It seems that the SkyTrain in Vancouver has recently become an unsafe place for gay couples as reports of two separate incidences of homophobia have sprung up in the same week.
According to CBC News/Radio Canada, a gay couple boarded the train at the Waterfront Station around 2:30 p.m. on September 28. As soon as they entered, a seated stranger kicked one of them in the foot before threateningly approaching them.
“As they entered the train, another man kicked the foot of one of the young men and then left his seat to aggressively approach him. The victim crouched down in fear as the suspect raised his hand as if to hit him, while yelling obscenities and homophobic insults,” said a police report.
Thankfully, another passenger pulled the attacker away before any punches were thrown.
Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the attacker as he released himself and approached the couple a second time. The husband of the initial victim then pushed the train’s yellow emergency strip, but was then hit by the assailant.
Around that time, the train pulled into Granville Station, and the attacker allegedly tried to kick the victims and spit in their faces before exiting the train car. As he walked away, the assailant "continued to hurl profanities and homophobic remarks toward the couple," added the police statement.
“I think what’s most concerning about this particular incident is that the precipitating factor appears to be the sexual orientation of these two individuals,” remarked Sgt. Clint Hampton about the case.
“Fortunately, there weren’t any major injuries,” he added. “The two individuals went to hospital, were checked out, and later released that day. But of course anybody that goes through something like this… it can be traumatic and they’re going to be shaken up over it.”
According to CTV Vancouver, the Vancouver transit police later released the above video of the suspect on Wednesday (Nov 7) and announced his arrest later that day.
While that man, whose identity has been withheld, is out of custody and will face assault charges in a January court hearing, another couple came forward saying that they were also his victims.
On Thursday, Vancouver resident Rylan Friday came forward with the story that he and his partner were also allegedly threatened on the SkyTrain.
According to Global News, Friday and his partner boarded the train between the Joyce-Collingood and Metrotown stations on June 23. He says that when they entered while holding hands, one stranger yelled out, “Hey guys, you’re being f***ing offensive. There’s a f***ing kid here.”
The heckler later started yelling out homophobic slurs as an argument ensued. Fearing violence, Friday and his partner quickly got off the train.
Friday says that the suspect in this instance was, in fact, the same man who attacked the other couple.
Transit police later confirmed that they are investigating two incidents involving this man, and that both will factor into his upcoming court hearing.
h/t: CBC News, CTV Vancouver, Global News