A couple say they were subjected to a homophobic attack and left covered in blood after refusing to kiss on a bus.
Melania Geymonat, 28, said the attack on her and girlfriend Chris happened on the top deck of a London night bus as they were travelling to Camden Town in the early hours of 30 May.
A group of young men began harassing them when they discovered the women were a couple, asking them to kiss while making sexual gestures.
Scotland Yard is investigating.
Officers are “following up” on CCTV footage of the assault, a spokeswoman for the force said.
Ms Geymonat told BBC Radio 4’s World at One she experienced “a lot of verbal violence all the time”.
But she said she had never been physically attacked because of her sexuality.
Ms Geymonat posted on her Facebook page: “In an attempt to calm things down, I started making jokes. I thought this might make them go away. Chris even pretended she was sick, but they kept on harassing us, throwing us coins and becoming more enthusiastic about it.
“The next thing I know is that Chris is in the middle of the bus fighting with them. On an impulse, I went over there only to find her face bleeding and three of them beating her up.
“The next thing I know is I’m being punched. I got dizzy at the sight of my blood and fell back. I don’t remember whether or not I lost consciousness. Suddenly the bus had stopped, the police were there and I was bleeding all over.”
You may also be interested in:
Ms Geymonat added that the gang of at least four men might have broken her nose during the ordeal, and stole a phone and bag from them before fleeing.
Both women were taken to hospital for treatment to facial injuries.
Ms Geymonat said one of the men spoke Spanish and the others had British accents.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the attack as disgusting and misogynistic.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also said the attack was “absolutely shocking”.
‘Sobering reality check’
By Ben Hunte, BBC LGBT Correspondent
This attack is a shocking reminder that even in one of the world’s most accepting and celebrated cities, there is still work to be done to protect LGBT people from harm.
Figures from 2018 from the Met Police showed that attacks on London’s LGBT community almost doubled since 2014.
Last summer the government launched an LGBT Action Plan to improve the lives of LGBT people in the UK. Their research found more than two thirds of LGBT people said they had avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner for fear of a negative reaction from others.
As Ms Geymonat mentioned in her Facebook post, the start of June has seen the beginning of LGBT Pride Month – a celebration recognised internationally since 1970.
With one of the biggest celebrations due to take place in the capital in just under a month, this is a sobering reality check of why pride is still needed in 2019.
Siwan Hayward, director of compliance, policing and on-street services at Transport for London, described the assault as “sickening” and “utterly unacceptable”, adding that “homophobic behaviour and abuse is a hate crime and won’t be tolerated on our network”.
Police are appealing for witnesses for the attack which happened at about 02:30 BST on a N31 bus in West Hampstead.
There were 2,308 homophobic hate crimes across London in 2018, compared with 2014 when 1,488 were recorded, according to the Met Police’s crime dashboard.
Det Sgt Anthony Forsyth said there had been a “steady increase in the reporting of all hate crime”, which was partly due to the “growing willingness of victims to report crime and the improved awareness by police”.
Rise in homophobic hate crime
Offences recorded in London