Words: Steve Brown
Emmerdale star Michelle Hardwick said she is too scared to hold her fiancée’s hand in public.
The actress plays openly gay and married Vanessa Woodfield in the soap and is currently engaged to show producer Kate Brooks but despite being happy and in love, they admit they are scared to show affection in public following the increase of homophobic attacks in the UK.
While speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Hardwick said: “I feel like we’re going backwards in society with our attitudes.
“Sometimes if Kate and I see a group of young lads we instinctively let go of each other’s hands because we’re scared they’ll turn on us. We live with that fear every day,
“So, people who say, ‘Gay Pride? Why isn’t there a Straight Pride?’ I’ll tell you why, because you don’t need it.
“Because luckily for you, you’re able to be affectionate with your partner in public and you won’t be abused for it. It’s absolutely vile what goes on.”
She then went on to say that she has been contacted by both LGBTQ and straight soap fans thanking her for normalising same-sex relationships on the popular soap.
“It never stops and I always try and reply to everyone,” she continued.
“And I get a lot of messages from viewers who aren’t gay saying, ‘What you’re showing is normal and it’s great it isn’t hidden away’.
“It isn’t like Charity and Vanessa are rammed down people’s throats all the time, but it’s lovely the characters are still together.
“And Emma and I get on so well.”