Enter your email address to receive our daily LGBT news roundup

You're free to unsubscribe at any time.

More than half of gay men surveyed are uncomfortable displaying public affection

Post your comment

Comments on this article are now closed.

Reader comments

  1. If I saw two gay men kissing, or gay women for that matter I’d feel exactly the same as when I see a heterosexual couple kissing. Happiness that they are happy and enjoying their lives together… simple as that really, but I do understand why people will feel uncomfortable doing it. It’s a shame.

  2. Unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me at all…

  3. This cannot be surprising to anyone. When our countryman feel empowered by their religious leaders and peers to beat, rape or murder us, it is obvious that we would prefer to avoid putting a target on our backs.

    As for me, I would very much prefer to display my affection with my partner publicly. I don’t feel the need to become overly intimate with him, however a subtle kiss or hug should not give anyone else pause. Unfortunately it does, and it take an exceptionally brave couple to eskew the concerns of danger and consciously pursue this type of equality.

  4. I know a couple of gay men from another EU country.Both are divorced and have grown up kids. Neither of them would DARE snog or indicate homosexuality while in their own country. Both of them have not told their ex-wives or kids that they are gay.

    BUT when they visit London, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Amsterdam, or any city that is OUTSIDE their country, then they BOTH go round holding hands with their gay partners and kissing!

    They can be brave on foreign soil but not on their home turf.

    This tells us something.

  5. John(Derbyshire) 27 May 2010, 11:02pm

    I wouldn`t risk it in my local town. At the best-ridicule and name calling-at the worst physical attack and beating-maybe leading to us being badly hurt-maybe killed—yes–KILLED- Its a reality.

  6. Well here in Aberdeen, holding hands or placing your arm around your partner’s shoulder or waist can get you thrown of a Stagecoach bus in the middle of nowhere, as reported some time ago. No, I definitely wouldn’t risk any sign of public affection in this city, all the oil-workers would have no qualms about punching you in the face for it, its just too dangerous with the village mentally that exists here.

  7. No!!!! 100% of lgbt are uncomfortable showing affection in public. 50% may go ahead and do it anyway, but it’s an act of defiance. Every LGBT person knows that something as simple as hand-hoding – at the wrong place or the wrong time – can cause you to get beaten up, or even killed.

  8. Are you kidding? Holding hands and kissing my partner in Australia? I dont want to die yet?

  9. It may be because, unlike then, you’re likely to see alot of ‘tolerant’ ‘gayfriendlies’ saying, “I don’t mind gay people, I just don’t want to see them kiss in public.”

  10. This does not surprise me at all as I myself fall into the 18-24 age group and I honestly feel that even in Canada (as gay friendly as we generally are) I feel uncomfortable in public, half the time when im with my boyfriend in public I always feel like I gotta be ready to to fight at a moments notice.

    While luckily such a situation has never happened, I can never lower my guard in public, and as such sadly I never even hold my boyfriends hand. I would feel way more comfortable if I was in like a “gay” section of a city or in a gay friendly place, but elsewhere I feel like Homophobia is often let go as a “victimless crime” so I feel just that LESS secure in public.

  11. Not at all surprising. I’ve been with my partner for over nine years, we live in a city with a number of gay pubs/bars, and we’ve never experienced any outright homophobia other than within our own families and the odd “light-hearted” jibe. Yet I feel uncomfortable even holding her hand in public, unless of course we’re out late at night (when it’s considered “normal” for female friends to hold hands), or if we’re in a gay venue. In London, we have held hands around Soho, but that’s about it. Having said that, as women, we do feel comfortable enough to link arms in public (wherever we are) and to hug. I do think it’s much easier for lesbian couples than it is for gay male couples, particularly lesbians who are quite feminine-looking. It’s a shame that stereotypes have to come into it but let’s face it, they do. You see two feminine women being affectionate with each other and unless you’re a gay woman yourself, you probably assume they’re best friends. (If you’re a gay woman, you probably wonder but still assume they’re best friends.) I have no desire to put myself and my partner under threat of violence or jibes. I would actually find it scary to walk down the street in some parts of my city (though not all, I have to say) holding her hand. I find that sad, but it’s how I feel, how we both feel. :(

