• Italy's news in English

Backlash over sports mag's gay front cover

Patrick Browne · 10 Jul 2015, 11:18

Published: 10 Jul 2015 11:18 GMT+02:00

The  bold headline of the July 11th cover of Sportweek asks readers: “Who's afraid of a kiss?”

It would seem many readers are still afraid of a kiss, at least when it's between two members of the same sex.

The divisive cover has provoked outrage among some fans of the magazine, unhappy with the display of homosexuality on the cover of the popular weekly.

One fan, Ruud, simply Tweeted: “That's disgusting,” while another Twitter user, Luca Giove, attacked the magazine, stating: “You're painfully conformist and ideological.”

Many comments were far more unsavoury, such as one user's eloquent reaction, “F*** Off! What the f***?!”

But there were also plenty of supportive comments, with many people seeing it as a positive challenge to outdated attitudes towards homosexuality in Italian sport.

“I'm not afraid” said Twitter user La Volpe, “but many Italians are, and its fear and ignorance that create homophobia.”

From the controversy surrounding gay marriage to Venice's mayor banning homosexual books in schools, homophobia is a divisive issue in Italy and the cover arrives at a time when gay rights' movements are gathering speed in Italy.

SEE MORE: Venice mayor bans books on homosexuality

SEE More: Huge rally in Rome against gay unions

However, news on Thursday that a 40 year-old man from Cerignola, in Calabria, took his life after receiving abuse from his family over his sexuality, highlights that there is still a long way to go to change attitudes.

With its cover, Sportweek is trying to challenge homophobia in sport, something the magazine refers to as "the last taboo".

There have been many high-profile examples of gay sportspeople, such as tennis ace Martina Navrátilová and Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas. In Italy, however, famous sportspeople would seem to be far more reticent in coming out.

Indeed, the first sports star to come out in Italy was Nicole Bonamino. Bonanimo is the goalkeeper for the national in-line hockey team and told the press she was a lesbian in 2012.

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Patrick Browne (patrick.browne@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Pope visits Armenian genocide memorial
Francis laid a wreath and prayed at the Tsitsernakaberd site. Photo: AFP

Pope Francis on Saturday issued a rallying cry to protect memory at the Armenian genocide memorial in Yerevan, on day two of a trip likely to stir tensions with Turkey.

Italians in the UK: 'After all these years, we feel unwanted'
Thousands of young Italians have moved to London in recent years. Photo: TJ Morris

Italian expats in the UK shared feelings of anger, fear and confusion after Britain voted to leave the EU. And they never even got a say.

How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Looking to stay in Italy long term? Here's how.

Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
(L) Nigel Farage, leader of Ukip, which campaigned for Britain to leave the EU and (R) Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Photos: Geoff Caddick/Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Britain may have taken a leap into the dark, but this is what's expected in Italy.

Europe needs renovating after Brexit: Renzi
Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, has called on the remaining EU members to reorganize the EU. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Renzi said it was "not an easy day."

'Brexit is a disaster for Great Britain': WW2 veteran
Harry Shindler MBE. Photo: Rosie Scammell

“I would have thought that 70 years of peace would have been sufficient for people to say ‘we’re not going to change’ anything."

Renzi calls urgent meeting as Italy's far-right rejoice Brexit
Italy's Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, summoned the country's top economic minds to his home on Friday morning. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italy's Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, called an extraordinary meeting on Friday morning as global markets were plunged into turmoil by the UK's shock decision to leave the EU.

Brits in Italy left stunned after UK votes for Brexit
Britons on Thursday voted to leave the EU. Photo: Emanuel Dunand/AFP

Britons in Italy woke up to the shocking news on Friday that the UK has voted to leave the EU, sending the pound crashing and fuelling concerns about their future on the continent.

Venice beaches offer 'sun or your money back' deal
Venice beaches are offering 'weather insurance' in a bid to boost visitor numbers this summer. Photo: Darkbeach/Flickr

Authorities hope the move will attract more beachgoers.

Berlusconi plots Forza Italia relaunch from hospital bed
Silvio Berlusconi is reportedly hoping to relaunch his political party, Forza Italia. Photo: Alberto Solaro/AFP

Following a near-fatal heart attack and surgery to replace his aortic valve, the 80-year-old mogul shows no sign of slowing down.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
Italian restaurant crowned the best in the world
Ten breathtaking Italian gems you've never heard of
Eritrean held in Italy denies being trafficking kingpin
Italian man 'turns French' after brain injury
Six reasons why South Tyrol will absolutely blow your mind
Why Italy's facing another tough summer
Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
Five reasons Rome's mayoral elections actually matter
Ten Airbnb apartments where you'll feel at home in Rome
Quiz: Silvio Berlusconi versus Donald Trump - who said it?
Crew who sunk with WWII sub 'wanted to be found': relative
Why the average ancient Roman worker was dead by 30
Did a Nazi official save Ponte Vecchio from destruction?
How the brutal murder of an anti-mafia hero altered Sicily
These are the best beaches within easy reach of Rome
Why Italians are falling out of love with the EU
Business & Money
Foreign, female and a self-made success in arduous Italy
jobs available