Instagram Apologizes for Removing Photo of Gay Men Kissing

This weekend, photographer Stella Asia Consonni posted a photograph on Instagram, one she’d taken depicting two men kissing. Soon after, the social media site removed the photo for “violating community guidelines.”

While this is far from the first time the photo-sharing service has flagged LGBTQ content as inappropriate, this story, luckily, has a happy ending.

Following much public outrage, including from celebrities like Olly Alexander of Years & Years and Jade Thirlwall, the app apologized for the mishap, claiming it was a mistake.

“This post was removed in error and we are sorry,” a spokesperson for Instagram said. “It has since been reinstated.”

The photo, which features Jordan Bowen and Luca Lucifer kissing, was first published in i-D magazine as part of a series by Consonni in which the artist explores relationships via portraits of couples. The gay couple in question has been together for seven years, and they were heartbroken by the initial removal of their photo.

On his own Instagram, Bowen expressed feeling like his relationship had been “reduced to a Community Guideline.” He called out Instagram for its hypocrisy in using LGBTQ pride to enhance the social message behind its brand, but enforcing archaic rules that prove otherwise. “Earlier this was removed from @stellaasiaconsonni and flagged as inappropriate,” Bowen wrote. “@instagram spoon feeds us with rainbows and hashtags to appear in solidarity but it seems real people in love have no place here. This is discriminatory and archaic and violates our right as a couple.”

After the social media site fixed the glaring error, he has since posted again, noting, “IT’S OFFICIAL. #lovewins.”

The photographer, too, has spoken out since the incident. “Thank you for the amazing support that came from so many of you,” she said in an Instagram story. “This is just a very teeny tiny event in the grand scheme of things but seeing all the amazing response certainly restored a little of my faith in humanity. Instagram briefly apologised. But there is still a long way to go in the fight against homophobia.”

In a final message to her followers, the artist added, “This goes to all my beautiful friends that have to deal with this BS all the time. Keep fighting.”

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