On Jan. 7, 2015, the jumbo screen at the Staples Center in L.A. featured a gay couple on the kiss cam.
During an NHL hockey game between the Los Angeles Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the stadium’s kiss cam — you know, when cameras are pointed at a couple in the crowd in hopes they’ll bless us with a peck? — did something pretty cool, and featured a gay couple.
Brad Parr and Andy Evans didn’t hesitate — they just went for it.
So … how did the crowd respond? Fans were totally into it. Some of the biggest cheers erupted when Parr and Evans were featured on screen — something Parr didn’t necessarily expect.
“What if the crowd booed? What if someone threw a drink at us?” he told Upworthy. “But the crowd roared its approval, which was wonderful.”
It’s reportedly the first time in NHL history that a same-sex couple has been featured on a kiss cam. That’s a big deal.
Kiss cams are fun and lighthearted, but they’ve also become a staple in the sports-watching experience. And while the world of athletics remains a battlefield in the fight against homophobia, in many ways, an entire stadium cheering its approval of two men kissing certainly marks progress.
But despite the crowd’s enthusiasm, Parr said he’s “looking forward to the day when a gay kiss gets the same amount of cheering as a straight kiss — that is, when a gay kiss is considered completely normal and not out of the ordinary.”
He told Upworthy the L.A. Kings organization has been “amazing” in its inclusion of LGBTQ fans and that he’s part of the Facebook group “Gay Los Angeles Kings Fans,” which is aimed at uniting an online community for people like him and Evans.
While the kiss was a first for the NHL, to be fair, the MLB beat them to it. Last May, a gay kiss was featured at a Dodgers game, and rumor has it an LGBTQ couple got some kiss cam love back in 2011 at a San Francisco Giants event. (All right, the ball’s in your court, NFL and NBA.)
Probably the coolest part about Parr and Evans’ overnight viral fame? They’re using it to support a cause near and dear to their hearts.
Since news broke about the NHL’s first same-sex kiss-cam moment (the kiss made it to the top of Reddit and has since been picked up by outlets like Mic, Outsports, and The Huffington Post), Parr and Evans have received a lot of positive attention.
A stranger who saw the kiss and knew Parr and Evans were supporters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) sent the couple $1,000 for their fundraising efforts, Parr explained. The two have supported LLS through running triathlons (they completed four last year!), and are gearing up for yet another this coming April.
So they’ve been trying to direct all this attention toward their fundraising page.
According to the page, donations will go toward research into new treatments for those living with blood cancers, which is a leading cause of death among those living with HIV/AIDS.
Parr and Evans’ kiss is a good example of a cool viral story that’s going the extra mile (triathlon pun intended).
“We could use [the kiss] just as bragging rights — it’s pretty cool,” Parr told Upworthy. “But we really want to use our 30 seconds of viral fame to help people — not just be minor gay-L.A.-famous for a day or two.”
Check out the video that prompted that 30 seconds of viral fame below: