Melania Geymonat, right, & her girlfriend Chris after they were attacked on a bus in London. Image:Melania Geymonat Facebook
Five teenage males aged between 15 and 18 have been arrested on suspicion of robbery and causing grievous bodily harm after a lesbian couple were savagely beaten on a London night bus on May 30.
Four teenage boys were arrested on Friday June 7 and another was arrested on Saturday morning. Police have a number of enquiries underway to trace other individuals suspected of being involved in the incident.
Melania Geymonat, 28, and her partner Chris, 29 were heading home from a date in the early hours of May 30 when a group of males began harassing them.
“We must have kissed or something because these guys came after us,” Geymonat wrote in a lengthy post on her Facebook page on June 5.
“I don’t remember if they were already there or if they got on after us. 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.”
“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. Our stuff was stolen as well.”
The women were taken to hospital for treatment and Geymonat, a flight attendant originally from Uruguay, has not been able to return to work since the attack.
“I’m tired of being taken as a SEXUAL OBJECT, of finding out that these situations are usual, of gay friends who were beaten up JUST BECAUSE,” she wrote on Facebook.
“We have to endure verbal harassment AND CHAUVINIST, MISOGYNISTIC AND HOMOPHOBIC VIOLENCE because when you stand up for yourself shit like this happens.”
“I just hope that in June, Pride Month, stuff like this can be spoken out loudly so they STOP HAPPENING!”
London’s Lord Mayor, Sadiq Khan, condemned the “disgusting, misogynistic attack” and called for witnesses to come forward.
“Hate crimes against the LGBT+ community will not be tolerated in London,” he wrote on Twitter.
Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the violence, saying "This was a sickening attack and my thoughts are with the couple affected. Nobody should ever have to hide who they are or who they love and we must work together to eradicate unacceptable violence towards the LGBT community."
Laura Russell, director of campaigns, policy and research at LGBT rights charity Stonewall, said the attack was both homophobic and misogynistic.
“This attack is an upsetting reminder of how much we still have to do for LGBT equality. But it’s also a reminder of the precarious position women still have in society. This wasn’t just a homophobic attack – it had misogyny thrown in for good measure.
“It’s tempting to think that in 2019, lesbians and bi women are safe from attacks like these, and indeed we all should be. But sadly, this isn’t the reality.”
“On the first week of Pride month this year, a month for celebrating LGBT people and how far we’ve come, we’ve already heard harmful comments from politicians and see continued debates around LGBT inclusive education and trans rights. We also know that this attack won’t be the only hate crime against the LGBT community this month.”
According to the Metropolitan Police, reports of homophobic hate crimes in London have increased from 1,488 in 2014 to 2,308 in 2018.