A COUPLE were left covered in blood after a sickening homophobic attack when they refused to kiss on a bus.
Ryanair worker Melania Geymonat, 28, from Uruguay, had a suspected broken nose while girlfriend Chris, from the US, was also beaten up as they travelled home from a night out in the capital.
The couple were on the top deck of a late-night bus to Camden Town, north-west London.
They were approached by a gang of men who began harassing them. When the thugs discovered they were a couple, they taunted them and demanded they kiss, while making sexual gestures.
Melania, of Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, said: ‘They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us lesbians and describing sexual positions.
‘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.’
She said the gang of at least four yobs may have broken her nose during the ordeal, and stole a phone and bag from them before they fled. One of the men spoke Spanish and the others had British accents.
Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries in the early hours of May 30.
Melania, who moved to the UK in February and is on a year’s sabbatical from her medical studies, said she had felt safe as a gay woman in London and was stunned by the attack.
She has released an image to raise awareness of violence against women and gay people.
Melania added: ‘What upsets me the most is that violence has become a common thing, that sometimes it’s necessary to see a woman bleeding after having been punched to feel some kind of impact.
‘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.
‘We have to endure verbal harassment and chauvinist, misogynistic and homophobic violence.’
London mayor Sadiq Khan described the attack as disgusting and misogynistic. He said hate crimes against the LGBT+ community would not be tolerated in the capital.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance and policing at Transport for London, said: ‘This sickening attack is utterly unacceptable. Homophobic behaviour and abuse is a hate crime and won’t be tolerated on our network.
‘All of our customers have the right to travel without fear of verbal or physical assault and we are working with the police to stamp out this behaviour on our transport network.
‘We will do all we can to support the police investigation of this incident.’
Scotland Yard said arrests have been made and the investigation remains ongoing.
Meanwhile, a raft of MPs and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have condemned the attack.
Prime minister Theresa May said: ‘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.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called it ‘absolutely shocking’, adding: ‘We must not, and will not, accept this homophobic and misogynist violence in our society.
‘Solidarity to Melania and Chris, and to all in the LGBT+ community for everything they endure for simply being who they are.’
David Isaac, Equality and Human Rights Commission chairman, said: ‘These two young women — or anyone else for that matter — should never be subjected to physical attacks for being true to themselves in public.
‘London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and for such a grotesque attack to occur here is unacceptable.
‘Such prejudiced and misogynistic behaviour is out of touch with our society and should never be tolerated.’
Home secretary Sajid Javid said the attack was ‘horrific’, adding: ‘I want to extend my love and support to the LGBT+ community who will be shaken by this hideous incident.’