A non-binary drag queen has told how they were verbally abused on a London bus in an alleged transphobic attack - as passengers looked on and did nothing.
Amrou Al-Kadhi - who was born a male- was travelling home on Friday evening wearing woman’s clothing after attending last week's protests against the US President Donald Trump.
A man in his "mid-40s" allegedly began screaming at Al-Kadhi when they sat down on the bus.
Al-Kadhi said the man claimed it was an “abomination” that the driver allowed them to get on the bus.
“With conviction, he said it was a ‘danger to children’ for me to be on public transport, and that the driver was morally obliged to ‘throw’ me off as a way to ‘protect kids,’” Al-Kadhi wrote in The Guardian.
According to Al-Kadhi, the bus driver “remained quiet” and did not remove either party from the bus.
“The offender yelled that if his 'kids were there', he’d 'f*** me up to keep them safe'; he became alarmingly enraged, and I feared for my safety,” Al-Kadhi said.
“Because his 'kids weren’t there this time', he decided not to pulverise me. Perhaps he thinks I should have been grateful.”
Al-Kadhi said the experience was extremely unsettling.
“What upset me the most was the response from other passengers – each and every one of whom averted their gaze, doing absolutely nothing to support me,” they said.
“I decided to ask my fellow bus passengers about their lack of intervention. One of the witnesses – a white man – responded: 'Why would we put ourselves in danger, too?'
“To me, his sentiment is the perfect summation of how people with privilege uphold systems of oppression without even doing anything,” Al-Kadhi said.
Steve Burton, TfL’s Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: “Transphobic behaviour and abuse is a hate crime and is totally unacceptable on our network. Our customers have every right to travel without fear of verbal or physical assault. We would encourage anybody who experiences this type of incident to report it to the police immediately.”
He said that the Metropolitan Police is in the process of contacting Al-Kadhi to offer its support and to ascertain further details so that it can investigate the incident.