Powerful Photo Depicts 12-Year-Old Boy In Mexico Standing Up To Anti-Gay Protesters

He did it for his uncle.

A powerful new photograph is going viral this week. It depicts a 12-year-old boy standing with his arms outstretched in front of thousands of anti-gay protesters in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, on Saturday.

The dramatic moment was captured by journalist Manuel Rodriguez, who shared the photo on his Facebook page. It's being compared to the famous "Tank Man" photo, which depicts a man standing in front of a line of tanks in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989 after the military killed hundreds of protesters.

While Rodriguez initially thought he was "just playing," the unnamed boy reportedly told the journalist the deeply personal reason he decided to take a stand. "I have an uncle that is gay and I don't like people hating him," he explained, according to Mexican publication Regeneración.

The protest, which was organized by a conservative Catholic group called National Front for the Family, reportedly drew 11,000 people on Saturday. It was sparked by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's proposal to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Right now it is only legal in Mexico City and certain states.

On Sunday, a day after the protests, Mexicans in support of gay rights held their own march, with some holding signs reading "I respect your family, respect mine."