Lesbian couple allegedly rejected by taxi driver because they were holding hands
A lesbian couple who were refused a taxi said they were “made to feel like second-class citizens because of our love”.
The pair, who live in Worcester in the west Midlands, suffered what a local government official called “a hate crime” on a high street in the centre of the city after a night out.
According to the Worcester News, the women – who have chosen to go by pseudonyms Emma and Sarah – hailed a taxi, only for the driver to refuse their custom.
The driver, who authorities have said may be banned, then directed them to another taxi before immediately taking a different passenger.
Sarah was shocked at the rejection, saying that she regretted not voicing her disgust with the driver’s actions at the time.
“The more I think about it, the more angry I become,” she said.
“All we were doing was holding hands at the end of a good night in town, all we wanted to do was get home safely.
“By denying us the right to use his taxi, he denied us our dignity and could have put us at risk.
Her partner Emma said “the hurt was real,” and called on local authorities to ensure that no other Worcester citizens have to feel discriminated against because of their sexuality.
“Sarah and I love each other – why should we be made to feel like second-class citizens because of our love?”
It was simple, she said. “Respect our love and don’t hate us because of who we love.”
The couple has reported the incident to a local councillor, Richard Udall, rather than the police.
The councillor pledged to take action, saying Emma and Sarah were “just like any other young couple who wanted to enjoy the nightlife of Worcester and get home safe.
“A taxi driver – we don’t know who – tried to deny them that basic human right.
“I hope full guidance will be given to the trade to ensure they’re reminded of the rules and are warned about the consequences of any future discrimination against anybody, for whatever reason.
“Prejudice has no place in modern society.”
Niall McMenamin, a senior figure in the city’s regulatory services department, said: “This kind of incident is a hate crime and will be treated as such.
“We have had an incident very similar to this where we’ve had a licence revoked.
“We’d like to know who this person was so we can question them.”
However, Mohammed Sajad, from the Worcester Taxi Drivers Association, cast doubt on the claims.
“I certainly haven’t heard about this – drivers do not refuse anybody, at the end of the day business is business.
“I want to meet this couple and speak to them – all that area is covered by CCTV, let’s get it out and have a look through it.
“To be honest this sounds hard to believe, I want to see this couple and talk to them about this.”
Sarah was steadfast in her intentions though, saying: “I hope the publicity from this will help ensure no other people are discriminated against and denied a taxi in Worcester.”