Spanish newspaper El Pais reports that the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) arrested the three men for not only allegedly abusing the couple during the flight from the East Midlands to Gran Canaria, but for continuing to harass the couple as they travelled the plane to baggage claim.
The couple, who were also British, filed a complaint upon arrival and provided the police with information leading to the identification of the men, named only in Spanish media as ‘RDJ’, ‘LW’ and ‘KT’.
The three alleged perpetrators – aged between 25 -28 years-old – were arrested the following day, February 9, in Playa del Ingles. The men were arrested for committing ‘a suspected crime against the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution for discriminating based on sexual orientation’.
Police say the three suspects were passed over to the courts in Telde which holds jurisdiction over Gran Canaria’s airport, but did not specify if they had been charged or released.
Though Spain has no hate crime law as such, hate crimes and hate speeches on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity have been banned since 1995.
Gran Canaria is a popular destination with LGBT+ holiday-makers and is home to the renowned Yumbo Centre, a shopping complex packed with mainly gay clubs, bars, boutiques and retail outlets.
The Canary Islands also plays host to the many popular LGBT+ Maspolomas events, like Fetish Week, Winter Pride and Maspalomas Pride.
In a 2016 Buzzfeed poll, Spain (along with Sweden) was ranked as the country most accepting of transgender people, with 87% of those polled believing trans people should be protected from discrimination and 77% believing trans people should be allowed to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity rather than being forced to use the one of their birth-assigned gender.
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