Sports magazine debuts powerful issue against homophobia

Sports magazine debuts powerful issue against homophobia
Two water polo players kissing on the front cover of L'Equipe.

One of the most popular French sports magazines has taken a stance against homophobia in new issue.

The latest cover of L’Equipe (the French word for team) features two male water polo players kissing.

Adrien Leongue and Cédric Le Gallo are the two players sharing the tender moment. Both men are part of the gay water polo team called Les Crevettes Pailletées, meaning glitter shrimps in French. Le Gallo is also the director of a movie of the same name about homophobia in sports.

The slogan Embrassez Qui Vous Voudrez (kiss whoever you want) stands out against the beautiful image by photographer Roberto Frankenberg.

When confrontation turns into a kiss

Frankenberg has explained why this picture is so relevant.

‘To illustrate this delicate issue, I tried to frame them in several frames and several postures, especially underwater.’

He furthermore added: ‘But as soon as I took this picture, it just jumped at me. Beyond the same-sex kiss, the poetry of the image comes from the hijacking of a sporting duel, a gesture of confrontation, which brings another possible interpretation. I also had in mind one of Sportweek, where two rugby players kissed.’

‘We need to fight homophobia but…’

While many readers are praising the initiative, some have expressed their concerns about putting two people sharing a kiss on the front cover of a magazine in 2019.

‘Luckily, I have the chance to cancel my subscription when magazines hurt my dignity,’ one wrote.

‘My 5-year-old son is asking questions on the subject… I think it’s too delicate and it’s hard to answer,’ someone else tweeted.

The same person further explained: ‘We need to fight homophobia but I can’t look at similar pictures. The world evolves but it was better before when people talked less and hid… this is counterproductive.’

‘We don’t care if they like women, cats or trains… this magazine is shit.’

The special issue

Besides its beautiful cover, this special issue will tackle homophobia in sports in its content as well.

The issue, hitting newsstands in France tomorrow (4 May), comes out at a crucial time. In a tweet, the magazine highlighted how frequent anti-LGBTI attacks to athletes were over the past year.

The tweet also includes the anti-LGBTI aggression to Welsh former professional rugby player Gareth Thomas.

‘The aggression of an icon,’ the magazine labelled the hate crime.

The former captain of the Wales rugby team came out in 2009. He posted a video of his face on Twitter in November 2018, opening up on the horrific attack.

‘I was victimized in my own city because of my sexual orientation,’ he said. A 16-year-old admitted he was the author of the assault.

Thomas was just one of the many openly LGBTI athletes attacked for their sexuality.

The new issue of L’Equipe analyses similar cases and tackles anti-LGBTI incidents in sports, such as the homophobic stance taken by Australian rugby player Israel Folau. Folau publicly wrote that hell awaits homosexuals earlier this year.

See also

Rugby star James Haskell says players shouldn’t have to come out as gay

Rugby star apologizes for ‘liking’ Israel Folau’s homophobic Instagram post

New rugby chief says Israel Folau should be sacked for homophobic posts

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Author: Stefania Sarrubba

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