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Sports magazine faces backlash over gay rugby kiss cover

By Will Stroude

An Italian sports magazine has divided the public after unveiling its latest cover – which depicts two male rugby players kissing.

The new issue of SportWeek captions the striking image with the headline: “Who’s afraid of a kiss?”


The players shown, Giacomo and Stefano, are a real-life couple and both play for Libera Rugby Club, Italy’s first gay-friendly rugby team. SportWeek says it is trying to challenge the “last taboo” of homophobia in sport.

The cover has elicited a huge response on social media since it was unveiled last Friday (July 10), and predictably not all of it was good. The Local has translated some of the more choice responses, which range from a simple “That’s disgusting”, from a user named Ruud, to the delightfully eloquent “F*ck off! What the f*ck?!”

Another Twitter user, named Luca Giove, accused the magazine of being “painfully conformist and ideological”.

Others were supportive however, praising the magazine for making a stand against prejudice.

“I’m not afraid,” said one user, La Volpe, “but many Italians are, and it’s fear and ignorance that create homophobia.”

Italy remains the only country in western Europe not to provide same-sex relationships with any legal recognition, but a national conversation has been sparked in the conservative Catholic nation following recent events in Ireland and the USA.

Encouragingly, last month the Lower House of Italy’s parliament passed a motion committing the government to promote the introductions of gay civil unions for the first time.

Italy’s first high-profile sports star to come out publicly – in-line hockey goalie Nicole Bonamino – only did so in 2012. Here’s hoping SportWeek’s cover can persuade a few more stars to take the plunge…

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