The group of seven girls have said that they were attacked moments after leaving Stoke-On-Trent Pride by around twelve young people, a mixture of girls and boys.
Footage of the attack was captured on a mobile phone camera and shows four of the group who were in a taxi being surrounded by a group of young people that opened the doors and started punching and kicking those inside. The other part of the group who were walking down the street was subject to homophobic slurs and abuse before it escalated to violence.
“There were girls screaming at us. They told us to ‘go kill yourselves’ and said we should die” said one of the victims speaking to local media outlet Stoke-on-Trent Live. “They started running after the taxi and the driver stopped. They then pulled open the passenger doors and repeatedly punched my friend.”
The local YMCA CCTV cameras are also believed to have captured footage of the attack.
None of the victims of the attack required hospital treatment however, the teenagers have been left scared following the incident. One of the girls who had been to Pride four times spoke of the emotional distress that followed the attack: “I’m part of the LGBT community and this has made me really nervous now. I couldn’t breathe and I was having panic attacks.”
Stoke-on-Trent Live published the video footage of the attack with their report removed the homophobic slurs from the video at the request of the victims. The girls bravely speaking to the media outlet want people to know what happened: “We want to get this out there that homophobia is still a very real problem in a city like Stoke-on-Trent. It’s really shaken us up.”
Staffordshire Police confirmed they are treating the incident as a hate crime.
This attack on the group of young girls on June 15 happened just over a week after a homophobic attack by five men on a couple on a London bus.
UK LGBT+ hate crime is on the rise with an increase of 144% between 2013-14 and 2017-18 including in Northern Ireland where 150 of the homophobic crimes recorded in the 2018/2019 period were violent offences.
If you want to report a homophobic crime to An Garda Síochána you should contact the ELO/LGBT Liason Officer of your local Garda station. You can find the number of your local Garda station here.
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