The Castro Holds a Kiss-In, While #TwoMenKissing Floods the Internet

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From @LivetoLove on Twitter.

Of all the sickening details that have emerged in the days following the horrific hate crime in Orlando on June 12, one sound bite, perhaps the most simplistic -- and most simply infuriating  -- tells us that shooter Omar Mateen's homophobic rage was provoked, in part, when he witnessed "two men kissing" in public a few weeks earlier.

As SFist reported today, local author Karl (or K.M.) Soehnlein responded to that tidbit with an equally simple yet extremely powerful image: Him and his husband kissing.

Since that tweet, thousands have followed suit, using the hashtag #TwoMenKissing as a signal boost and a statement: This is what love looks like, and we're sure as hell not going to hide it.


Meanwhile, an event billed as the "Spread Love Kiss-In" will take place tonight at 6pm at Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro. The Facebook invite reads, in part:

Help Spread Love! Come get your picture taken while you kiss a friend. If a same sex kiss prompted the heinous event in Orlando, then let's flood the internet with positive displays of love. Love, in all its beautiful forms, is not to be feared.

If you can't make it, you can still participate on ye olde social media -- which, for all its problems and contradictions, has undeniably served as a source of comfort and support for many over the past four days.

"The massacre at the Pulse nightclub felt very far away," Soehnlein told the BBC yesterday. "Posting an image of love felt like a way for me to support all those suffering in Orlando. And it connects someone like me -- who has been out since the 1980s -- with gay youth today, who are an inspiration and the future of our movement and community."

The Internet: Sometimes it's a cesspool. And sometimes it's a hug and a hand squeeze felt around the world -- or, if you prefer, a really good kiss.