Roderick, 45 years old, identifies as gay male, currently single, but recently in 5 year relationship with an individual who identified as a gay man.

This image reflects that there’s something cold and hard in your hand. So, you don’t feel the warmth of your partner’s hand. All you feel is the coldness of other people’s disapproval. It’s a cold hard dead thing. And that makes you feel like shit sometimes. You know, on top of all our struggles to come out. I think with all our progressiveness we’ve forgotten just how vulnerable we are still in society, you know. Yes, so many people are on our side. But there’s a whole bunch of other people that aren’t. And when you hold your partner’s hand and then you feel that you shouldn’t, it’s like a piece of metal in your hand, it’s no comfort. It’s flaky. It’s hard. So of course, you stop yourself . And then there is another thing, because then you think, ‘oh god I should be a proud gay man’ and then add on the self-pressure to all the other pressure that’s happening anyway. And you’re going, “I can’t hold his hand. I don’t want to. It’s too hard”. And today, I just want to shop for my bread and my milk, and I don’t want to actually think about whether or not I’m going to get beaten up or somebody’s going to roll their eyes at me and I’m going to actually feel like I died inside. Yeah.  I just want bread and milk. So there were plenty of times we used to. The one place that I think I felt safest holding hands was in the movies. In the dark room. Where I would clutch my partner’s hand under my jacket. And we could just…that was the safest place. Because you’re in a dark room. Nobody was watching you. All the attention was diverted to the screen.

We went to Sitges last year before we broke up and it was during the end of Pride week. We didn’t really even know it was happening. But a friend of ours lived out there and she offered us to come stay. So we did and when we realized that it was Pride week, and there was a lot of gay people around. And apparently, the city is very welcoming of gay people because it brings in a lot of revenue and stuff. There were lovely, lovely moments there where it felt, you know, like warm breeze coming in off the ocean and we we’re walking down the promenade, and we held hands and it felt okay.

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