Same-sex hand holding day goes worldwide
The organiser of an initiative to help gay people feel confident holding hands in public is celebrating the spread of the movement across the world.
Gay rights activist David Watkins began the monthly event last year and has been asking participants around the globe to email pictures of themselves standing hand-in-hand with a loved one or friend.
So far, he has received pictures from couples as far away as Mexico and China.
The next day will be January 30th and Watkins is calling for more people to get involved. There is also an Elvis challenge, in which people can walk a mile holding hands after the song Walk A Mile in My Shoes.
Although some gay couples may live in countries where they cannot openly hold hands, they are encouraged to participate as subtly as they can.
The idea, Watkins says, is to increase visibility of gay people and challenge stereotypes.
He told PinkNews.co.uk: “The only way to increase the spread is if people blog about it, put it on social networks. The community needs to spread the word.
“It’s a great campaign. I mean that it really forces you to question your own attitudes and your attitudes to your loved ones. It’s okay to say you’re out and proud but can you put that into practice? When people break that barrier, it gets easier. It increases self-esteem and relationships.
“Another way to support it is just to talk about it as much as possible. We know that not everyone around the world can do it. Opening up debate is the most positive thing.
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“Although we now have many rights, [being visible] can be difficult. You can’t legislate for this.”
He added that sending in photos from around the world has a “domino effect” and inspires other people to become more confident.
In October, Watkins was honoured with an award at Downing Street for his campaign.
He was presented with the Social Inclusion Award from the Sheila McKechnie Foundation. The charity is dedicated to connecting, informing and supporting campaigners.
For more information, and to see photos from around the world, visit the A Day in Hand website
Participants can email their photos to [email protected]