  12. Just yesterday I saw two guys holding hands on Moorgate. Nobody looked twice. I allowed myself a smile and thought things have come a long way for both that couple and the passersby. The world seemed a better place for that moment in time…

  13. I’m 18 now but when I was 14 I used to hold hands and even kiss my girlfriend (I’m female, in case you were confused by the name) in public – we had little choice because we’re not out to our parents, and moreover we didn’t really see a problem with it. I’d kiss her goodbye in Leeds train station, and we never got any abuse for it – I don’t think I ever noticed anyone even taken aback. I don’t know if I’d still feel as comfortable now or if I was just sheltered then, but in my experience I have little reason not to show it.

  14. However, having said that, I do think gay men have it a lot worse.

  15. Pete the meat 28 May 2010, 12:47pm

    Ha!!! Us gays have no probs displaying our affection when we’re on our knees gobbing off a lorry driver up on the Heath or on Clapham Common after dark with a circle of guys round us and we’re doing a bukkake extravaganza. I guess there’s a time and a place for everything.

  16. … 61 per cent of gay and bisexual men say they felt uncomfortable displaying affection with another man in public.

    Great to see Dom & Ian on The Million Pound Drop (C4 last night) and on 4oD here. Dom and Ian didn’t win any money but they weren’t ashamed to show their affection for each other. And what’s more Channel 4 didn’t mind it either – there were some were close-up shots of the couple holding hands.

  17. Pete the meat 28 May 2010, 2:36pm

    I was also glad to see Dom & Ian on Million Pound Drop, the shorter one of the two is a fine thing.

  18. Although I live stateside, I have to say I am not surprised. My spouse and I do not do PDAs of any sort because in homophobic, Mormon-and-fundie-infested Arizona, doing so is an invitation to a beating or worse. We would like to show affection but we are very careful when and where. We have held hands and made the occaisional kiss pantomime to one another when we are in a restaurant with low, romantic lighting and have never had a hassle, but then I think most of the restaurants we frequent have younger, more open-minded staff and I’m pretty sure they know that we are a couple. But on the street, in Arzona? I’m not ready to die yet if I can help it.

  19. Nobody has mentioned that the root cause of this is early childhood parenting. We were all raised with the notion that displays of affection in public are acceptable only between opposite sex people. It is basically all we see on television or in the movies. Here in the States on the show “Glee” there is a big issue of whether or not the gay characters will get to kiss. For a straight couple that doesn’t even show up on the radar as an issue. So, no big surprise gays feel uncomfortable with public displays of affection.

  20. What a stupid bloody article. Many straights also don’t like doing it. Brits are on the whole, a timid bunch, so it is doubtful everyone would be happy with it, even if homosexuality was totally accepted by everyone. I, and many others, find snogging in public disgusting. To coin a phrase: “Get a room”.

  21. The British public are just so backward and conservative they always have been always will be and they are still very much anti gay at large thats a fact

  22. Oscar – Gay men have it a lot worse, we lesbians tend to suffer more from verbal harassment and simply invisibility and possibly a degree of sexual assault, say groping or grabbing, gay men get beaten to death as a matter of routine.

  23. I would be curious to see this study done for both genders, plus even a reason specified with. That way we get double the statistics from one question (how many are scared %, plus different %s of why they are).

    And to ramble off topic, I too am scared to show affection. I want to, but I am awfully reserved due to this fear. I am a young woman dating a young woman, and she is two years older than me but I am taller. So I feel like I must protect her, when really I would just like to focus on LOVING her.
    I get roughed up both verbally and physically at my school, at times. Usually a slurry of anti-LGBT remarks, paired with the fact I have fiery red hair.

