WARNING: This story contains strong and offensive language. Discretion is advised.
A B.C. couple said they were followed by a stranger when they got off the SkyTrain Saturday night.
Jamie Pine and his boyfriend were on the train when a stranger started yelling at them, calling them names and using homophobic slurs.
They got off at the Burrard Street Station and the man continued to follow them and yell at them.
“When we got here he tailed us, right behind us, off the SkyTrain and then started hurling abuse at us,” Pine told Global News.
He said the man seemed very angry at them that they had somehow made contact with each other on the train, allegedly in front of children.
“There are kids on the train,” the man can be heard saying in the video. “Keep your f***ing hands to yourself.”
Pine said his boyfriend’s arm was only resting on his knees.
“There was no touching, kissing, no affection,” Pine said. “We were just talking.”
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He said the man did not seem sober and he was holding an open can of beer.
After they got off the SkyTrain the man told the couple to get out of Canada, that he doesn’t want their kind “in his country” and then called them a homophobic slur and threw the empty can at their feet.
The man left but after a short time came back and when Pine said his boyfriend is the person he loves, the man told him that it is “not normal.”
He then proceeded to say that where he lives, in a town of 5,000 people, he never sees anyone touch anyone else in public.
Vancouver police said the incident was not reported to them when it happened but officers reached out to the victims once they saw it online.
The suspect has not yet been identified.
“We need to look at all the circumstances around the video,” said Const. Tania Visintin. “We need to look at what happened before the video was posted, and we have to look at what happened after.”
Visintin said the language heard in the video is very disturbing and hurtful so they need to collect more evidence.
In the video posted by Pine, a man eventually approached them and told the suspect not to speak to them in that way.
Visintin said they do not want any bystander to be injured and they encourage everyone to call 911 if they see something disturbing or someone being injured.
B.C. Premier David Eby and Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim tweeted in support of Pine and his boyfriend, saying there is no place for this behaviour anytime, anywhere.
Anoop Gill, the co-executive director of programs and services at QMUNITY, said this incident should be a “concern for everyone.”
She said hate crimes against those in the LGBTQ2 community are “at an all-time high.”
“We hear narratives and stories on a daily basis about violence, assaults, violence against our LGBTQIA+ community. It should be a concern for everybody.”
Gill said everyone should remember that hearing a story like this one is nothing new to those in the community.
She said everyone does a great job during Pride months but what happens outside of those months, she asked.
“More can be done,” Gill added. “More can be done by our allies, our community members, and definitely more can be done with Transit Police and different policy makers and systems instructors in the city.”
She would like to see more people take care of each other and if someone is in a place to help or offer to support, to reach out and ask how they can do that.
Gill pointed out that the encounter that was filmed wasn’t just a homophobic attack, it was also a racist one.
“I heard, ‘You don’t belong in Canada’,” she said. “The Canada I know to be true and how I celebrate being Canadian is the fact that Canadians have a multitude of different cultures and identities and values and I think we need to celebrate that.”
For Pine, he wanted to put the video out there to bring awareness that this type of attack still happens.
“It wasn’t just an attack on me,” Pine said. “It was an attack on our community. Every LGBTQ person who sees that video feels personally attacked. It’s not OK.”