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‘The problem is always with the parents, not the kids’: Image of couple kissing sparks controversy in Brazil

The image was taken in one of Rio de Janiero's most iconic tourist attractions

By Steve Brown

A photo of a same-sex couple kissing has sparked controversy in Brazil.

Each year, nearly two million people visit Rio de Janeiro’s Sugar Loaf Mountain making it the second-most visited site in the city after Christ the Redeemer.

However, tourists now see a strategically placed picture of two men kissing and despite only being placed for three months, the photo has generated a series of complaints and anger.

Tourists are able to have pictures taken in front of a green screen by Fotografica – a photography company – and the counter displays several samples of photos previously taken.

At the top of the row is the image of two Brazilian men kissing romantically in front of a shot of Rio de Janeiro, with Christ the Redeemer in the background, The Intercept reports.

Manager Pedro Lotti has defended the decision to keep the photo in a prominent position as many of his customers are gay men.

The 29 year old said: “I did it specifically because roughly 70 per cent of our employees here are gay, and they experience serious problems here because of this.

“It actually took a while to be able to have a photo of a gay couple kissing because most are afraid to do it.

“Always, at the entrance, I noticed that same-sex couples were cautious or scared to touch, hold hands, or kiss for their photos.

“And they would walk to the photo area, and then walk away, and return various times, obviously afraid of how people would react.”

Lotti – who isn’t gay – wanted to show same-sex couples that the LGBT+ community could feel safe and be able to show affection.

He continued: “Whenever I saw a couple I thought might be gay, I asked, ‘Are you a couple?’

“If they said yes, I told them, ‘If you want to hold hands or kiss for the photo, you should’.”

Ever since he posted the picture on the counter, Lotti has received countless amounts of complaints and grievances of the image.

“Unfortunately, the large majority of people who react to the photo do so quite poorly,” he added.

“We get complaints ever day. They typically complain, specifically, that the photo is in the line of vision for children and are angry that their kids specifically have seen the photo.

“The problem is always with the parents, not the kids. Depending on how the parents respond, that determines whether the kids react positively or negatively.”