  24. Simon, Brighton 28 May 2010, 11:47pm

    To Røb the nøb ;-)

    We’re not talking just about smooching in public, but the mere fact of holding hands, being seen as an obvious couple etc.

    I constantly have to mix my feelings of militancy with the fact that my love for my boyfriend (and my protection for him) is a beautiful thing that I don’t want smashed to pieces by the homophobes.

    It’s a tricky one…..

  25. It’s disappointing that so many young people still feel uncomfortable with showing same-sex affection but, given the brutal tribalism of most schools, not entirely surprising.

    I see male couples holding hands quite often in London’s West End (a hardly representative slice of society, granted) and I always think it’s heartening to note the complete absence of reaction from other people in general. These sorts of social changes take time to become acceptable, and it has to start somewhere – after all as little as 40 years ago it would have been relatively unusual to see people over, say, 25 holding hands in public, now every president and prime minister seems to feel the need to do so ostentatiously.

  26. I understand how other gay guys feel. I have shown affection in public before but always with a little bit of fear in the back of the mind. It shouldn’t be that way but unfortunately it is.
    I am getting to the stage of not caring about others reactions so much anymore, I’m a stocky lad and don’t get too much hassle off people in general so I’m more than willing to take the risk.

    I certainly show public affection to another guy when finishing a journey to seperate locations, only last week I kissed a guy on a packed train and to be fair I didn’t care about the other reactions on the train.

    I look forward to the day people of any sexuality can show affection to each other in public, it always makes me smile when I see 2 guys being affectionate with each other in public… lets see it happen more, then people will get use to it ;)

  27. I’ve also always been concerned about showing affection in public. However, that has rarely stopped me from doing so. If I am walkign with my husband but we are going to different final locations, then a quick kiss on the street corner before we part ways seems like the right thing to do. It’s made a little less enjoyable because I’m not as focussed on the task as I would like to be; part of my mind is always looking and listening for potential assailants.

    In my experience (in Canada in areas as diverse as “university towns”, tourist destinations, Toronto, and retirement communities), the worst “abuse” that I have received has been verbal and one egg, poorly thrown, that landed on the curb.

  28. When I was young and gay growing up in Amsterdam in the 80′s, life couldn’t be happier and I had no qualms about displaying public affection (a kiss, a hug, even a good smooching). It wasn’t a problem. Later on, in the 90′s, as the city’s youth became predominantly islamic and homophobia and gay bashing returned, I got more cautious about public affection with another man.
    I left Amsterdam well over 10 years ago and now, at 50, living in Athens, with my partner spending much time in Moscow, we do not display public affection at all when we are out in either of our cities, but do so at gay events we visit elsewhere like Gay Prides, and on holidays to countries that are more open in general.
    Funny enough, as we were in Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) last November (on a truly fantastic trip), a local cutie in a souvenir shop asked us discreetly if we were there to get married! (When we shop we tend to get a little less straight than usual in public.)
    Generally speaking, we’ve both learned NOT to display affection in public. It would not be welcomed here in Athens and certainly not in Moscow, he would lose all his business and much worse possibly if he was “found out”. But we always manage to be close in public, no matter how anti-gay our surroundings. We may be more than tired of having to play social chameleon but that’s just the way things are in many places. It never stops us from loving each other and finding ways to let each other know no matter where we are.

  29. Thanks for sharing. I learnt a lot from your site you are good

  30. Jess Conrad 15 Jun 2010, 10:00pm

    Kiss, Snog or have rampant sex! As long as it is in PRIVATE. I personally hate seeing couples practically having sex in Public….Keep Love and Sex PRIVATE!

  31. I am not gay and have no problem with anyone who is. I do have a big problem with small minded judgemental people who think it’s their right to interfere. I say show affection if you want to, wear what you want to. It takes bravery to do that and I have admiration for those who live their lives as they want to.

These comments are un-moderated and do not necessarily represent the views of PinkNews.co.uk. If you believe that a comment is inappropriate or libellous, please contact us.

Top commenters this week

Latest stories

See all