A British trans woman, Naya Martinez, 21, and her gay friend, Valentino Kyriakou, 20, were told to leave a chicken shop in north-west London’s Wembley otherwise they would be stabbed.
Trigger Warning: This story has details and visuals of a homophobic attack, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.
The BBC reported the ordeal was recorded by onlookers and posted on TikTok where it went viral, and was shared via other social media platforms including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where it has been viewed “hundreds of thousands of times.”
‘They Were Threatening To ‘Shank Us”
Valentino Kyriakou, 20, and Naya Martinez, 21, were subjected to homophobic slurs by a group of young men in Wembley, #London.
The video shows the friends being told that they would be "shanked" if they didn't leave.@metpoliceuk say they are trying to identify the perpetrators. pic.twitter.com/eU9BapFAos
— Birmingham Against LGBTQI Hate (@BrumAgainstHate) February 1, 2022
Police have yet to make any arrests as they try to identify the offenders captured on video. Officers interviewed Kyriakou and Martinez on Monday.
Kyriakou told the police he was afraid he was going to be “stabbed” when the men were verbally abusing him. He also said bystanders were filming the incident while he and Martinez were waiting in line for their food.
“They were calling us every name and then threatening to ‘shank’ us, which is obviously stab us in the shop, so we just had to leave without even getting all our food,” Kyriakou said.
“I literally just thought they were about to stab us,” the north-west Londoner added.
In Shock After Homophobic And Transphobic Incident
“I remember this one guy saying to me ‘you are not from here and this does not run here…and I was like ‘why, I’m ordering my food?’ and he was like ‘no, I beg you get out or I will stab you’,” Martinez said.
The west Londoner continued, “all I felt in that moment was ‘oh my God I am going to get touched soon, this is going to be physical.” She also said she was in shock following the homophobic and transphobic remarks she and Kyriakou received from the men.
Kyriakou told the BBC he thought it was his right to speak about what happened on Saturday night.
“I believe this will help others and raise awareness because in today’s society there’s so much about the LGBT community going unrecognised,” he said. “And this is a massive example of that – transphobia and homophobia raw.”
TikTok Removes Video
“I was surprised the video went that viral and it’s getting people’s attention. I’m glad this has happened because it might be the perfect opportunity for us to speak out and let the people know this stuff is actually happening – it’s unbelievable,” said Martinez.
The Met Police said in a statement: “Police were made aware of this video on Saturday, 29 January which shows an incident at a takeaway restaurant in Bridge Road, Wembley. Inquiries are under way to identify those shown in the video.”
TikTok issued a statement after the video was posted on its platform: “The video shared has been removed from TikTok for violating our community guidelines. We are also taking measures to proactively remove any copies of the video that may be in circulation.
“Hate has no place on TikTok, and we do not tolerate any content or accounts that attack, incite violence against or otherwise dehumanise people on the basis of their gender or sexuality.
“We work aggressively to combat hateful behaviour by removing accounts and content that violate our policies, as we did in this instance.”
If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.
For 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14
For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.