A suspected homophobic London night bus attack on a woman and her date left them with with facial injuries during Pride Month. Distressing photos of 28-year-old Melania Geymonat and her date Chris' bloody faces were shared widely on social media after the assault on June 7. In a Facebook post, Dr Melania Geymonat explained they had been victims of an attack after refusing to kiss.
Melania and Chris had caught a night bus home to Chris' flat in Camden, but when they reached the top deck, a gang of males began to shout at them. "We must have kissed or something because these guys came after us," Melania wrote in the Facebook post describing what happened. "There were at least four of them. They started behaving like hooligans, demanding that we kissed so they could enjoy watching, calling us 'lesbians' and describing sexual positions."
Nobody else aside from Melania, Chris, and the group of men were upstairs on the bus, so when the gang became violent, nobody was there to intervene. The men began throwing coins at the women, triggering Chris to approach 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," wrote Melania. "I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness."
When Melania came round, the bus had stopped and police were on board. The flight attendant says she was "bleeding all over", and both the women's belongings had been stolen. In the aftermath of the attack, Melania has been unable to return to work due to her injuries, which include a suspected broken nose.
"What upsets me the most is that violence has become a common thing," she wrote. "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 because when you stand up for yourself shit like this happens."
In an emotional and powerful first person piece for the Guardian titled 'You saw me covered in blood on a bus. But do you get outraged about all homophobia?' Chris explained how triggering it was to see the photo circulate online and in the national press. She was quick to point out that despite numerous publications referring to them as a "lesbian couple", she is in fact bisexual. She used the piece to point out the wild inequalities of press coverage for non-trans, white LGBTQ+ women like herself and Melania, and the many trans and queer women of colour who are attacked and barely reported on. "Make the extraordinary reaction to our attack the norm," she wrote.
"The press coverage, and timely law enforcement response, was not coincidental to our complexions. Neither was the disproportionate online reaction over the victimisation of a pretty brunette and blonde. The commodification and exploitation of my face came at the expense of other victims whose constant persecution apparently does not warrant similar moral outrage," she added.
As Melania pointed out in her Facebook post, considering June is Pride Month, what better time to spread important messages of love, equality, and anti-hate - in the hope it might stop such senseless displays of violence on people simply because of who they are.
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