French Olympic Swimmers Become Gay Couple for Anti-Homophobia Campaign


Florent Manaudou, a gold medalist for France in London 2012, and freestyle world record holder Frédérick Bousquet are making waves on social media in a new anti-homophobia campaign in which they pose as an "imaginary couple", Outsports reports.

The couple's photo, posted on photographer Olivier Ciappa's Facebook page, has been shared more than 7,800 times since Sunday.


  1. Zeta says

    Why not get a real couple? A little too much like tragic mulattos being played by whites. I get the sentiment, the daring, but it’s always better to get the real thing.

  2. Mike Ryan says

    @Zeta perhaps Ciappa was unable to find two French and openly gay Olympic Gold Medal winners. Speaking of which, it would be very exciting to see Tom Delay and the handsome ice skater and World and Olympic medal winner Jeff Buttle appear as lovers in a campaign against homophobia.

  3. Zeta says

    @Kyle and Ryan, it’s an anti-homophobia campaign. I didn’t think that was dependent upon participation (or notoriety) in sports. My point is that by using two straight men, you give ammunition to anti-homosexuals who believe that being gay is a choice you can put on or take off like a day wrap.

    If two homosexual men had been used, then homosexuality is a reality; it is not a fetish or deviance, it is not a bedroom/lifestyle choice. It is much more brave to focus on real people who are real homosexuals, allowing others to come out.

    By using two straight men, it also has the possibility of codifying straight male affection to another man as homosexuality, further eroding the straight man’s ability to be intimate with other men without there being a sexual component involved.

    It’s like using two meat-eaters to pretend to be vegans (for pay), for PETA — only worse.

    But maybe this ad campaign is like PETA, and the two swimmers were used for the same reason PETA tries to appeal to the baser desires of straight men (and the baser inadequacies of straight women): it’s sexual titillation first, education third.

    But if you all like drooling over the straight boys, then more power to you. I just don’t see the point.

  4. Kyle says

    Uh, it’s an anti-homophobia campaign, and like any campaign, an endorsement of the message by popular or famous people tends to help the message. Just like product endorsements, anti-homophobia campaigns benefit by having high-profile or famous people endorsing the message.

  5. Munro says

    Honestly Zeta, I think it’s cool that two super popular and successful straight athletes would make an image like this, and I’m into the message behind it. Get your panties out of a bunch, straight guys do gayer stuff than this with each other.

  6. Anastasia Beaverhausen says

    I seldom accuse anyone of “overthinking” anything, but in this case, Zeta, try thinking a little less.

  7. Jeff Atwood says

    I agree with Zeta and there are famous, beautiful Olympic gold medal swimmers who are out (Matthew Mitcham and Greg Louganis). As for the “intimate gesture” above, if you spend any time in Mediterranean countries, casual physical contact between men is common unlike uptight “no homo” American Puritans, so I don’t see that the photographs communicate the issue well; how about a French kiss? Would we use to white actors portraying a black couple in an ad about racism?

  8. JShep says

    @Zeta, aren’t you over-analyzing this just a little? It’s the photographer concept/idea… to take famous people and re-imagine them as gay couples. That’s it. There’s one of Eva Longoria and Lara Fabian on his Facebook page as well. They’re clothed. These 2 happen to be swimmers, and I assume they’re in their Speedos.
    Maybe his point is to have people think about how their feelings towards people would change if they were gay?

    And this is nothing like PETA. PETA is AGAINST people eating meat. Using meat-eating actors would cut against their message. Nobody has anything against heterosexuality.

    Just seems like you’re trying very hard to find something negative to say about something very innocent.

  9. Gareth says


    Thanks for the funniest/most horrifying freudian typo of the day – unless you really would get excited by the sight of Tom ‘The Hammer’ DeLay getting it on with Jeff Buttle. Personally, I prefer young diver Tom DALEY!

  10. EchtKultig says

    “Would we use to white actors portraying a black couple in an ad about racism?”

