A queer man from Belfast who is starring in an advertisement for Durex with his real-life partner has posted a touching message on Instagram about the campaign.
The billboard features a photograph of Michael Allsopp kissing Sean Somal alongside the tagline: “Challenge the norms”.
In the post, Allsop shared a series of photographs of himself and Somal posing in front of the billboard.
Writing in the caption, Allsop – who describes himself as a “creative” – wrote: “I am beyond proud to be part of such an incredible campaign with such an important message.
“Breaking down the pressure and stereotypes around sex and allowing people to enjoy their bodies.”
Allsop went on to explain why the campaign, which challenges heteronormative views, is particularly poignant for him.
“Growing up in Belfast, and being from an Irish Catholic background, the words QUEER and GAY were often considered dirty words,” he wrote.
“After a long hard battle with the internalised homophobia and sexism that I was taught from a young age, I embarked on a journey of self-acceptance, love and growth.
“This is when I learned how to accept myself.”
Allsop said that he made a promise to himself at the age of 17.
“I took a vow that as I grew older I would be the QUEER that I needed to see when I was 12 years old,” he said. “That 12-year-old boy who was really struggling and couldn’t see a way out.
“Every day I try to present my authentic self, even though at times it has been hard or has lead to harassment.
“Now, here I am with my love Sean on a billboard celebrating love and sex and being real,” he added.
“Feeling very proud of myself and I hope someone who is struggling sees this post or the ad and it helps them to hold on and fight for a brighter future.”
Same-sex marriage is now legal in Northern Ireland as of last month.
This brings Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK - same-sex marriages have been legal in England, Scotland and Wales since 2014.