Gay Navy sailor recreates iconic New York WWII kiss photo with his husband but faces homophobic backlash from viewers
Bryan Woodington was one of 300 sailors returning to their families right before Christmas and decided to recreate the iconic World War II kiss photo with his husband
A Navy sailor recreated the iconic Second World War kissing photo with his husband, but the heartwarming moment did not please many and has been subjected to angry homophobic backlash.
Thirty-three year old Bryan Woodington returned home for Christmas after seven months in the Persian Gulf and Europe on December 21. He was one of 300 sailors returning to their families right before Christmas.
Greeted by his husband of one year Kenneth Woodington, the couple rushed for a kiss as they won a lottery to perform the ceremonial first kiss, a naval tradition that was captured on Jacksonville station News 4 Jax. The lottery allows the winning sailor to disembark first and greet their loved ones with a smooch.
"Bryan suggested that I wear all-white because he wanted to redo that famous photo, but he didn't know we won the lottery until the day he came home," Kenneth a special education teacher, told Yahoo Lifestyle.
"When I saw Bryan, I lost all control and ran over to him," he added.
The heartwarming moment was caught on camera as Bryan dipped Kenneth and they shared a smooch.
However, soon after it's release, the station was "bombarded" by hate messages. "How sad that your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast," one viewer wrote.
"I'll never watch your news again!!!! So long, News4Jax" another viewer wrote to the station. 'I thought this was a 'family friendly' news channel."
"How many people are now trying to explain to [their] young kids why 2 men were kissing. very disgusting. An ex [viewer]," another said.
However, the negative comments did not get to the happy couple as they focused on relishing their moment.
"It didn't really bother me," Kenneth told Yahoo. "Honestly, I'm the type of person who doesn't really care that much about what people say."
"There are people who see the beauty in it. As for those who don't, have a nice day," he retorted. "We're showing our love for each other, we're not hurting anyone. I'm just a spouse waiting for his sailor," he concluded.
In the midst of all the backlash, there were supportive messages for the couple as well.
On the Naval Station Mayport's Facebook page, one person wrote, "A new twist on an old favorite! Love it!" Another user said; "I wish my Husband would kiss me like this!"
In 2011, two female sailors were the first same-sex couple to win the lottery.