    That’s the crux of the problem.
    Better to have the athletes simply make a statement along the lines of “real men don’t hate gays” or what. Or find an athlete with a gay family member. Or find a gay athlete.
    And no, I’m not overthinking this.

  11. trees says

    It is wonderful to see two male role models show respect, love and admiration for each other, and to embrace rather than fight.

  12. Ryan says

    The genius of this campaign is, by using two famous and well respected straight guys, the campaign is asking straight people to ‘walk a day’ in a gay person’s shoe. They’re making the point that being gay could ‘have happened’ to anyone, were they born that way, and thus straight people should respect and accept gay people as they would anyone else.

    If the campaign featured gay french athletes, the reach would be smaller: the athletes would not likely have been household named in France, of course, but even more than that, the campaign would not have been forcing straight people to grapple with the fact that, were it not for some DNA chain or hormones they were exposed to in utero, they too could have been gay. This campaign is thus much harder for a straight person to so easily dismiss than an ad with a two gay people in the same pose or straight people generically just asking for other straight people to hive their support.

    This ad forces people to confront their feelings and to recognize how easy it could have been for their shoes to be on the other foot. Personally, I think this is one of the smartest ad campaigns I’ve seen yet to push equality, of those using celebrities. I’d put it up there with NoH8.

  13. FakeOutrage says

    Would we use to white actors portraying a black couple in an ad about racism?”

    Stupid example. A white couple could not conceivable portray a couple who would be victimized by anti-black racism because they are in fact, white. (cue the “I know some black people that look white trolls…but I digress)

    Two men, whether straight or gay, could be victims of anti-gay hatred if they are simply “percieved” to be gay. So having straight men do the ad is not only appropriate but it emphasizes that homophobia affects ALL men.

  14. Artie_in_Lauderdale says

    @ FakeOutrage,

    You nailed it. Homophobia has always affected 100% of the male population. The campaign of fear and taboo that the Christian church has waged for last 1600 years has always targeted all men.

  15. Tom Cardellino says

    The negativity posted as comments herein on Towleroad that decry the lack of would be “perfection” in this noble effort by two of France’s greatest athletes is so very nauseating in its pettiness. When any minority, especially we LGBT folks internationally, are the beneficiaries of daring and envelope-pushing support in the midst of a homophobic Roman Catholic Church-fueled France-wide coordinated and Church funded pogrom of homo hatred unprecedented in the European Union, my only thought to the denigrators on this America-based website is that you better awaken to just how vile, deadly and widespread is international homophobic motivated and Religiously promoted, and often Nationally promoted, deadly opposition to LGBT rights beyond the few isolated islands of acceptance within this homo-hating country of the USA, as well as within most first world countries, where LGBT rights and acceptance are also isolated to urban islands of acceptance, with wide swaths of many 1st world nations still harboring in their citizenries deep, visceral and oftentimes deadly hatred of that which they do not understand, and are repeatedly told by the many sources of authority under which they live that LGBT people are Satanic, disordered, and all sorts of maligned assessments for which LGBT people supposedly stand. LGBT people remain a loathed minority throughout most of the world, no matter how civilized or primitive the country. LGBT rights are far, very far from being in any sense “established” despite what the American press would have you believe. Not even President Obama has gone the complete route necessary to ensure LGBT equality only here in the USA. Other so-called 1st world nations, though they may grant marriage and civil rights to LGBT people still can not keep murderous and maiming attacks upon Gay folks simply because they are Gay folks. Not enough, by many miles of travel down the road of equality, has been done to dispel the decades of hateful misinformation heaped upon the LGBT minority. Tons of work still needs to be done to counteract the 100’s of years of denigration so stupidly foisted upon the LGBT minorities of all the world’s nations.

  16. Mikey says

    This is amusing coming from Zeta who recently wrote that gays need to stop coming out and shoving it down people’s throats. I’m REALLY starting to think this poster, zeta, is ratbastard. Same rants and fixation of wanting to go against the grain on here, with hints of homophobia expressed