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Italian sports magazine challenges homophobia with gay rugby players kissing on cover

by Jenny Noyes - 20/07/15, 2:10 PM

Italian sports magazine SportWeek is receiving applause from LGBTI allies around the world for its groundbreaking new cover, which shows two gay rugby players locked in a kiss. 

The players, Stefano and Giacomo, are a couple who play for Libera, which describes itself as Italy's first gay-friendly rugby club.

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The magazine says the cover is an effort to challenge homophobia in sports, which it describes as the 'last taboo'. And it's caused quite a stir. 

"The audacity of normality. Applause to @SW_SportWeek for the cover."

"I am not afraid. It is Italy that is afraid, and it's fear and ignorance that generates homophobia."

"More honour and glory to La Gazetta and its magazine SportWeek for telling the great story of LIBERA RUGBY"

"Changing our imagination is a necessary step; thanks to @SW_Sportweek for a great cover!"

While many praised the magazine for its strong supportive stance, the decision also attracted a backlash, with some fans accusing it of being 'conformist' and 'siding with fashion' while others on Twitter responded simply with expletives. 

The reactions - both positive and negative - show just how necessary and powerful such an intervention is in a country that's long been polarised over same sex relationships and homophobia. 

LGBTI Italians have few protections from discrimination - and Italy is the only country left in western Europe that provides same-sex relationships zero legal recognition. But that could be about to change, with the Italian parliament recently passing a motion that could see civil unions introduced in coming months. 

 

 

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