Kurt English and Nick Cardello, a married couple that has been together for 25 years, recently posted two images of them kissing — both images taken 24 years apart — and the photos have since gone viral as an example of enduring gay love.
The couple met in 1992. A year after they started dating, they attended the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation on April 25, 1993. While there, they took a picture of English affectionately kissing Cardello on the cheek while standing in the National Mall.
The couple recently attended the Equality March for Unity & Pride in Washington D.C. and, upon a friend’s suggestion, decided to recreate the photo. They then posted the two images side-by-side on social media where it eventually found its way onto the popular web forum Reddit, and into viral status.
Soon, the couple started receiving messages from friends who saw the images posted on various social media platforms. On Twitter, one tweet in particular showed the two photos alongside the caption: “it’s just a phase.” It has since been retweeted more than 161,864 times and favorited more than 634,782 times.
The couple considered their newfound fame amusing at first, and then felt touched while reading supportive comments about their relationship’s longevity. Slowly, they realized how much their photo meant to a younger generation of LGBTQ people.
The couple knows lots of other same-sex couples that have been together for 30 or 40 years, but Cardello said, “The youth … don’t see many photos of gay couples getting old together. It’s nothing special [for us], but for some people who are still learning to love, it’s encouraging to them.”
He added that he felt it’s important for such images to be out in the public because it helps LGBTQ people feel less isolated and could help reduced LGBTQ suicide rates.
Cardello initially felt sheepish about sharing such images of them kissing, but he also noticed non-LGBTQ people who reposted his photos as a way to talk about journeying from homophobia to eventual acceptance and support of same-sex couples.
Cardello said, “I needed time to feel comfortable posting those photos, and people needed time to see them.”