A 14-year-old bisexual girl and her friend, 16, were left battered and bruised after a homophobic gang attacked them just moments after they left Stoke-on-Trent Pride last weekend (15 June).
In cellphone footage, a group of people surrounded a cab the girls were in before ripping open the doors, dragging, kicking, and punching the passengers.
Police are investigating the incident as a hate crime.
Amateur footage shows the four friends boarding a cab after a day spent at Stoke-on-Trent Pride event in Hanley Park at around 6pm.
Their two other friends walked down the sidewalk. But the 14-year-old girl told StokeonTrentLive: ‘We’d had a great time at Pride then all of a sudden this group appeared and started chasing after the taxi.
‘They pulled open the door and start attacking them.
‘There were girls screaming at us. They told us to “go kill yourselves” and said we should die.
‘One of them shouted “faggots.” I’ve had a few things said to me before but nothing like this. It was mainly girls but there were some boys too. It was right outside the YMCA.’
‘I took my Pride flag off’
It was her fourth pride parade, but the girl was left traumatized.
‘I’m part of the LGBT community and this has made me really nervous now,’ she said. ‘I couldn’t breathe and I was having panic attacks.
‘After it happened I took my Pride flag off and put it in my bag.
‘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.’
‘The emotional damage was awful’
Her 16-year-old friend, who had just attended her first Pride event, said: ‘My friends got in the taxi and these people started shouting horrific comments.
‘There was about 12 of them and seven of us – four in the taxi and three walking. It was a mix of girls and boys.
‘They were calling us “gay c***s,” and other horrible names. One of my friends got a fat lip after being hit in the face but luckily he didn’t need to go to hospital.
‘The injuries were only minor but the emotional damage was awful. We’re all scared now.’
The girls reached out to Staffordshire Police and alerted detectives to the YMCA’s CCTV cameras that may have captured the act.
None of the victims needed hospital treatment.
Police said the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.
A spokesman said: ‘We received a report of hate crime, which had taken place on Harding Road in Hanley.
‘A group of teenagers were verbally abusive, making several homophobic comments to another group. A teenager was also punched and kicked.
‘If you were in the area at the time or have any information in relation to this incident please call us.’
Furthermore, LGBTI hate crimes are soaring in the UK.
A group of men assaulted two queer women on a London bus as they came home from a date. The crimes bubbling in a nation deeply divided by its withdrawal from the EU.
Also, analysis by the Guardian found LGBTI hate crimes across England and Wales rose by 144%.