#TwoMenKissing: Shadi Petosky posts pictures to defy the haters
'I wanted this stuff to stop' she says after Orlando shooting that killed 50
When Hollywood producer and illustrator Shadi Petosky heard the Orlando shooter had been angered at the sight of two men kissing she felt it her duty to post more images of just that — two men kissing.
"I read the quote about how the killer had been upset about two men kissing and I was thinking about how much that's happened in my life of where people are afraid of such an innocuous image," said Petosky.
Collage of men kissing
She tweeted the collage of men after learning that 29-year-old Omar Mateen had opened fire in a gay nightclub early Sunday morning, killing at least 50 people. Twitter has erupted with similar images of two women and other permutations of love locking lips under the hashtage #twomenkissing.
Petosky said she was in Los Angeles celebrating LA Pride at a Shamir concert. People were already mourning the Florida shooting of singer Christina Grimmie — the former The Voice contestant killed in Orlando two days ago — when everyone learned of the Florida nightclub attack.
I lost about 200 followers after posting photos of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/twomenkissing?src=hash">#twomenkissing</a>. So now I'm just responding to egg avatars with that.—@shadipetosky
Then Petosky heard that the shooter's father believed Mateen was angered by seeing two men kissing and touching each other in public in Miami.
The fact the killer was angered by the image of men kissing took her back to her own childhood when people — even her own father — constantly expressed disgust if men held hands or kissed.
It was kind of a picture is 1,000 words situation.- Shadi Petosky
"I was definitely angry and it was kind of a picture is 1,000 words situation. As a trans person I wanted to say something. I wanted this stuff to stop."
Her tweet got immediate attention. Not all good.
About 200 followers dumped the account. But many of them were trolls anyway, said the artist and producer known for her work on everything from Bone Sharps to the popular children's television show Yo Gabba Gabba!
When asked if she is afraid for her own safety after posting images of men locking lips, Petosky says it is her duty.
She refuses to think of her actions as brave.
Lifelong target of hate
"I've been a target all my life and I've been a victim of violence all my life," said Petosky who spent her formative years in Kalispell, Montana, and then Gwinn, Michigan, with her family on airforce bases.
"I was a loud, queer kid in a rural area — doesn't lead to the greatest childhood. I was chained up to a fence and had people bash my groin with bike locks. I was brought into the woods and assaulted. I have had glass thrown at me and had sawblades held up to my wrist."
Petosky says it is her duty to stand up and show how normal it is for two humans to show intimacy — and not normal or sane for people to respond to that with violence.
Singled out before
Petosky earned notoriety a year ago when she was stopped by Transportation Security Administration agents because of an "anomaly" in her X-ray scanner image.
Petosky is a transgender woman and described through her Twitter account how TSA agents took her aside to a private room where they asked her about her genitals.
Also, "don't politicize this"? Really? You've politicized queer people using bathrooms and having jobs, you can't depoliticize their deaths.—@spooloflies