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People Are Wearing Ties To Support A Lesbian Who Was Assaulted While Wearing One

Helena Martins was attacked by a man who tried to pull her tie off her neck.

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Last week, Helena Martins, 43, was assaulted by a man as she was walking home.

Facebook: Helenamartins17

In her Facebook post after the attack, she wrote: "I don't think I'll be rocking a tie in the near future.

"Today, one street away from my home, I was assaulted by a man who just went berserk at me, trying to pull my tie off.

"I've got a scratched and punched face, a sore neckline by all the tie pulling and a very bruised soul."

Martins, who has lost her hearing due to Ménière's disease, lost her cochlear earplant, which she relies on to hear, in the assault.

She wrote that homophobia and transphobia are "still very much alive", and said: "If you hear or see someone making fun with pub jokes, harassing or bullying of LGBT people, making comments while watching TV or a movie or whatever... Act. Speak out."

She added: "Some women wear ties, some men wear skirts. Get the heck over it. One thing is true: I shouldn't be punched in the face for wearing a tie."

But now hundreds of people are using the #TieForHelena hashtag in order to give her the confidence to wear a tie again.

Nobody should be attacked because of what they wear, their sexuality or any other reason. #TieForHelena

Martins told BuzzFeed News: "The support was spontaneous ... It started with my swimming friends ... H20 magazine were the first ones to start the support and get everyone involved."

She added: "I just like to wear ties because they add a vibrant flair to my personality ... but I think most strangers think that I want to be a man or dress like a man."

"Far from it. I like to be a woman but I also like the all tie/dapper/suave thing!"

Proud to be wearing a #TieForHelena at @stonewalluk today. @Helkombi is turning a hate crime into something good 👍🏻

She said: "More and more we should focus on [not being] afraid of what others think or say ... and, most definitely, not being afraid of being attacked because of it. Either verbally or physically."

#TieForHelena because no one should be attacked for their identity or expression https://t.co/aRFUCCqy9E

"Curious thing... now and again I get this 'approving' look from either a man or a woman on the tube. It's good, it's nice. Sure is a change from the many reproving looks and rolling eyes that I often get."

I am wearing a bow #TieForHelena - individuality rocks. Also donated to @stonewalluk

Martins added: "Seeing today all the photos for #TieForHelena, especially women wearing [them], blimey, don't they all look sexy?" She bought her tie last year, she told us, and it took her three days to learn how to tie it properly – but once she'd mastered it she didn't want to stop wearing ties.

While London is "a very multicultural place", she said, "people are becoming more intolerant towards others".

And she had a message for her attacker.

Wearing a #TieForHelena today. I don't pull off the look like she does though! Please donate https://t.co/fHSh0mMTvD

"Hi, I forgive you, so please let's talk about the reason why you did what you did," Marins said. "Let's talk and address that hate."

Martins is using the campaign to raise money for the charity Stonewall.

Being attacked for who you are or what you're wearing has no place in London, UK or world #TieForHelena

And now she's found the confidence to put her tie back on!

Love is everything, following the massive support with #TieForHelena I've managed to put a tie on. Thank You!

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alan White at alan.white@buzzfeed.com.

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