A couple responded to a protest outside a production of The Rocky Horror Show, which celebrates LGBT culture, by posing for a kiss.
The moment between Joe Fergus, 24, from Mold in Flintshire, and Robert Brookes, 21, from Nottingham, was captured outside Chester’s Storyhouse theatre.
The picture was shared on Facebook by Chester Pride, prompting an outpouring of support.
Mr Fergus said it was about “turning a negative into a positive”.
Protesters had gathered outside the musical on Tuesday, holding banners with messages like “Flee from the wrath to come” and “Be sure your sin will find you out”.
“When we arrived there were a lot of people outside the theatre arguing a lot with the protesters,” Mr Fergus said.
“The problem is you’re never going to get anywhere arguing with them.
“I said to Rob ‘wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t acknowledge them and had a kiss in front of them’ and he said ‘that’s great’.”
He said the moment they started kissing a crowd that had gathered erupted into applause.
“We were quite proud when we did it, that’s why we put the photo up,” he said.
After the photo was shared on social media, the couple were praised, with one Facebook user posting: “The best photo I will see in a long time”. Another said: “Love this picture. How iconic. Well done lads.”
The couple were also approached by newspapers.
Responding to the attention the photo has prompted, Mr Fergus said: “We can’t quite believe it. We’re lucky to have families who are so loving. My mum keeps saying she’s my manager.”
The musical has been going for 45 years and currently stars former Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton as part of a nationwide tour.
It contains gay themes as well as addressing cross-dressing – with its song The Time Warp one of the best-known songs from musical theatre.
The Storyhouse theatre tweeted following the protests and said: “Storyhouse is and always will be a safe space. We celebrate and support LGBTQ+ communities – always. Let’s have a FABULOUS night & week.”