Man kissing his boyfriend in beautiful condom ad has become ‘the queer he needed to see when he was 12-years-old’
A queer man who appeared on billboards kissing his partner for condom brand Durex said he has become “the queer he needed to see when he was 12 years old”.
The beautiful photograph of Michael Allsopp, 24, kissing his real-life partner Sean Somal was part of Durex’s “challenge the norms” campaign.
Allsopp wrote on Instagram: “At around 17 years old I took a vow that as I grew older I would be the queer that I needed to see when I was 12 years old. That 12 year old boy who was really struggling and couldn’t see a way out.
“Every day I try to present my authentic self, even though at times it has been hard or has lead to harassment. Now, here I am with my love Sean on a billboard celebrating love and sex and being real.
“Feeling very proud of myself and I hope someone who is struggling sees this post or the ad and it helps them to hold on and fight for a brighter future.”
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He said that he experienced a “long, hard battle with internalised homophobia” because of his Irish Catholic background.
The 24-year-old continued: “This campaign is very personal to me. Growing up in Belfast, and being from an Irish Catholic background, the words ‘queer’ and ‘gay’ were often considered dirty words.
“After a long hard battle with the internalised homophobia and sexism that I was taught from a young age, I embarked on a journey of self acceptance, love and growth. This is when I learnt how to accept myself.”
Allsopp told Metro that he hopes that the LGBT+ visibility promoted by the Durex campaign will help young queer people.
He said: “I want young people who are struggling or anyone who is struggling with their sexuality or identity to see the billboard and hold on. Oftentimes I found myself leaning to the It Gets Better Project project on YouTube to get through hard times as a teen – I’m hoping that this can be part of that for someone else.
“I have been so low before that I almost didn’t see any reason to keep going – but I want to remind people that there is always a reason to hold on. Love will always win and all love is love!”