Hand Holding and other PDAs

[UPDATE: Don’t miss the Guardian’s Kissing in Public Live Blog relating to the incident described below]


As I’ve already indicated, I spent quite a bit of the past week in that London. It’s unusual for me to take a holiday just before Holy Week, but it felt like quite a while since I’ve had any proper R&R as the holiday that I expected to take after Christmas was swallowed up in the Great Dose of the Flu and never really happened.

I’ve loved London ever since I lived there in the 1990s. Generally speaking it has been very kind to me. I know lots of folk don’t like the busyness and the bustle, but I love it. I love the capacity of the city to change too and its always interesting to look out for what’s changing when you return periodically.

Two things struck me this time. One was that it seemed as though there were more explicitly vegetarian restaurants. I happen not to be a vegetable myself, but quite welcome this development. Though I’m not vege, I have to be on a relatively low meat diet and so other possibilities are greatly to be enjoyed.

The other thing I noticed was that there seems to be a quiet social revolution underway in that there were quite a few more same-sex public displays of affection. What I specifically noticed was that there were gay couples holding hands in public, even on the tube. Apart from at Pride, I don’t think that was nearly so common in the past.

Clearly people are gaining more confidence to be themselves on the street and that’s a big step forward. Whether or not one likes PDAs oneself, the idea that two people can hold hands in public without risking street violence is hugely significant. The Day in Hand project and the recent Irish video that I posted show that there are moves to make things better and the sight of couples quietly holding hands in London shows that things are changing.

I was interested then to hear on the news this morning of a case where a same-sex couple had been thrown out of a Soho pub for kissing whilst meanwhile apparently, straight customers necked on in safety.

The inevitable has happened – one of the kissers has taken to twitter, outrage has broken out and a kiss-in has been organised for the same pub next week.

On the street, in the tube, in the pub, even in church. Normality is breaking out all over.

Its a trend you know. Its a definite trend.

However, I wonder how long it will be before the Mr Beamishes of the world face a twitter organised Kiss-(of-Peace)-In at their local church. A Flash Mob Peace would be quite and event, wouldn’t it?


  1. Inspiring stuff! Talking of churches, same-sex hand-holding is apparently fine at St.Silas although, to the best of my knowledge, the policy on same-sex kissing is still “no glossal contact” 😉

  2. Rosemary Hannah says

    I am trying to remember when my son and now son-in-law were thrown out of a Scottish fun park (you know, roundabouts and dodgems) for holding hands. Neither of them is 29 yet, and they did not meet until they were in their twenties – I remember how cross we all were – but So ho – what IS the world coming to!! Soho should know better!

    • Rosemary – I do think that there is joy to be found in realising that these are now becoming things up with which people are unprepared to put.

      So to speak.

  3. Rosemary Hannah says

    But change only happens through protest and vigilance. You snooze, you lose.

  4. Well, that’s the kind of point I was trying to make over here:

  5. Rosemary Hannah says

    For myself, my patience is all used up – on this and on other issues. Too long a sacrifice makes a stone of the heart.

  6. It’s all so silly- the SoHo landlord will no doubt be regretting this action now, especially as he closed up to prevent his pub being used during the protest, thereby losing loads of business !
    Ruth and I don’t even think about reaction to our PDA’s, it’s not an issue to us where and when we PDA and we are a very affectionate couple 🙂

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