During a recent online discussion about holding hands in public, I was criticised for expressing the point of view that even though I was comfortable doing this but I don’t always feel like it. The argument levelled to me is that I had missed the point.

Around 70 countries still hold penalties for same-sex activity and 7 carry the death penalty. On the contrast the UK is one of the more tolerant and supportive countries. To address this, I appreciate that we are lucky to live in a country where we even have the choice.

I have been called “queer “ and “faggot” for carrying out the outrageous act of holding my boyfriend’s hand in a city centre, but the truth is I do not care. They are the words that they choose to define me with, which is their perception of me, it is not me. Their poison does not drip into my life. They do not dictate my relationship and how I choose to live my life. Sadly the bitchy comments and stares are not only from the straight community, I’m 11 years older than my partner and overweight. My boyfriend is 22 and leads an active lifestyle. I joke with friends that I’m punching above my weight but we’re happy and the relationship works for us. However, within the gay community we can attract as much negative attention because we don’t seem it fit within the gay cookie cutter.

Part of the criticism is that because I live in a country where I am able to hold my partner’s hand, I should. However this is not me either, sometimes I’m up some days I’m down. Sometimes I will be the more affectionate in the relationship and initiate contact, others times I value my space. I’m a walking messy contradiction of a person, I’m human after all. And so is my partner. I’m secure in the relationship so I don’t need to be tethered to him 24/7. When we are out and I see other guys checking him out I can smile inwardly and outwardly, because I know we belong to each other.

I have no need to be insecure. I don’t need to walk everywhere hand in hand together to feel that I am with someone, because mentally and emotionally I am.

Have I missed the point? I don’t think I have, I have the choice to hold my partner’s hand, to hug him and kiss him in public. I have the same rights and freedoms as any straight person in public. Sometimes I will choose not to because I am a person not a living breathing political agenda.

The fact that this is even a conversation in 2013 says that we still have a long way to go but that will be decided by governments and politicians, not me. My individuality and sexuality are 2 different parts of me, they are for me to decide, no one else.

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.