Brian Paddick, the openly gay former Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London is fronting a campaign to encourage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) couples to hold hands in public.

The campaign, called “A Day in Hand” has received the backing of a number of celebrities in an attempt to allow gay people to feel more comfortable in public.

Mr Paddick who was the most senior openly gay police officer in London and stared in ITV reality contest I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here said: “It’s only natural that couples want to hold hands in public but being concerned about how others (and the media) might react means we don’t often do it as much as we’d like.

This campaign will help people to become more accepting of same sex public displays of affection.”

Photographs of couples holding hands are be used to create a “same-sex love map” of the world.

A Day In Hand founder David Watkins said: “equal rights are a necessity but we need equal respect too. When push comes to shove, love.

“Hand holding is a simple, liberating gesture that is essential to our communities’ health. I want the campaign to give all people good reason to hold hands everyday, and tools to fight those voices inside our heads that say we can’t do this. We can!”

The campaign will officially launch 17th May 2009 17, the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO).

More information can be found at www.adayinhand.com