A few years ago a friend told me I was brave for holding my girlfriend's hand in public. That shouldn't be true, but it was. I felt brave. Braver than I had been two years before, when my then girlfriend and I had just started dating and would stop holding hands as soon as we got a dirty look. And, trust me, we got a lot of dirty looks.
It's a feeling most queer people face at some point. Even if you're out and completely comfortable with your sexuality, holding hands with a partner in public can still feel awkward and tense. Sometimes, it's easier to just let go.
It opens with a series shots of hands reaching for each other, then later pans up to reveal that these people holding hands are all queer couples. Each couple faces a moment — a dirty look on the bus, a glance at a restaurant — that makes them let go, until the last couple thinks about dropping each others' hands but then tightens their grip and keeps walking.
"When you feel like letting go, #HoldTight," the ad reads as the featured couples grab hands again. And now I'm crying.
The ad seems especially important for queer people in Australia now. The country has yet to legalize same-sex marriage and political candidates have some pretty concerning ideas about what being LGBTQ means.
Despite these barriers and the harsh looks and words many queer people still face, no matter where we live, I hope the ad encourages LGBTQ people to #HoldTight in times when they feel safe to do so. I certainly will.