British LGBTQIA+ people feel proud, happy and more visible when they hold hands in public, a survey by new global non-profit Pride Wide and Barefoot Wine reveals.

85% of those surveyed want to see more hand-holding. But two-thirds (67%) have avoided holding hands in the past 12 months for fear of a negative reaction.

Almost half (48%) say that it makes them feel proud, while 43% say that it makes them feel validated and safer. However, 30% feel anxious and almost a quarter (23%) feel unsafe holding hands when out in public.

Scott Nunn, co-founder and creative director of Pride Wide, said: “Hand-holding is as old as humanity itself and is something many people don’t think twice about. But a worrying number of LGBTQIA+ people sometimes have to question whether they should hold someone’s hand. Our survey gives new insights into why holding hands is so important and we will use the results to promote a Britain where everyone can hold hands with confidence.”

Psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist, Silva Neves added: “Holding hands plays a positive role in boosting mood and increasing happiness with the simple gesture proven to reduce cortisol (‘stress’ hormones), increase oxytocin (‘love’ hormones), lower heart rate, improve blood pressure and combat loneliness, so it’s a great way for the members of the community to boost their mood and confidence.

“However, it’s important to bear in mind that, sadly, a lot of LGBTQIA+ couples do not feel safe holding hands everywhere. While holding hands in private homes and in safe LGBTQIA+ spaces does have positive physical and emotional benefits, it can have the reverse effect if not in a safe space.”   


Barefoot has been a proud ally of the LGBTQIA+ community since 1988 and we are committed to spreading inclusivity and positivity to wine lovers across the globe, accepting everyone exactly as they are.

Barefoot has always strived to bring people together and spread happiness so it’s great to see that a small gesture like holding hands can have such a positive impact on and for the LGBTQIA+ community. Noone should be afraid of holding hands. Through our work with Pride Wide, we hope to promote positivity and acceptance in the LGBTQIA+ community and beyond.

The survey found:

  • 85% want to see more LGBTQIA+ people holding hands in public.


  • Holding hands makes 84% of LGBTQIA+ people feel happy. A similar number (87%) says it makes them happy to see other LGBTQIA+ people hold hands.


  • Many also say it makes them feel loved (51%), proud (48%) and in-sync or connected (43%). But it also makes some feel self-conscious (33%), anxious (30%) and unsafe (23%).


  • Two-thirds (67%) have avoided holding hands at least sometimes in the last 12 months for fear of a negative reaction.


  • Eight in ten LGBTQIA+ people (83%) agree that hand holding can be an act of visibility.


  • Most LGBTQIA+ people respond to seeing other LGBTQIA+ people holding hands by smiling (78%).


  • It also makes them feel validated and safer (43%) when they see others holding hands.
Dec 15, 2023