A teenager choked and forced to apologise for being gay in a suspected homophobic attack on the Tube says he is “not sorry for his sexuality.”
Photography student Will Mayrick, 19, told the Evening Standard he feared for his life as he was placed in a headlock and left struggling to breathe by two attackers on a Jubilee line train.
Mr Mayrick, from Clapham, was with four friends on the way to a fancy dress event at the O2 in October.
In an appeal for witnesses, British Transport Police said two men held Mr Mayrick in a headlock, throttled him and demanded that he apologise for being gay, taking his phone and threatening to stab him.
One of Mr Mayrick’s female friends, 25, was allegedly punched and pushed to the ground when she came to his defence.
Mr Mayrick, president of the LGBT society at Ravensbourne design and digital media college in Greenwich, said: “We’d got a bit of glitter on and they obviously didn’t like that. They shouted ‘f***ing gays’ and ‘fag’, whatever they could think of.
“Then one grabbed hold of me and got my head in a headlock. The other grabbed my phone and tried to make me apologise for being gay.
“I said that’s absolutely not going to happen, that’s not who I am. But he got me so tight round the neck that if I didn’t say something I wouldn’t have been able to breathe.
“At the same time the other guy was pulling something out of his coat. I was so, so scared.”
Police said the incident was being treated as a hate crime, and two 16-year-old boys had been arrested this week, following a public appeal for information.
The pair were questioned on suspicion of assault and later bailed pending further investigation.
Mr Mayrick added: “I’m proud of the fact that I’m gay, I would never want to change. I’m not sorry.
“But at the time I thought if I don’t apologise I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
LGBT charity Stonewall called for a review of hate crime laws following the incident.
A spokesman said: “”Our research shows that one in five LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident in the last 12 months.
“Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are nothing new, but when witnessed, how we respond defines the kind of world we want to live in.”
“We would also like to see a review of hate crime laws so that crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability are treated equally to those based on race and faith.”