“It’s just a phase.”
How many LGBTQ people have heard that dismissive refrain?
But as people come out earlier and couples celebrate longer relationships, it’s becoming clear as day that being LGBTQ isn’t a passing fancy.
One gay couple’s photo is serving as a viral illustration of that longevity.
Husbands Nick Cardello and Kurt English have been together for nearly 25 years. Like so many couples, they took a photo together at Washington Pride in 1993. This year, they recreated the photo at Pride, striking the same pose they had 24 years prior. The only major difference, the color of their now-greying hair.
One Twitter user who shared the photo followed up saying, “No but seriously this is the best thing I’ve seen today hands down.”
“I only posted the photo on my Facebook page after the march. It took off from there,” he said. “Someone else copied it to Twitter, Instagram & Reddit. That’s when it really took off. A reporter from Brazil said it had over a million likes there.”
It also inspired some couples to share their own now-and-then photos.
Cardello said the photo was inspired by the fact that the couple was still marching for LGBTQ equality two decade later.
“In 1993 we had just come from the Reagan years and the federal government avoiding the AIDS Crisis. It was a difficult time for us, since three months earlier I had lost my brother to AIDS. Then Clinton signed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act,” Cardello explained. “For the 2017 March we were elated by the Obama administration’s federal recognition of same-sex couples, the Supreme Court rulings, the overturning of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act. But we now have concerns with the rolling back of rights we have gained, particularly with the proliferation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act laws as a backlash to these hard-won gains.”
While the fight for equality continues, he said he hopes that younger LGBTQ people will see the photo as a reminder that it’s possible to find a life-long love.
“The youth needs to see that it is possible to find a loving partner, and that the relationship can last,” he said, noting that portrayals of same-sex couples growing old together are rare. “A loving partner can be a difficult thing to find, once you do you must protect it and nurture it.”