A lesbian couple shopping at a Tesco market in the United Kingdom were the victims of a homophobic verbal assault so aggressive they were forced to hide from their attackers in a security office. Police in Kent released CCTV images showing the three woman they say are responsible for the homophobic assault at the Tesco market in Gillingham, Kent, and are asking for the public’s help in bringing the suspected bigots to justice. Police are investigating the assault as a hate crime incident.
According to a statement from Kent Police, the attack happened around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 31, of this year. All five women were shopping at the Tesco market on Courteney Road when the unnamed lesbian couple reported being “targeted” by the three women now wanted for questioning. For reasons unknown, the bigoted trio allegedly hurled a collection of homophobic language so abusive the lesbian couple “had to seek refuge inside a security office” to escape the onslaught.
Police reported they have conducted “several enquiries to locate the suspects” but have come up empty-handed. They have released the CCTV images of the suspects in hopes the public may recognize the three women and help bring them to justice. Two of the women were properly masked throughout the incident, but one woman did not wear her mask and her face can be clearly seen in the images.
According to a report from the Home Office, UK hate crimes targeting sexual orientation increased 19 percent to 15,835 reported incidents in 2020. Hate crimes against the transgender community increased 9 percent to 8,469 reported incidents during the same period. A report from the FBI showed similar rises in hate crimes in the United States, with nearly 1 in 5 hates crimes aimed at the queer people.
Violence and crime targeting the LGBTQ+ community has also sent shockwaves across the English Channel. Police in Belgium recently arrested three juveniles for the brutal stabbing, beating, and murder of a gay man they arranged to meet using a gay dating app. Activist Laurent James of LGBTQIA+ BE told Out the attack left the local queer community “scared that it could happen to anyone.”
Anyone with information on the incident or the three suspected women are encouraged to contact Kent Police at 01634 792209, quoting reference 46/16658/21. Anonymous tipsters can provide information at online at Crimestoppers.