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In 2017, Half Of Aussie LGBTQ Couples Feel Uncomfortable Holding Hands

#HoldTight this Valentine's Day.

14/02/2017 7:48 AM AEDT | Updated 14/02/2017 12:41 PM AEDT

It is perhaps our most basic display of affection yet for many of our community, it is one that draws great discomfort.

In 2017, holding hands remains a daily pressure for LGBTQ couples.

For fear of discrimination, and experiences in violence and abuse, the reality is that many in the community still don't feel safe. Terese Casu

According to new research commissioned by ANZ Bank, members of the Australian LGBTQ community are three times more likely to feel reluctance to hold their partner's hand in public than other Australians.

"This highlights just one of the challenges that many members of the LGBTQ community face in everyday situations," Managing Director and Chair of ANZ's Diversity Council Mark Hand said.

While 94 percent of respondents believed everyone should feel comfortable holding hands in public, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, only 43 percent of LGBTQ Australians reported feeling truly at ease to do so.

This contrasts to 18 percent of the wider public who have felt similar discomfort.

The research was launched on Monday as part of ANZ's #HoldTight campaign. Featuring the above video, that has since clocked up over 1 million Facebook views, #HoldTight is garnering a powerful response.

For years, ANZ has remained a long-standing supporter of equality and the LGBTQ community. In 2017, the bank is entering its 11th year of partnership with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. ANZ has also sponsored the Auckland Pride Festival for the last five years.

"It's a simple and loving gesture to hold your partner's hand, however for fear of discrimination, and experiences in violence and abuse, the reality is that many in the community still don't feel safe," CEO of Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras Terese Casu said.

According to the ANZ website, the campaign, which will run throughout Australia and New Zealand, will offer attendees at the Sydney Mardi Gras and Auckland Pride Festival custom wristbands which will light up when people hold hands.

ANZ has also developed an emoji featuring two intertwined hands that you may see popping up across your social media channels. This is certainly one to spread this Valentine's Day.

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