There Are Bigger Problems In The World Than Two People Holding Hands

Words Javier Zamora-Kalazich

Image Christian Ruess

Holding any kind of privilege certainly comes first as invisible. That could explain the difference between a hetero relationship going out in the streets displaying affection without a question, versus a queer couple aiming to do the same in a mix of empowerment, anxiety and fear to simply love publicly.

Because when we fall in love we want to scream it around, or at least have the chance to do so. We grew up infested with examples of hetero love around. From soap operas to Disney, it has been a given since we remember and even when the representation of LGBTQIA+ love in films has improved in the past years, based on the reports of GLAAD, we are still pretty far from holding hands without hesitation in the streets.    

Is about public affection in general: a kiss, a hug, head on the shoulder, a hair touch. I mean, why would anyone have to hold back? The answer should be evident and bitter to grasp for everyone.  

A quick state of the general facts: up to today, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reports 67 countries where homosexuality is still criminalised. From physical punishment, prison, to the death penalty. The latter includes Qatar, host of the upcoming soccer World Cup. Even when there is no report of any known death sentence for a queer person in the country, criminalising love to the extend of the highest sentence is still possible by the law.

SUBSCRIBE TO LOVELETTER

Get exclusive content, interviews and editorials straight to your inbox with our newsletter of love.

Subscribe

So for queer love, it is always about evaluating your surroundings and how safe we feel when loving in the streets. Is to get sometimes several glances staring at the ‘different’. That includes the ‘positive discrimination’ when people smile with compassion at you out of seeing your love street manifesto. 

Now, you might think Germany is far from that context and that is true. This is one of the only 31 countries in the world that has legalised same-sex marriage. Another twelve have at least the possibility of a civil union, but the cultural progress in the streets goes at a different speed than the legal system and you can tell when you are willing to showcase queer love in the streets. Just because things in ‘this side of the world’ are more progressive towards LGBTQIA+ rights, does not equal paradise.

To name a few, multiple mass shootings and attacks on the queer community had taken place this year. Happened in Münster, Oslo, Slovakia, cancellation of Pride in Belgrade, repression in Istanbul, not even digging into Russia’s policies, the rise of the extreme right neofascist parties protesting against the ‘queer ideology’, denying the existence of trans people, among others, including the recent election of Giorgia Meloni as Prime Minister in Italy as the rotten cherry on top. 

It takes a lot of energy to go out holding hands in a queer relationship. It is not paranoia, it is facts. Based on the last report (2019) of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), 6 in 10 people identifying as LGBTQIA+ fears an assault, threat or being harassed when holding hands in public. 

It takes a lot of energy to go out holding hands in a queer relationship. Is not paranoia, it is facts. Based on the last report (2019) of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), 6 in 10 people identifying as LGBTQIA+ fears an assault, threat or being harassed when holding hands in public.  

So for queer love, it is always about evaluating your surroundings and how safe we feel when loving in the streets. Is to get sometimes several glances staring at the ‘different’. That includes the ‘positive discrimination’ when people smile with compassion at you out of seeing your love street manifesto.

Many queer people have never held hands in public because it is a place of fear. Not that everyone should do it, but at least leave us the chance to decide that. As a survival adapted behavior, some have unconsciously learned how to avoid conflict, to walk faster trying their best to become invisible in the streets, to walk with your partner as ‘friends’, to ‘man-up’ your style and behavior, to avoid eye contact because you do not want to give the chance to any bully to ruin your day.

Walking holding hands with the person you love should never be a potential threat for anyone, but yes, even when queer people have existed since ever, we are in 2022 and we still fear that a simple action like holding hands in public could be the justification of somebody to judge, threat or attack you verbally or physically. Don’t the world have bigger problems than just two people holding hands in the f* streets? Come on, people.

Discover Container Talks

Read More