A rugby player and a football captain who have both experienced Hate Crime today urged victims to report it.
Connor McKnight of Clydebank suffered a homophobic attack as he and his partner walked across Waverley Bridge in Edinburgh after a post rugby night out.
The 28-year-old who plays for Glasgow's only inclusive rugby club, Glasgow Raptors, spoke out ahead of this year's Hate Crime Awareness Week.
Connor said: "A group of four people shouted a homophobic slur at us as we walked back to our hotel after the night out. I confronted them, but unfortunately it ended with one of them punching me on the jaw.
"I'm a confident, 5ft 11 rugby forward, and I wasn't going to have someone speak to us like that. But I was worried things would get out of hand if I retaliated physically, Instead I decided to walk away after telling them exactly what I thought of them."
Although physically uninjured, the incident had a lasting impact on Connor who still hesitates before holding his partner's hand in public or showing affection.
The rugby vice-captain said: "I reported it to the police but no one was ever charged. I'm an adult and I can look after myself, but what if it had happened to a queer youth who is less secure in their identity?
"Hate Crime is on the rise and I think people need to report it, because if we don't, nothing will ever change. Fortunately, I have the support of all my teammates to fall back on. However, some LGBTQI+ folk may not have a strong support network, so I think the Third Party Reporting Centres are a really good idea."
Megan, Captain of Camp Hellcats Football Club, a Glasgow sports team made up of women, and non-binary people was subjected to verbal abuse in Glasgow.
The 32-year-old said: "I was walking down the street holding hands with my partner on the day of Pride and a guy made a comment along the lines of 'You'll never get to heaven carrying on like that'.
"I'm a confident person and gave him a few choice words in return, but incidents like that can make you feel that you have to hide who you are or that you may not be accepted or approved of if you show affection in public and are openly gay.
"As a football team, we support each other if anyone experiences incidents like this, but if there's a mechanism for reporting Hate Crime like the Third Party Reporting Centres, that's really positive and I'd definitely support that.
"In the last five or 10 years, there's been some improvement with women not tolerating sexual comments about their appearance. I hope that within the next few years, the LGBTQI+ communities can look back and say - remember when we just put up with that - well not anymore!"
A hate crime is any crime motivated by prejudice and hostility towards a person's identity or perceived identity.
There are five characteristics currently protected under Scottish hate crime legislation. These are disability, race, religious identity, sexual orientation and transgender identity.
It is under-reported across the UK and National Hate Crime Awareness Week aims to highlight exactly what a hate crime is and encourage victims to report it instead of suffering in silence.
Glasgow City Council works to raise awareness of hate crime year-round and is the only local authority in Scotland to employ a dedicated Hate Crime Awareness Officer. The council has created a new website offering advice and support to victims of Hate Crime as well as information for anyone keen to find out more about Third Party Reporting Centres. You can view it at www.hatecrimeglasgow.org/
During Hate Crime Awareness Week, secondary school pupils in the city will receive presentations on the subject from campus police officers and adverts highlighting the issue and how to report it will also appear on the Subway, on digital BT advertising boards and on social media.
Councillor Elaine McSporran, Chair of Glasgow's Hate Crime Awareness Working Group, thanked Connor and Megan for sharing their experiences of physical and verbal abuse.
She added: ""Hate crime of any kind is abhorrent and will not be tolerated in this city. Glasgow is an inclusive city and I strongly urge anyone who has experienced hate crime or witnessed it, to report it either to the police or via a Third Party Reporting Centre where they will receive support.
"Only by speaking up, can we call out those who break the law by verbally or physically attacking people for their race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability."
The council works with partners including LEAP Sports, Interfaith Glasgow, the Scottish Ethnic Minority Deaf Club and Glasgow Disability Alliance to urge people to stand up to hate crime.