A campaign to encourage gay people to hold hands in public will become a week-long event on Monday.

Sshh!, or Same-Sex Hand-Holding, is usually held on the last Saturday of each month.

However, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) is on Monday and A Day In Hand founder David Watkins plans to use the date to make his initiative a week-long event.

Mr Watkins said: “Why limit the hand holding to a Saturday? It is also the birthday of the late Harvey Milk, [the] seminal gay and lesbian rights activist, on Saturday 22nd May. What better way to mark this date than during International Same-Sex Hand Holding Week?”

Gareth Thomas, the Welsh rugby player who came out last year, is endorsing the campaign.

He said: “Being out and visible is so important for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people because it allows our existence to be acknowledged in communities throughout the world.

“Holding hands with friends or your loved ones is a simple yet powerful act that sends clear messages that LGBT people are just like anyone else.

“I find the sight of lesbian and gay couples holding hands affirming and inspiring and I hope more couples can hold hands in public and lead the way in this silent revolution. A Day In Hand campaign continues to break down the boundaries of same-sex love.”

Mr Watkins added: “Same-sex hand holding is a silent revolution for LGBT people, because nothing needs to be said: no bold speeches, no reactive arguments, no war of words.

“Each LGBT person has the power to change the hearts and minds of people in their local community quietly, subtly, by simply holding hands publicly and owning their space.

“However, hand holding is a simple powerful gesture that can happen anywhere, at any time.”