ANZ have commissioned research exploring the simple act of holding hands in public and how it effects our community. The research was launched today following the lead-up to the Auckland and Wellington Pride Festivals.
The research shows New Zealand’s LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community is more than twice as likely (39%) than non-LGBT+ (18%) to feel less comfortable holding hands in public, with young Kiwis leading the statistics.
The study was conducted by Galaxy Research in the past fortnight, with 504 New Zealanders aged 18 years and older taking part.
ANZ Managing Director Retail and Business Banking and ANZ NZ Pride Network sponsor Antonia Watson says the research reveals unease in the community.
“Holding hands is a very simple and public way of declaring love, but, sadly, not everyone in our community feels comfortable,” Ms Watson said.
“While most Kiwis take holding hands in public for granted, members of our LGBT+ community feel judged doing so.”
A negative response from others (48%) is the leading reason the LGBT+ community surveyed felt self-conscious holding hands. Almost a third (31%) had been made to feel uncomfortable because of a negative response from others.
Of the LGBT+ people that said they have felt uncomfortable holding hands, it was young New Zealanders who led the age groups, with Gen Y at 23%, followed by Gen X at 21% and Baby Boomers at a low of 15%.
The LGBT+ community polled said they are most comfortable holding hands in front of their extended family (73%), but least likely to feel comfortable in front of an elderly stranger (14%).
These insights are the inspiration behind ANZ’s #HoldTight campaign which launched today to support the LGBT+ community. New Zealanders are encouraged to snap and share their own hand-holding photos on social media, with a special Twitter emoji prepared for the awareness campaign. ANZ Australia will be running the campaign at the same time.
“We’ve launched this new #HoldTight initiative so we can get behind our LGBT+ staff, customers and community to share our support for equality,” Ms Watson said.
“It also sends a powerful message to our staff that we want them to be true to themselves at work.
“We’re hoping Kiwis jump on board the campaign and demonstrate how we live in an accepting and open society that’s proud to celebrate diversity.”
Auckland couple and ANZ staff members Teresa Cropp and Toni Fraser said at times they’ve felt self-conscious holding hands.
“At the start of our relationship back in 2015 I know I was a bit hesitant to hold hands in public and still am, particularly around older generations,” Ms Fraser said.
“It’s such a natural thing to do but I was worried about the response I’d get from strangers, like a rude stare or snide remark.
“As a member of ANZ and the Pride community, I’m proud we’re having this conversation and hope others will feel encouraged by the campaign,” Ms Cropp said.
Toni and Teresa will lead ANZ marchers at the Pride Parade holding hands, the longest period of time they have done so in public.
In 2017, ANZ continues as a sponsor of both Auckland and Wellington Pride Festivals. GAYTMs will again dazzle Auckland streets to raise funds for youth LGBT+ network OUTLineNZ.