Back in 1993, a young gay couple attended a Pride march and posed for a photo together. The resulting picture is a candid snapshot of two people who are happy and incredibly excited, about the world around them and about one another.
But it’s just a single snapshot – a brief moment, encapsulated in film. It tells a love story, yes, but the story ends with the flash of that camera.
Until now, that is.
Some 24 years later, the very same couple (now married) have recreated their Pride photo to show the world that true love does exist, that it can last forever and that being gay is absolutely not “just a phase”.
Nick Cardello, 54, and Kurt English, 52, first met and began dating in 1992. A year later, they decided to attend the March on Washington together – and, while they were there, had a pic snapped of them (Nineties style – y’know, with an actual camera rather than a smartphone) of Cardello kissing English on the cheek.
Since then, the couple have remained a “we” – and, understandably, they have treasured the photograph.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Cardello explained that they saw it as a “second coming out” but had always resisted sharing it on social media as “a lot of people get kind of sensitive to seeing images of gay men kissing”.
However, last week, the couple decided to recreate the image in the exact same spot on the National Mall, and shared the two snapshots side by side on the internet, because with gay rights under threat from the likes of President Donald Trump and the Democratic Unionist Party, it’s more “important” than ever for people to see them.
“It’s who we are,” they said firmly.
Speaking to Pink News, Cardello said: “The idea here was we were 24 years later, still marching for LGBTQ equality.
“For other reasons now, compared to 24 years ago, but still not full equality.”
It’s safe to say that the internet had a lot to say about the images:
Beautiful pic.twitter.com/8KfKa7LDxb— Polly Sigh (@dcpoll) June 19, 2017
This is such a wonderful tweet, one of the best ever.— Ben The Illustrator (@BenIllustrator) June 19, 2017
This is so necessary. For young gays to see old gays happy, in love, and proud. Thank you for giving me a bit of hope for the future— Quinn (@intelfrog) June 19, 2017
no but seriously this is the best thing ive seen toda y hands down— mh (@tagyourheathen) June 18, 2017
What a fabulous post. I wish you a long and happy life together.— KateP (@doctorwibble) June 19, 2017
so much love for this photo 🌈— Luisa-Christie 🦄 (@luisachristie) June 19, 2017
Iconic. I aspire for this long lasting love https://t.co/YNTbczvhuG— Alluring Ivy🌿 (@Drebae_) June 19, 2017
I literally just keep toggling back and forth between these two images because this is the purest thing I have ever seen https://t.co/LzKrHwgff7— Daryl Lindsey (@DarylUnlost) June 19, 2017
They've been marching for so long they actually witnessed gay marriage being legalized in all states pic.twitter.com/nOwlSGg1OH— ً (@Durrrah) June 19, 2017
Cardello admitted that he and English have been “moved to tears by reading the comments” underneath their post.
“It is rare to see these types of images in the media, of same-sex couples growing old together,” he said, when asked why he felt the image had made such an impression on everyone.
“The youth needs to see that it is possible to find a loving partner, and that the relationship can last.”
Excuse us a moment, we just have something in our eye.