Gay men and LGBT people ‘afraid to hold hands in public’, Stonewall survey finds

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More than half of gay men in Britain do not feel comfortable holding hands with their partner in the street, a study has found.

The findings were unearthed in a study by Stonewall, who surveyed 5,000 LGBT people across the UK.

The study comes as the country’s biggest LGBT charity launches its Come Out for LGBT campaign, calling on people to not lose sight of the ongoing prevalence of hate crime.


According to the results, more than a third of LGBT people overall do not feel comfortable holding hands with their other half in public.

Shockingly, that figure rises to 58% among gay men.

Three in ten say they avoid certain streets because they do not feel safe there as an LGBT person.

Freya, a 21-year-old from Wales, told Stonewall: “I was assaulted by a man whilst I was holding hands with my lesbian partner.

“He grabbed me from behind and thrust himself into me, then verbally attacked me.”

Gay men and LGBT people ‘afraid to hold hands in public’, Stonewall survey finds

Overall the study found hate crimes against gay, lesbian and bisexual people in Britain has risen by a massive 78% in the last four years.

The proportion of gay, lesbian and bisexual people who have experienced a hate crime rose from nine per cent in 2013 up to 16 per cent in 2017.

In the three months following the EU referendum, hate crimes rose by more than 140%.

Currently, four fifths of hate crimes against LGBT people are not reported to the police, the research found.

Chief Executive of Stonewall Ruth Hunt said: “While we have come a long way in the past 25 years, it is clear there is still a huge amount of work we need to do before all LGBT people can feel safe, included and free to be themselves in Britain today.

Gay men and LGBT people ‘afraid to hold hands in public’, Stonewall survey finds

“This report warns against complacency, and stands as a call to action for everyone who supports equality. We now need to work together, to bring forward the day when no individual faces hatred or discrimination simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“At Stonewall, we want everyone across Britain who feels impacted by reading this report to join our campaign and pledge to come out for LGBT people everywhere, as visible allies.

“Together we can create a world where LGBT people are accepted without exception.”


David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, reiterated the desire to see an end to what he called “a hierarchy of hate crime”.

“All hate crime is abhorrent. LGBT people, like everyone else, have the right to live safely in the community,” he said.

“That is why we want the government to conduct a full review of hate crime legislation and sentencing guidance.”

In total, 21 per cent of LGBT people experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months.