I like to hold hands with my lover in public. But now we know its still not safe to do this, says author Amelia Abraham
” Not a safe opening .” “Thats what” my sweetheart half-jokingly moans at me when I reach for her pas if we’re in a locate where she doesn’t feel cozy with a public display of tendernes. She says it jokinglyto lighten the situation, which is in reality a depressing one, but too because the threat of violence doesn’t feel absolutely real to us. We have never been physically affected because of our sexuality. Being middle class, grey and feminine posing in London applies us in a relative bubble of safety and privilege. Yet where and when we can hold hands, or whether we should do it at all, is something we constantly have to negotiate.
On the one mitt I feel a duty to utilise my safety and privilege to be publicly out and proud as a gay woman- to not shy away from public displays of affection. But on the other, I understand the complicated speeches and situations this can lead to.” If we hold hands in public it will normalise it ,” I insisted to one ex, who detested public displays of tendernes- largely, she admitted, because of gay shame.” Why is the onus on us to normalise same-sex showings of desire ?” she responded. To which I would wonder:” Well … who else “il go to” make love ?”
It feels like a political imperative to refuse to hide my same-sex relationship. That is, until something happens that reminds me why I might need to, like the information last-place Friday of a brutal strike againsta lesbian couple on a London bus. Melania Geymonat, 28, and her collaborator, Chris, were in Camden travelling home from a year when a group of young men demanded that they caress. When the couple denied, the men onslaught them, stripped them, and left one of them passed out on the top deck with a interrupted snout- the police are considering it as a hate crime.
When I firstly discovered, I cried at my desk. Partly because I felt guilt over all the times I had told a girlfriend it was important to my remain my hand in public. And partly because I knew the attack would establish me alter my practice. I knew that, for a while at least, I would stop feeling so cozy with behaving affectionately when I’m out in public with my girlfriend, and that the constant negotiation of what you can and can’t do in certain spaces would feel more complicated and tightened- at the least until the recollection fades a little.