On the grand spectrum of shocking photos, the above shot registers somewhere above pet pictures and below rock climbing action snaps.
But location is everything, and this charming photo of two men embracing is causing quite the stir in Rio de Janiero.
It’s being displayed at a popular tourist destination, Sugar Loaf Mountain. After the Christ the Redeemer statue, it’s the most-visited destination in the coastal Brazilian city.
Photography company Fotografica has a green screen set up on the mountain, offering visitors a somewhat corny memento should they choose to shell out the fee. Naturally, the company displays some examples of their product next to the setup.
At the top row of example shots now lives the above same-sex kiss.
Manager Pedro Lotti, 29, explained his reasoning to The Intercept:
“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 doesn’t identify as gay or bi, but he wants people to feel safe to express 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’.”
Unfortunately, the photo has received constant complaints.
“The large majority of people who react to the photo do so quite poorly,” he said.
“We get complaints every 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.”
Brazil is home to the world’s largest Catholic population, and the political landscape continues to embrace rightwing evangelical platforms.
Lotti’s small act of defiance is most welcome.
Great courage, given the environment. And what a wonderful example for children, especially those who are gay and closeted!
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such hateful people these homophobes!! What in the world are you hypocrites so afraid of??? It is a great picture of two men in love…what’s your problem with love????
Who cares if kids see two guys or two women kissing? It’s part of life. They don’t need to be shielded. In fact, they need the exact opposite.
They’ll get to see this at some point and make their own decisions.
We`re QUEER and We`re HERE to STAY…GET OVER IT….
I’m glad that Lotti posted this image and keeps it up despite the homophobes. Although once somewhat more liberal on sexual issues, Brazil seems to be backsliding when it comes to LGBTQ rights as evangelicals gain more power and gay and trans people prove to be easy targets for the right. It could get much worse this fall if Jair Bolsonaro, the far right-wing, openly racist, homophobic candidate now leading in the polls, wins the presidency. He’s so awful he’s openly praised Brazil’s former military dictatorship, mocked the former president’s experience of torture under the dictatorship, and said he’d rather have a “dead son than a gay son.” And as you might guess, he even thinks of himself as the Brazilian Trump!
I would certainly do it, no problem.
Thank you, Mr. Lotti. This is what being an advocate is all about.
Maybe people don’t like the pic because it brings a bunch of uncomfortable feelings to the surface but the pic has to stay. It stirs-up cognitive dissonance, that helps people grow. As already noted above, we’re queer and we’re here to stay. But, of all places, Brazil ???? Maybe I’m wrong but I thought Brazil was one of the most mellow, accepting places on the planet. Now I have cognitive dissonance.
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