THE BLOG

Two Guys Holding Hands In Public? Surely Not

22/11/2016 12:59

Ditch the Label release new video campaign for equal love

Growing up as one of the only gay kids in a small northern town was tough. Little did I know at the time that the bullying I experienced at school would change the course of my entire life and would go on to create global change; helping thousands of young people to overcome bullying.

After spending the first 18-years of my life in the north, I was on the first train to Brighton to study at the University of Sussex. It was no coincidence that I decided to move to one of the most progressive and inclusive cities in the world. I loved Brighton that much in fact, I decided to stay here after graduating in 2012. The liberal culture in cities like Brighton and London is so deeply infused into the DNA of Ditch the Label.

What I love particularly about Brighton is the fact that anything goes. You could literally see somebody walking down the street in 10-inch platform boots, a vampire cape and a leopard print boob-tube and nobody would flinch. I think there is something that is so undeniably beautiful about that and it's something that I want for the entire world.

But it's easy to forget that the things you take for granted, like being equal, are luxuries just 50-miles down the road.

I had been desperately single for most of my adult life. So much so, that my Grandma stopped bothering to ask how my love life was going because she could always pre-empt my response. That was until I met a guy on Instagram and finally bagged a boyfriend. It was all great and we would always see each other at the weekend. We were both quite adventurous and so we would go for days out - doing the usual things that couples do, like boating and walking across the cliffs holding hands.

It wasn't until 4-months into our relationship that I was made to feel conscious or to feel like what we were doing was wrong. We were in a small town on the South coast holding hands, as we usually did. A car drove past us and the passenger wound down the window and started to scream homophobic abuse at us as we walked, minding our own business through the countryside. Moments later, we passed an old couple who looked in complete horror and dismay as we held hands. In fact, the man could hardly control his complete shock and blurted out "They're holding hands!!" with an incredible amount of urgency.

We decided to continue holding hands and continued to be graced with the side glances of people in horror as they passed two grown men holding hands. But the whole sentiment changed for us. No longer did it feel like we were holding hands to express how we felt for each other, it very quickly became a political statement and that isn't good. From that point on, I become self-conscious about PDA and I wanted to do something about it.

I returned to the office on Monday and told the team that we needed to produce a video. A video that is different to other videos. A video that captures the hearts and experiences of everybody, and not just LGBT people.

Now, 6-months later and I am very single, but incredibly proud to share the video with you. Since we launched it earlier this week, over 23,000 people have seen it. It is my hope that people from across the world see this video because the message is so pertinent and so incredibly important.

Please, just give me 3 minutes of your time. I really can't express how beautiful this is. It has got to be one of the most emotive things we have ever put out. If you like it, pass it on. You have a voice and the power to help us create the changes in the world that are so desperately necessary.

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