The news of Mel and Chris being attacked on a night bus shook me up. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. I know this wasn’t a one-off; violence and abuse like this happens often but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach, nor does it make their story any less important.
I’ve been scared to hold hands with my girlfriend in public since news. The only time I was ever anxious to show signs of affection with a same sex partner was before I came out. I was scared of being outed; scared of family finding out and ostracising me for my sexuality. But alas, no issue there as I’m now out and proud.
I read through twitter threads about the news as queer people came together to show their support and also share similar stories. I read about a British singer who created a code word with her ex for moments of potential danger. My first thought: me and my girlfriend need a code word. My second thought: why the fuck do we need to think about this?
As a community, we shouldn’t be afraid to share affection with each other. We shouldn’t have to fear going out at night in a city that prides itself on being metropolitan and liberal. We shouldn’t have to devise code words for uncomfortable and dangerous situations. We shouldn’t feel like we have to tell our AirBnB hosts that we’re friends, when in actual fact, we’re partners. We shouldn’t have to succumb to ignorant men who want to sexualise and fetishise us for their entertainment.
My heart aches for what happened to Mel and Chris, and the thousands of other queer womxn who have experienced such trauma. They were able to share their story – courageously and fearlessly – but there are many who don’t have this privilege. Their story spread like wildfire on social media and shed light on misogynistic and homophobic crimes, leading to a widespread conversation. But their story is sadly just one of many.
As Chris says so eloquently, “sympathy and action must be for all”.