Survey says

45 percent of LGBTQs say they are not “comfortable” holding hands with partner in public

Man ripping open jacket to expose rainbow shirt

Given the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people, some might question the continued relevance of National Coming Out Day. But a new survey conducted by Queerty’s sister site, LGBTQ Nation in conjunction with the polling firm SurveyMonkey, show’s strong support for the celebration of the annual equality awareness raising day.

And it’s easy to see why: Only 40% of respondents said they feel comfortable holding hands with their significant other in public, and 45% said they feel as though they are treated differently because of their sexuality or gender identity since Trump took office.

Even worse, 78% reported that their employer was not doing enough to support their LGBTQ employees.

Clearly, the road to freedom is long.

Related: 15 celebrities who came out in 2017 (so far)

Of the nearly 600 people who participated in the survey, 86% said they were familiar with National Coming Out Day, and 80% said they find “coming out” publicly as LGBTQ necessary.

The survey also unearthed three main reasons people chose to come out:

  • 74% said they just wanted to be open
  • 13% said they were encouraged by family and friends
  • 9% said they did so after being outed

And they are coming out in droves. While 7% of respondents said they still have “no plans” to come out to anyone, the vast majority are coming out to friends (86%), family (75%), people you date (64%), coworkers (62%) and their boss (47%).

Despite how far we have to go toward full social and legal equality, in general respondents reported feeling optimistic about the future, despite the political setbacks under President Trump. 87% say that in 10 years, LGBTQ people will be more fully accepted, and almost nobody thinks “outing” someone is acceptable (4%).

This survey of nearly 600 respondents of the LGBTQ community was sourced by a partnership between LGBTQ Nation’s online platforms and the SurveyMonkey Audience panel.

Related: 11 cinematic breakthroughs that celebrate coming out everywhere

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  • Luc

    I would be uncomfortable holding a boyfriend’s hand in public. I hate saying that but it’s true. I imagine that holding hands for most couples is supposed to be sort of comforting, but it would just give me serious anxiety.

    • ChrisK

      I’m not really a fan of PDA’s in general. Besides people gay or straight over the age of say 40 don’t show much of it anyways.

  • Jaxton

    It’s harder for men. Women are always allowed to do things that men cannot. I had a guy come up to me once who said “you see lots of women holding hands with each other but hardly any men”.

    The GLBT movement is cleverly disguising this homophobic discrimination against men so as not to start a gender war within the movement. Well, I’m sorry, but this anti-male discrimination is real, and much of it is enabled by women.

    As for whether things have gotten worse under Trump, doubt it. Even under Obama, I think I only ever saw one male-male couple holding hands on a liberal college campus – only one in 8 years.

  • Kangol

    OK, is this survey confined to the US or is it global? If it’s the US, Queerty does realize that over 25+ states do not offer civil protections for LGBTQ people, right? So you can conceivably be seen holding your same-sex partner’s hand or even get married, and then be fired from your job, lose your kids if you have them, etc. And there’s no protection whatsoever for you.

    Also, there’s the issue of being gaybashed, a problem that has not gone away. Even very gay-friendly New York City has seen gaybashings in recent years, and not every neighborhood in every city is safe. Why not take a survey about which places are SAFE for LGBTQ to show public affection. The more, the better.

    Outside the US, you do realize that gay people are catching hell. Egypt has launched a crackdown on gay men and lesbians, with anal probes, etc. Rightwing homophobes in Australia are trying to prevent gay marriage there. Haiti had to cancel its pride because of threats from fanatics. Masha Gessen recently has spoken about how she had to flee Russia because of the threats against gay people there. And then: Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc.

    • Jaxton

      New York City is homophobic. Its liberal reputation is undeserved.

    • alanballs

      @Kangoi: you nailed it perfectly. Our long and winding road to equality and freedom of expression continues……

  • jd.cali

    I agree it is harder because you and your mate are opening the doors to harassment and that’s obviously dangerous and even if you are not in physical danger, the anxiety of b omg laughed at, mocked, stared at even can ruin the moment and it’s no longer loving or fun. I get it. But I’m at a place where I don’t care what people think. I really don’t. I’m happy and in love and I’m just living my life. Mind your business.
    I love to be affectionate with my man. It makes me incredibly happy because I love him and I’m proud to be with him. We hold hands, walk arm and arm, kiss (pecks for the record) just like any couple. We both know there is some danger in this, but we live and travel in cities we deem as safe and do our best not to place ourselves in dangerous situations.

  • Creamsicle

    I work on a University of California campus and recently have noticed an uptick in the number of young gay and lesbian couples holding hands in public. I hope that it keeps up, because Americans are way too skittish about casual touching.

    I can’t count the number of times people have grazed me while sitting down or while I’m handing them something, and they feel the need to apologize. Why apologize? You just touched me in a completely incidental and innocent way. It’s perfectly natural, and a lack of regular physical contact is unhealthy. I think adults can benefit from skin-to-skin contact in much the same way that newborns and infants do.

    • alanballs

      @creamsicle: I believe you are 100% right about that. Touching can be healing, comforting, assuring; a friendly, kind, giving gesture. So many US Americans have turned almost every form of human interaction into something sexual, dirty and perverted.

  • cancorv

    If you’re walking down the street holding hands with your boyfriend, you are making a political statement. You are not being casually affectionate. I lived in Sydney for 15 years back in the days when it was gay heaven. Outside the gay zone, never would you see. I visit London a lot, and outside its three block short gay street, never. Even Manchester, home of Queer as Folk, outside Canal Street, never. I now live not far from Vienna, home of Conchita … never. I have no reason to believe that we will ever be able to walk down the street nonchalantly snuggling up to our beloved without feeling heroic, defiant or scared.

    • alanballs

      @cancorv: well written…..”snuggling up to our beloved without feeling heroic, defiant or scared”.

  • Luna1979

    I’ve never wanted to do this. I’m not hiding, I’ll tell anyone who asks who and what I am, but I like my private life to be private. I don’t even like my mom trying to kiss me in public.

  • alanballs

    Over my entire lifetime, I’ve been programmed by a homophobic, bigoted, ultra-religious, white dominated society to feel uncomfortable being myself openly, threatened and ashamed of showing affection to my BF in public.

    BUT, I would very much like to hold his hand, or throw my arm around his shoulders everywhere we go.

    At home, and in private, I can’t take my hands off him. We’re always touching. I love his gorgeous, lean body; his smooth skin, his scents, his warmth, the sound of his breath, his giggles, coughs, sneezes, his voice.

    I’m a white American dude, and my BF is Chinese. Fortunately, we both live in southeastern China, where openly hostile homophobia, and aggression are a virtual unknown; where guys often walk with their arms slung around each other, and girls often hold hands. I can’t imagine what it would be like living in some parts of the USA. Trump has made things massively worse for my trans, bi and gay bros and sisters.

  • Nahald

    My partner and I have been together for 29 years and have NEVER held hands in public. There are just too many homophobes out there. Maybe in our next lives people won’t have labels like gay, straight, bi, trans, and people will just be people.

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