I (Really) Want To Hold Your Hand

To You,

I’m sorry that when we are walking along the street and you grab my fingers that I swat you away, nervously taking in our surroundings, seeing who will have an issue with us.

I know you are only doing this out of love.Although you are a man who loves to defend, and to take a stand; I know that to you having my hand in yours isn’t a symbol, it’s not a public statement – it’s just love.

I’m sorry that I can’t return that to you in front of ‘prying’ eyes.

I’m sorry that right now, I still care too much about what other people think to be truly carefree in our love.

Why is it that our hands fit so perfectly together? The agony and ecstasy when your hand is in mine I feel all at once so warm and happy, yet so anxious and rigid. I feel like my life was made for this moment, and yet I can’t let go and allow myself to enjoy it.

This is what has shaped me. No longer being ashamed of who I am, yet still afraid that who I am might expose me to harm.

I know that I don’t have to apologise for who I am to the people I love most, however now it seems that I am most fearful of the faceless masses; the ones whose names I don’t know, and who don’t know mine.

It seems easier to categorise someone you know as either ‘for’ or ‘against’ who you are. You know it, and you can move on.

It is, however, the rest of the world that I’m not so sure about, and it is ‘they’ that terrify me the most. What will ‘they’ think of me, of us?

Will ‘they’ be a support, an ally, a friend? Or do ‘they’ hold the strong, opposing views that ‘they’ will hold against me?

When our media plasters words of intolerance and hatred from various public figures, sharing with us a ‘point of view’ that someone thinks we don’t deserve to have an equal relationship status to someone else, or are comparable to a criminal, how are we expected to feel 100% comfortable in our world?

I think society in general support our love, however, it seems that those opposing it are screaming louder. Strong, anti-LGBTI views are better for click-bait, and it’s so easy for good people to do nothing.

When a government refuses to make a decision about how equal our love and our humanity are – without lengthy consultation about how our love may be detrimental to the world – but can make decisions about war and death without batting an eye.

Why do we need to prove every day that we are worthy of being equal?

Those opposed to what you and I share have done their job if they have made me believe that society is truly against me. That society is out to get me. So congratulations to them, you’ve claimed yourself another victim. Bravo.

But they haven’t claimed you. You are as strong as ever, and as proud as I have ever seen you.

So what happens when their hatred consumes half a couple, leaving one who wants to hide, and one who lives carefree?

Why is it that something so simple and pure as one person loving another can cause such a stir in society? I am in love, and so that means I need to walk around on eggshells, fearful of retribution?

Whether it is the voice from a moving car calling us the same insult we’ve been hearing for years, or the fear that when you’re passing a group you can never be certain if it will be a word or a fist hurled your way.

History, both recent and bygone, shows us that we’ve never been immune from target, and it is only by ‘normalizing’ ourselves that the risk is lowered.

I don’t love to make a point, to take a stand against someone else. Walking down the street with my hand in yours isn’t a public demonstration, or a way of ‘sticking it to the man’ – it is something I have seen my parents, my siblings, and my grandparents do for my whole life, so why can’t I do the same in just as much comfort?

God knows I didn’t expect to fall in love with you, but I did, and I am happier in my life because of it.

I will fight for you, fight for our community, and fight so that no one ever has to feel less than someone else – but sometimes fighting for yourself is the hardest battle.

It is hard enough to fight off your own fears, let alone the fears that you can’t exactly pinpoint.

Of course freedom of thought and freedom of speech is something we all have and something we are all entitled to, but what happens when someone uses that freedom to negatively impact on someone else’s life?

When does it stop being a right, and start being a weapon?

Will a law allowing me to marry you fix this? Will it stop the fear I have inside of me and the fury inside of them?

Who knows.

But I can say with certainty that where our society is right now in terms of our government and their legislation certainly isn’t doing the cause any favours.

Why is it that with hundreds of people around us who fill our lives with love, it is the lingering figure that is always out of sight that sits so firmly on my shoulder? The one who tells me that I am doing something wrong, that I deserve whatever is coming my way, is the one I sacrifice my happiness for?

My parents shouldn’t be scared for me when I tell them that someone made a snide, homophobic remark when they saw me hand in hand with you after a night out.

It kills me that I’ve found what I’ve been searching for my entire life, but now that I have it, I realise how much I want to protect what we have – and shield it from any negativity and hatred. What we have is so good, so pure, that I don’t want anyone to have the opportunity to ruin it for us.

You are the one who completes me. The one who can make me feel calm and happy, in a world of chaos and terror. This is the love I’ve been told about since I was young, the love that society teaches us to search for, to fight for.

But because my relationship doesn’t fit a Disney narrative – is it not real or right?

However this isn’t giving up, this is my ammunition. Sometimes fear gives way to the anger of the injustice.

We don’t deserve the looks and the snide remarks, we don’t deserve to feel unsafe in our own country, simply because we walk alongside someone we love.

We have each other forever, but for now I am working on living comfortably in a country that seems to be giving in to the hatred.

Homophobia has shaped me enough that on some days being in love scares me to my core.

So I’m sorry.

For not being comfortable in my love with you.

Sorry for letting society dictate how I feel when they see us together.

You know you have my heart, my whole heart – forever,

…but maybe not my hand just yet.