Queer women who stood up to ‘drunk’ gang chanting vile abuse want you to help publicly shame them
Two women who confronted a group of “drunk” passengers on a London train over their misogynistic chants and transphobic remarks told PinkNews they want the men involved to be held accountable for their actions.
Josie Kemp and her girlfriend Lauren Soley, both actors, were on a train from London Marylebone to Banbury on Saturday night when a group of “quite drunk” men boarded.
After spotting an Indian passenger, they reportedly began mimicking his accent before breaking into an explicit misogynistic chant.
Another passenger – who has chosen to remain anonymous – led a blistering confrontation, which Soley joined in with.
— PinkNews (@PinkNews) December 12, 2019
“My blood was just boiling because they were mocking her so much, the fact that she stood up to them,” Soley explained.
“I was so, so angry, and loads of women around us were looking so distressed by the situation.”
The third woman told PinkNews she that she and a friend felt best placed to confront the group “on the sad basis that we look like their mums most probably, and are white”.
She felt this made it feel less likely that the stand-off would become violent.
Rowdy train passengers denied being sexist, despite sexist chant.
Kemp’s video, which has been viewed more than 13,000 times on YouTube, shows the men denying that they are sexist and racist.
“Some of them were like ‘don’t film’,” Soley explained. “We tried to tell them ‘well you do this in public, you’re obviously not ashamed, and if you don’t think it’s wrong then you won’t mind us filming’.”
As well as making lesphobic jokes about the couple, one of the men proceeded to make a transphobic remark.
He is clearly heard in the video saying: “He is a transgender, he identifies as both men and female [sic].” Later, Soley said, he joked about identifying “as a lamppost”.
Addressing him directly, Soley said: “You’re so hateful and you don’t even realise.”
“I tried to explain it to one guy, he was like, ‘how am I how am I [racist or homophobic]’ and I said ‘because you’re you’re not stopping them. These are your mates and you’re laughing along with them,'” she added.
The third woman exited the London train at the same stop as the group, who allegedly proceeded to follow her while chanting about rape.
Women shared video of train confrontation to hold the men to account.
Soley and Kemp explained that they shared the video of the confrontation primarily because they were asked to by the Indian man who the group targeted.
“He told me that he felt really uncomfortable, it was obvious that they were taking the mick out of his accent,” Soley explained.
“And he was so grateful [for people stepping in]. He didn’t want to cause a scene. He said please, can you share [the footage].”
She added that the entire experience just made her feel “so sad.”
“As a woman, to experience something that’s sexist is frustrating, but I can’t even imagine what it would be like to experience racism.
“No one should have to go through that and more needs to be done to show that it is not tolerated. No employer or friend – no one should condone it. People need to spread the word that it’s not right.”
Soley and Kemp both admitted that they were all the more surprised by the men’s behaviour because they are used to life in a liberal bubble.
“You feel quite protected,” said Soley. “Especially in theatre, It’s very inclusive no matter your creed, colour, culture, no matter what you have been through or your gender, there’s so much love.”
Despite this, both women can see that there are “still huge steps to be taken” before women, LGBT+ people and other minorities can feel safe.
I really want them to be held accountable.
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“I don’t have the answer,” Soley admitted.
“I wish there was something that would be really profound, but I just don’t want it to happen anymore. Shame them.”
Kemp added: “That’s it in a nutshell, please share our video because we really want to find them and hold them accountable.”
Chiltern Railways, which operated the train service, told PinkNews: “The behaviour in the video is not acceptable, and we will fully support the investigation by the British Transport Police.”
British Transport Police told PinkNews that it is currently investigating the incident.
“The incident happened on board the 10.40pm service travelling between London Marylebone and Beaconsfield on 7 December,” a spokesperson said.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact BTP by sending a text to 61016 or by calling 0800 40 50 40 quoting reference 234 of 09/12/2019.”