Ahead of this year's Mardi Gras, official partner ANZ has released research that found that while 94 percent of Australians say everyone should feel comfortable holding hands, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, only 43 percent of the LGBTI community are truly comfortable doing so. It also found members of the LGBTIQ community are three times as likely to feel uneasy holding hands than any other Australian.
ANZ's Managing Director of Corporate and Commercial banking, Mark Hand, who is also Chair of ANZ's Diversity Council, said, "This highlights the daily pressures that the LGBTIQ community faces. It's a simple and loving gesture to hold your partner's hand, however for fear of discrimination, and experiences in violence and abuse — the reality is that many in the community still don't feel safe."
To draw awareness to these issues, ANZ has started the campaign #HoldTight, launching with the above heartbreaking video that was watched almost a million times on Facebook over the weekend. Over the two weeks of Mardi Gras (from Feb. 17 to March 5), #HoldTight wrist bands will be given out and the use of "#HoldTight" on Twitter will produce a holding hand emoji.