Pat, 32, identifies as a gay cis man and is currently dating.

I was looking at images of people holding hands and noticed lots of children holding hands, and it made me think, at what point does holding hands become something more than just holding hands? At what point does holding hands become sexualised?

This image comes from a school mural (a primary school banner or something like that).  It’s an ‘inclusivity’ type image; there’s a variety of people, and a variety of kind of dress styles.  That’s the kind of inclusive community they’re going for, I think. When I looked at it, I noticed the very obvious boy-girl, boy-girl formation.  Whether the intention is to reinforce something or not, it’s not for me to say really.  But it’s just kind of there, isn’t it? And I think, obviously, as a kid you’re not going to see it because you don’t notice things like that. But looking at this as an adult, it tells you that this is how things are supposed to be, whether or not you realise it’s telling you that.

I remember being a very happy little child like running round, holding hands with various people; I was a very happy little kid. You see little kids holding hands all the time. Two little girls holding hands is seen as fine, and a little boy and a little girl holding hands is not a problem.  As I was looking through images of people holding hands, I noticed there were no images of little boys holding hands. And I just found it a bit odd.  From a very young age you’re conditioned to think you know that holding hands is OK for a boy and a girl, or for two girls. I wonder how much of an effect that has growing up, so that when we see two men holding hands it’s automatically a problem. 

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