LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Gay Couple Recreates A 24-Year-Old Pride March Photo To Encourage People To Get Involved

"A loving partner can be a difficult thing to find, once you do you must protect it and nurture it."

Nick Cardello, 54, and Kurt English, 52, met at a church in 1992 and have been together ever since. The following year, the couple was among the one million people who attended the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay, and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation, and a friend took their photo on the Mall.  

In honor of their 25th anniversary, Cardello and English, who now reside in Florida and were legally married in Boston in 2008, attended last weekend's Equality March in Washington, D.C. They had a family member, who also marched, snap an identical photo.

Cardello first shared the side-by-side comparison on Facebook on June 11 at the suggestion of a friend, and it didn't take long before the moving snapshots went viral, earning upwards of 25,000 shares on Facebook and nearly 9,000 likes. According to Cardello, a photographer, the sweet story has spread across the globe and he's spoken to media outlets in at least nine countries. 

"We could never have imaged the incredible response to this that we received. We were deeply touched by people's personal stories and comments from around the world about the challenges that they experience in their personal lives and in their particular cultures," Cardello told A Plus via email, noting that his comments would be similar to those he had made to other outlets. "Many times we have been moved to tears by reading the comments."

Though the couple was by no means trying to go viral, Cardello says the general reaction has been "amazing." 

"There have been so many supportive comments on the post," he wrote in the email. "The comments made us keenly aware we cannot take what we have for granted. A loving partner can be a difficult thing to find, once you do you must protect it and nurture it."

As BuzzFeed News points out, a tweet with the photos and the caption "it's just a phase," has already been retweeted more than 163,000 times. The caption, though brief, captures the enduring nature of English and Cardello's relationship.

"In addition, the post pointed out to us is that it is rare to see these types of images in the media — same-sex couples growing old together," Cardello wrote. "The youth needs to see that it is possible to find loving partner and that the relationship can last."

"People need to see same sex couples just being couples. Those images are missing from the media," he added. "We need to get more images like this out there so the youth today can have positive role models. Suicide is a real threat to our LGBTQ youth. If one kid can find hope, that's all that matters!"

The couple has weathered the AIDS crisis, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Defense of Marriage Act and more, and were elated by the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015. Despite the current administration's decision to roll back some Obama-era federal protections for the LGBTQ community, English and Cardello remain just as dedicated to the fight for equal rights.

"We participate in Pride to show gratitude to all those who came before us and paved the way for the rights we have today," Cardello wrote. "The Stonewall Riots in 1969, the AIDS Crisis, all those who took their battle to court, every single person who decided to come out and be public, we thank them all. "It's important to get involved, make a difference, come out, support the community, and spread the message of LOVE!"

"We have decided to promote positive change in society by coming out to our families, at work, on social media, and with neighbors," he concluded. "It takes work, no denying it, but in the end love will win!"  

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