Gay man suffers homophobic abuse on bus – hours after celebrating with Nicola Sturgeon

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A GAY man who posed for a selfie with Nicola Sturgeon at the gay Pride festival has revealed how he was homophobically abused on a bus later the same day

Rhys Smith, who works on the digital team at Scottish Widows, has posted a video of the moment he suffered vile homophobic abuse on a packed bus,

Mr Smith pressed record on his mobile phone after a fellow passenger called him an a******e.

 

Rhys and his friend had been celebrating at the Pride event with Nicola Sturgeon just hours before the row on the bus
Rhys and his friend had been celebrating at the Pride event with Nicola Sturgeon just hours before the row on the bus

 

The 23-year-old, from Edinburgh, kept filming as a heated argument broke out, culminating in retired passenger taunting “you probably take it up the a******e”.

Rhys, who describes himself as “not the gayest of the gay”, said he was sharing the footage to shame the “stupid fool”.

The incident is all the more shocking as it took place just hours after thousands had lined the streets of Edinburgh to celebrate this year’s Pride event, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) festival.

 

 

The clip, thought to have been filmed in Leith walk in the early hours of Sunday morning, has had over 4,700 views on Facebook and been shared 51 times.

Although it is not clear what precisely triggers the argument, Rhys claims he could see the man abusing him out of the corner of his eye.

He can be heard asking him: “Are we going down that road? Is that what you don’t like?” The man, who appears to be in his late 60s, replies: “Well you look like it.”

Rhys’ female friend – Kerry-Jane – can be heard hitting back with: “Look at the f*****g state of you”.

 

The man said to Rhys: "you probably take it up the a******e"
The man said to Rhys: “you probably take it up the a******e”

 

The man, who reveals during the clip that he is retired, repeatedly calls Rhys an “a******e” before he makes reference to a sex act which draws audible gasps from other passengers.

Rhys wrote on Facebook: “I hope this get shared so this stupid fool is shamed!”

He added: “If I was still in my drag I’d have kind of understood it or at least understood why me.

“Apologies for the language and the way we reacted! Probably not the most composed mature approach.

“However on the spot, the rage and anger took us over! We did nothing to provoke this at all. We were exhausted and just having chats and giggles on the bus.”

Speaking today (Mon) about the incident, Mr Smith said he had never suffered abuse to this extent before.

He said: “I’ve never had abuse to this extent, before. Odd looks and giggles and smart comments usually but nothing to this effect.

“We had just had literally the best day. It had been so nice to see everyone and have such great fun with friends and family.

 

Rhys Smith, 23, said he had never experience abuse like this before
Rhys Smith, 23, said he had never experience abuse like this before

 

“Me and my friend had gone as Edina and Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous but by the time we were on the bus we had been home and changed.

“I don’t want to say he ruined the day but it definitely put a massive dampner on things.”

Fellow Facebook users were shocked by the incident.

Lynne Thomas said: “What an ignorant excuse of a human!”

Emma Naylor commented: “Absolutely disgusting! Just shows how ignorant some folk are! Jealousy will get him nowhere.”

Whilst Sarah Gordon said: “Such a shame that people act this way! You did nothing wrong. You’re happy, young and clearly he’s jealous of that fabulous wig you had on.”

The Pride festival was first held in Edinburgh 21 years ago and celebrates diversity and personal identity.

The rainbow flag, a symbol of the LGBTI community, was raised at Holyrood to mark the event and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie were in attendance for the march which headed down the Royal Mile and eventually on towards Leith.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “We are investigating the circumstances of a hate crime, which occurred on a bus in the centre of Edinburgh on Saturday night, July 2nd.

“Our enquiries into this matter are ongoing as we look to establish the full set of circumstances and anyone with relevant information is asked to contact police on 101.”

 

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