A photograph of two black gay men kissing has gone viral.
Inspired by seeing another black gay couple post a picture on Twitter, Tyler Hightower did the same on October 1st in order to take a stand for representation.
The photograph of Hightower and his boyfriend Ahdeem Tinsley kissing has since received over 12,000 retweets and over 100,000 likes as of the time of the article's publication. It also included an inspiring message about the importance of visibility.
"Posting this because representation matters," stated Hightower. "The black, gay, and happy gworls are out here! We live together and have two cats. This was our 1 year anniversary. We are at the 1 year and 8month mark and still going strong!"
“The responses have been awe-inspiring,” Hightower, a 26-year-old cancer research coordinator, told NBC News. “People are replying saying that the picture made their day and that they didn’t know there was love for people like them.”
Indeed, the comments of the photograph were filled with love and support. "Love it. There's seriously nothing that makes me happier than seeing 2 people that love each other and aren't afraid to show it," wrote Twitter user @_Sean_83.
"Thank you for this! We exist!" exclaimed @jimmy__henny.
"Keep kissing for me," added @beavdamn.
The couple, who live together in Philadelphia with their two cats Buddy and Gigi, want to bring more diverse LGBTQ representation to a media landscape that is typically saturated with “classically attractive white gay men," Hightower told NBC News.
“Part of our identity is being fat, heavy, thick, black and gay men, and we want all people to know that no matter your size, color or religion, be yourself and live authentically, and you will find love,” he said. “I’d been closeted for a very long time, and now I’ve found true happiness.”