Attending the Honolulu Pride Parade earlier this month was a big deal for 20-year-old Arrianna Daskauskas. It was, after all, this time last year when she decided to come out to her parents as gay after years of hiding it. One year later and there she was, walking down Kalakaua Avenue hand-in-hand with her new girlfriend and hundreds of others in Hawaii's LGBT community.
Then, they walked past three men -- two were holding signs, one was carrying a megaphone. All three were screaming words of hate. One man yelled out, "God didn't create Adam and Steve!" Another man pointed at Daskauskas and her girlfriend, Marilyn DePonte, and told them they were going to hell.
In that moment, Daskauskas had enough.
"I was just sick of the hate," she told The Huffington Post. "We're trying to have one day where we can be proud of ourselves and not have to hide. And these guys are over here yelling at us."
Without thinking, she grabbed her girlfriend, ran in front of the men, and pulled DePonte in for a kiss.
The crowd around them erupted with cheers. A group of women riding motorcycles revved their engines in support. A nearby couple visiting from France took a picture. The kiss, Daskauskas explained, just felt right.
"I felt personally attacked because I was in the closet for so many years," she said. "The only reason I was hiding was because of those kind of people who have hate and no kind of acceptance for people who are different."
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After the kiss, Daskauskas turned to the men and asked, "How can you say God hates me when God is the author of love? I don't believe love can sin."
To which, one of the men replied, "Do you really think God loves you? Is that how you sleep at night?"
Fortunately, the brief moment of hate that Daskauskas experienced was a rare, tiny speck in a parade filled mostly with love.
As the young couple walked away, the crowd became "so loud that you couldn't even hear what the guys were saying anymore," she said. "There was so much support from everyone in that one area. I felt empowered and liberated to stand up for myself and people like me."
The couple who captured the spontaneous moment approached Daskauskas so they could send her the photo. And when the parade was over, Daskauskas submitted it to eXpression! Magazine, a Hawaii-based LGBT publication, which posted it on its Facebook page.
"I knew I had to do this for the young people who are so afraid to come out because of the hate and discrimination," she wrote in a note sent with the photo. "If they saw us and how happy we were even if we were in the face of hate, then maybe these kids won't be so afraid to be themselves, and more importantly be F*CKING PROUD to be themselves.”