Tyler Hightower and his boyfriend Ahdeem Tinsley shared a kiss on their first anniversary, and it has Twitter users’ hearts melting. (Twitter)
With hate crime rocketing across the globe and the Trump impeachment scandal bristling, a black gay man posting a loving picture with his boyfriend has been welcomed on Twitter as an antipode to all the negativity.
But it’s also been praised for raising several important points about representation in the LGBT+ community.
Tyler Hightower lives up to his name. Literally towering above most at 6’2″.
The aspiring medical doctor shared an adorable photo of himself proudly kissing his boyfriend, Ahdeem Tinsley. The pair are one year and eight months-strong and live together in a place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.
“Posting this because representation matters,” Tyler tweeted earlier this week.
Posting this because representation matters. 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! pic.twitter.com/MZiIfzl5e1
— Ty (@TheBigDog77) October 1, 2019
“The black, gay, and happy gworls are out here! We live together and have two cats. This was our one year anniversary. We are at the one year and eight month mark and still going strong!”
Within a couple days, the tweet tallied nearly 12,000 retweets and 100,000 likes, queuing an outpouring of praise and support for the happy couple.
“Love exists for us,” says black gay man promoting positive representation.
“Earlier in the day, I had come across a tweet with two black queer men kissing and I was like wow, this representation is so important!” Tyler told PinkNews.
“Seeing that post moved me to add our love into the mix – we’re also two black queer men so let me just post this picture so that other fluffy, queer, black people can know that we exist and that love exists for us.”
“People have commented and explained how much they appreciate the representation, that we give them hope and that it is refreshing to see regular everyday body type people in love!”
Tyler said he and his boyfriend are “refusing” to let any of the hate they’re getting for the post get them down – he’s even replied to a few of them with more pictures of he and Ahdeem kissing.
“Sizeism in particular is an insanely annoying issue.”
The takeaway from the tweet to Tyler is that “love is thriving” for people of all types.
“Part of our identity is being fat/heavy/thick, black and gay men and we want all people but especially those people to know that you do not have to have to have a certain look to find love,” he said.
Talk has intensified over the last two decades about the racism inherent within pockets of the gay community, and while some apps have taken action to curb it, racism remains an everyday reality for queer folk of colour.
And to Tyler, a black gay man, racism as well as classism and sizeism is not spoken about enough.
He said: “There also is not enough action to dismantle these- isms from our community.
“Sizeism in particular is an insanely annoying issue and as annoying as it is for me I still benefit in the sense that I am built like a football player and people find that more attractive than someone who does not have a powerlifter’s build or just a muscular figure.
How did the happy couple meet, though?
“We actually met on a gay dating app,” Tyler said.
The pair began as pals, bonding over music and hanging at Tyler’s place.
“Somewhere along the way, our friendship began to change and it transformed into a romantic relationship! After establishing mutual romantic feelings, I eventually told, not ask, but told Ahdeem that we were dating.”
One phone call later to iron the details out, and the couple decided to give this love thing a shot.
While a lot of folks were pumped about how adorable Ahdeem and Tyler are, one question remained: What did they do for their one year anniversary?
“Ahdeem and I are both foodies and enjoy dining at new and exciting restaurants so, I had the wonderful idea of taking him to a french restaurant in Rittenhouse Square called Parc. Until that day, Ahdeem had never had french cuisine so I knew this would be a wonderful experience for us both. We ate until we were close to exploding!
“We shared great conversation, kisses and laughs.
“Weeks prior we’d both been discussing getting tattoos since neither of us had any, so after dinner we decided to get matching tattoos! We have each other’s initials and the date of our anniversary on our left forearms.”