertainment two months ago.
Melania Geymonat, 28, and her date Chris had been travelling on the top deck of a bus to Camden Town when the attack happened on May 30.
Upon realising the two women were a couple, the group of teenagers began demanding Melania and Chris kiss in front of them. When the women refused, the gang physically attacked them, leaving them both covered in blood and needing hospital treatment.
The boys, aged between 15 and 17, have all been charged with an aggravated hate crime, BBC News reports.
Speaking out at the time of the attack, air hostess Melania described it as ‘chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence’ on her Facebook page.
Recalling how the teenager’s harassment quickly escalated, Melania wrote:
They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us ‘lesbians’ and describing sexual positions.
I don’t remember the whole episode, but the word ‘scissors’ stuck in my mind. It was only them and us there.
The 28-year-old went on to say the group continued to harass them, until the next thing she saw was Chris in the middle of the bus getting beaten up by three members of the group with a bleeding face.
After that, Melania said the group’s attention shifted to her and she was getting punched and was ‘bleeding all over’. ‘I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness,’ she added.
Melania and Chris aren’t the only ones facing homophobic abuse on a day-to-day basis; earlier this year, a survey of 108,000 people in the UK – making it the largest national survey of LGBTQ+ people in the world to date – found more than two thirds of respondents said they had avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner because they were scared of a negative reaction from others.
In an article in The Guardian written by Chris, she said the attack was ‘par for the course in 2019’ before urging everyone to ‘make the extraordinary reaction to our attack the norm’.
According to Scotland Yard, three of the teenage suspects face further charges: a 16-year-old from Wandsworth, south London, is charged with theft and handling stolen goods; another 16-year-old from Kensington and Chelsea is accused of possessing cannabis; and the youngest boy, 15, also from Kensington and Chelsea, is charged with handling stolen goods.
All four will appear at Highbury Corner Youth Court on August 21.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday, Or email [email protected]
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).