Holding hands. It’s usually the first sign of physical affection between a couple, the most commonly used, and the one that continues to be used the longest. The first few times a couple holds hands is always special: it’s the most simple gesture – but one of affection for your partner, and a indication to the outside world of this affection for one another. After these first few times, it becomes natural, subconscious almost, for most couples to hold hands as they stroll in public – but this isn’t always the case for same sex couples.
A few years ago we published a blog post about how normality is the biggest statement for same sex relationships. We have been to, and thoroughly enjoyed flamboyant gay pride parades in our home city of Birmingham, in capital city London, and gay-friendly Brighton. We discussed however, how in our opinion, the simple display of being a ‘normal’ couple in public, sends a far more comprehensible, powerful message that same sex couples are just like any other couple. Pride continues long after the last float, and comes in more forms than a rainbow flag. Quiet and simple gestures that show that our relationships are just as valid as anyone else’s permeate the subconscious and act to dispel myths and stereotypes just as effectively. What better excuse to walk hand in hand next time you go out together?
In our experience, the majority of homophobia comes from ideas based on outdated stereotypes. Our parent’s generation see gay people as promiscuous and flamboyant, with no interest in traditional relationships, and feared that we would follow the same path. Of course whilst theres absolutely nothing wrong with following that path, I think its a good thing for people to view a wide spectrum of examples of relationships within the gay community. I like the fact that Lauren and I are a positive example of ‘normality’ – we do the food shopping, we walk our dog, we go shopping for clothes, very occasionally we have a disagreement, we love getting a takeaway then snuggling on the sofa, we go for coffee, we laugh for hours at silly things, we see our friends, we look at baby clothes and talk about what our child will be like – in short, we are like the majority of couples, and I think people seeing this from a same sex couple can only be a good thing.
Lauren and I recently begun the process of starting a family, and are about to start IVF treatment. The knowledge that people are different, and pride in who you are, are a couple of the many things we want to instill in our future child. We would never want our child to wonder why it’s school friends mums hold hands with their male partners, but Lauren and I don’t. Or for our child to be given the impression that the love it’s mother’s have for one another is something to be hidden.
Lauren and I hold hands at every opportunity – it’s something we rarely realise we are doing, or think about. We recognise that sadly there might very occasionally be times when we could possibly feel unsafe holding hands, and wouldn’t do so, but for the most part, it’s a part of who we are. I want Lauren to know I want to hold her hand, and I want others to know that Lauren is mine, that I love her. In addition to that, that I’m proud of her. She is beautiful, intelligent, generous, funny. She’s the best wife anyone could ever dream of. The love I have for her is more than I thought anyone could love anyone, and does not deserve to be hidden.
In our ten and a half years together, I can’t remember an instance of us receiving negative attention for holding hands. Yes sometimes people stare a little longer than usual, or mutter to their companion. But in the vast majority of instances, people would not challenge the fact you are holding hands with the one you love. We’ve held hands in many different countries, from our first holiday in Amsterdam to a road trip through California for our 1st wedding anniversary. On our first date at Starbucks, as we unlocked the door to our first home, as we walk our dog in our local park, as we said our wedding vows to each other, as we sat in the waiting room at our first IVF appointment. Through the most wonderful, incredible times of our lives, and the scariest, most awful ones. We’ve held hands as lovestruck, defiant teenagers, and as proud, strong, married women – even when my hand is wrinkly and old, it will still be holding Lauren’s!
Holding your partners hand in public sends an important message within acceptance for same sex couples – “Yes, we are together. Yes, we are proud of it. No, we don’t care what your opinion is – our love is natural, equal, and should never be hidden.”
On May 17th, it is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBiT), and we are proud to support the HoldingHands4Equality campaign encouraging everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or label, to hold hands, and post pictures on social media.