Holding Hands
watch Holding Hands trailer

Holding Hands

Australia, 2009, 65 Minute Running Time
US Premiere
Genre/Subjects: Discrimination, Documentary, Gay, Health / Medicine, Homophobia, Parenting / Family
Program: Documentary
Language: English

DIRECTORS: Tonnette Stanford, Katherine Wilkinson

On a pleasant 2007 summer night in Sydney, Shane Brennen and his partner Craig Gee went strolling, holding hands, through the gay-friendly district at Oxford and Crown Streets. Two hooded figures assaulted them, calling them “faggots” and demanding money. When Shane reached Craig, he thought his lover was dead — Craig’s head had been stomped several times against the pavement, covered with blood.

His leg was broken, jaw shattered and eye socket fractured in three places, necessitating reconstructive surgery to prevent his eyeball from falling out. Vicious homophobic messages from Craig’s stolen cell phone went out to Craig’s conservative family, who refused to see him and ostracized him for embarrassing them. If that weren’t bad enough, the local police station rebuffed all efforts to find the assailants.

When lurid photographs of Craig’s battered face appeared in the gay weekly Sydney Star Observer, the gay community watched as one of their own stood up and exposed the real-life consequences of gay-bashing. This moving documentary, a recipient of completion funding from Frameline, tracks the aftermath of the assault and proves how even a happy, loving couple can break down under the strain of homophobic violence.

Hearteningly, it’s also about how a community rallied around an appalling tragedy and came out stronger, safer and more unified. As drag star and Oxford Street Safety Ambassador Maxi Shield says, “If everyone’s holding hands, what can they do?” — FRAKO LODEN

Text Voting Code: D307

Copresented by

Community United Against Violence (CUAV)



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