After 25 years of being together, Nick Cordello and partner Kurt English decided to celebrate at D.C. Pride. To commemorate the moment, the couple recreated a photo they took together at D.C. Pride 24 years ago in the same location. Standing together, with Cordello planting a kiss on English's cheek, the most recent photo side-by-side with the old one went viral on every platform it was posted on, according to BuzzFeed News. Other than this being the ultimate #tbt, it quickly became a source of inspiration and a quick lesson on LGBT visibility.
Cordello and English didn't really think too much into how the photo would perform online. Cordello just wanted to share a very cool moment with his partner. But little did he know what impact the photo would have. And thus, a simple display of affection became a growing thread of conversation on Twitter about homophobia, growth and of course adoring the couple.
Cordello shared with BuzzFeed News that in anticipation of their anniversary, he started sharing photos that were more "affectionate." In past years, he said that hadn't always been the case. "Most of [the photos] have been kind of generic — a lot of people get kind of sensitive to seeing images of gay men kissing, so I've always resisted posting them on social media," he said.
But this year was going to be different! Cordello said he wanted people to see those images because in his words, "It's who we are." So this cutesy couple photo was also about being unafraid to stand in your truth and love unapologetically.
The history behind the photo is even sweeter. The young pair in the original photo was an emotional memory for Cordello. He told BuzzFeed News that the photo commemorated a period in their lives or a "Second coming out for us." After friends started calling to share how their new photo had gone viral, Cordello and English's special moment solidified 24 years of love always #winning.
The unexpected responses after it was tweeted with caption "It's just a phase" made the couple realize just how popular their photo had become.
If you don't have the feels at this point, you're probably made of stone.
And for some, this was the perfect reminder that you shouldn't hide who you are, that you deserve love and most importantly, to love yourself.
Other than making you have all of the feelings, commenters started discussing the idea of LGBT visibility online and the pressures to be "out." Cordello shared that he also needed time to get comfortable with himself before posting certain photos of him and his partner. But he also shared that representation can open doors and empower other LGBT youth to choose life and love: "My concern is with LGBTQ suicide rates," he shared. "If they can't relate to people, they feel isolated. It's important for these images to be out there."
The fact that these images are surely a lot more "out there" than Cordello and his partner had probably intended are a fitting testament to his message.