2018 and thousands of us worry whether we "Hold Hands or Hide".
Hold Hands or Hide is a 10-minute short ﬁlm that follows gay couple Adam and Stuart on a night out at a local boozer, but after they show some public affection towards each other they fall victim to a violent hate crime.
In 2008, Director Simon Wegrzyn was victim to hate crime where he suffered signiﬁcant head injuries. Ten years on, he shares his story on how the attack has left one permanent scar - the fear to hold hands with the man he loves.
In July 2018, a survey carried out by the UK Government Equalities Ofﬁce, revealed that 2 in 3 LGBTQ+ people are too scared to hold hands with their partner in public.
“Holding hands is such a simple, tender gesture – there should be no barrier to people loving who they want to love and being able to express that in public,” Penny Mourdant, Minister for Women and Equalities
“Every queer person performs survival maths when they step out of the house. This ‘policing’ formula is beaten into us, literally. You count the people around you, then multiply risk based on the number of straight men/football shirts/drunks, then consider your escape route and how fast you can run. Then can you hold hands?”
Hate Crimes against LGBTQ+ people in the UK have surged nearly 80% since 2016 and much of the hate crime takes place in public spaces, with 1 in 6 LGBTQ+ people having been victims when they visited a café, restaurant, bar or nightclub. After I was attacked, I chose to 'hide' my authentic self due to fear within these inherently “straight” public spaces.
Watch the Short Film here
More from the Director
Going into this ﬁlm, I wanted to focus on two particular points:
Minimal Dialogue following the attack - It is not always obvious that our world is built around straight privilege; which says it is ok that a young straight couple can kiss each other on the London Underground, but a young gay couple who kiss in this exact same location are pulled out of their seats, strangled in a headlock and forced to apologise for being who they are. These experiences happen on a daily basis, and more and more LGBTQ+ people are policing themselves in public. Using minimal dialogue after the attack scene in this ﬁlm will further highlight the feeling of vulnerability and that element of hiding - not drawing too much attention to oneself.
Love and Sex - Homophobia is largely down to the feeling of aversion or disgust towards same-sex intimacy, which is born from a wide heterosexual belief that “Straight Love/Sex” has the right to dominate. This anti-LGBTQ+ bias ‘shames’ intimacy shared by any member of the LGBTQ+ community. In this ﬁlm, I wanted to draw attention to this aversion by juxtaposing beautiful moments of intimacy cut into the jarring scenes of violence.
A recent survey released by the Government Equalities Ofﬁce revealed that 68% of LGBTQ+ people avoid holding hands with their same-sex partner either because they have previously been attacked or they fear it could happen.
The simple gesture of holding on to your lover's hand is a beautiful sign of love and commitment. So why should this simplest of gestures continue to be so frightening? - Simon Wegrzyn
Background on the Director and Actors
SIMON WEGRZYN (DIRECTOR)
Simon is a Writer & Director who has worked in the TV & Film industry for 4 years, speciﬁcally in Comedy and Drama. As a Director, his most known work is TV comedy Filcher & Crook, a Mighty Fine Production for Channel 4 Comedy Blaps. It starred Tim Downie (BBC 'Upstart Crow', Channel 4 'Toast of London'), Dean Nolan ('Pan', 'London Road', BBC 'Ashes to Ashes') and Emily Joyce (BBC 'My Hero', Channel 4 'Friday Night Dinner'). Simon also directed The Revenge of Anubis a BBC Radio Play written by Tim Downie and recorded live at the world famous Ealing Studios. Hold Hands or Hide is Simon’s ﬁrst short ﬁlm, which has so far won four awards; Best LGBTQ Short at the Global Film Festival Awards, Best LGBT Short at the Independent Shorts Awards, Best Writer and Best Short Film (Love is Love Category) at the Queen Palm International Film Festival.
RICK YALE (Adam) Hold Hands or Hide is Rick’s ﬁrst ﬁlm role, having successfully worked in theatre for the last four years. Theatre credits include Ross alongside Joseph Fiennes at the Chichester Festival Theatre; UK No.1 Tour 5 Guys Chillin’ for Em Lou Productions; The Poplars for Volcano Theatre; Fields Unsown for Attic Theatre; and To Kill A Machine for Scriptography.
KEVIN GROGAN (Stuart) Hold Hands or Hide is Kevins third short ﬁlm, having also appeared in Human directed by Del Wynegar and Another Man directed by Artemis Szekir-Rigas. Kevin is also a musical theatre performer who has performed in the UK No.1 Tour Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.