For too many, the idea of seeing a gay couple kissing in public is still alien to them.
Same-sex couples kissing is so normal, but it’s also a political statement.
That is why student artist Tyler Hillis, 23, decided to draw 100 gay couples kissing.
Studying to be an art educator at the University of Northern Iowa, he reached out to social media for the project.
The 100 kisses is now part of the open gallery at the Kamerick Art Building at his university.
But this is not his only project. You might remember Hillis from his project to draw over 1000 penises he got sent on Grindr and other places.
Gay Star News caught up with Hillis to find out about the project.
Student draws 100 gay couples kissing
GSN: Why did you decide to go for this kissing project?
Hillis: ‘Because too many people hear the word gay and think perversion. Gay is just another word for love.
‘Same-sex marriage was only legalized four years ago in the United States, and although we’ve made great progress, I grew up telling myself I was broken.
‘I convinced myself I was sick in the head for wanting to hold another boy’s hand. It took years of restless nights and listening to Lady Gaga to finally realize there wasn’t anything to fix.
‘I made this for the younger me, and everyone else that felt different and broken. There is love in this world for us.’
What makes this project different from drawing dicks?
‘I still can’t believe I drew over one thousand penises!
‘The main difference between these two projects is the intention behind them.
‘In an age where sending unsolicited dick pics is rampant, my penis drawings are commentary on social media like Tinder and Grindr.
‘From there it grew into a celebration about the human body; I want to live in a world where everyone loves their genitals.’
Showing love is important because love is fundamentally human
What makes a kiss between two men so powerful for you?
‘If a husband kisses his wife in public, no one will bat their eye. If a man kisses his boyfriend or husband in public, even if it was on his cheek for a second, they will get glances.
‘In some parts of the world it can even mean death. When traveling, gay couples have to make sure what their “limits” are. Is it safe to hold hands down the street here?
‘Is it safe to tell others I’m married to a man? A kiss is powerful because it’s one of the simplest ways to display your love for someone.
‘Showing love is important because love is fundamentally human.’
What’s your favourite story that someone has sent you?
‘Reading everyone’s stories was like discovering love over and over again. What really stood out to me were the “I love you”s that some left in their stories knowing that their significant other would read it eventually.
‘If I had to choose my favorite- one that ultimately stood out to me, I’d choose this one:
“One time Nate left the sunroof open in our car and rain soaked everything while he was at work. He came home that day and apologized and started to clean it out. He then left it open again and it rained again that same night. I love this man.”
‘Laughed so hard at that one. I hold them all dear to my heart and I thank each and every single one of them for sharing that moment in time with me.’