“Fall in love,” the new cover of Elle Brazil beckons, and its cover models seem to be doing just that. The magazine’s anniversary edition features two young women smiling brightly and gazing into each other’s eyes. One is lying in the sand, while the other appears to be leaning down for a kiss.
The South American publication debuted the cover on Instagram on Thursday, and fans received it with resounding praise. “So much light, so much love overflowing in this cover,” one person commented in Portuguese. Others expressed their support with comments like “More love please!” and “I’m falling in love with this.”
The cover comes out during a turbulent time for the LGBT community in Brazil. As the New York Times reports, Brazil is in the midst of an anti-gay epidemic, with almost 1,600 fatalities as the result of hate crimes in the past four and a half years. In this nation with a population of 200 million, the sobering truth is that one transgender person is killed every day, the article reported.
Elle Brazil has a history of advocating for the LGBT community. Back in 2011, the magazine featured its first transgender cover star, Lea T., and in November 2016, the progressive publication cast swimsuit-clad transgender model Valentina Sampaio for its cover.
The magazine posted a poignant caption to accompany its latest cover; it loosely translates as this:
“In a world that seems to be increasingly divided, affection, collectivity, partnership, empathy and, above all, love are values in which Elle believes. In today’s fashion it has not been different: collaborative collections, family ties, loaded pieces of symbolic value, and passionate speeches guide this new moment when the heart speaks louder than anything else. Fall in love for our anniversary edition!”
Later in the day, Elle Brazil released another version of its love issue cover on Instagram, this time featuring five female models of various ethnic backgrounds cuddling up with one another.
While Elle’s move is undoubtedly powerful, other publications have transcended traditional, heterosexual norms by featuring same-sex couples on their covers. In January, W magazine released its movie issue. One of its six covers featured a steamy close-up shot of actresses Natalie Portman and Ruth Negga facing each other with heads tilted, as if they’re about to kiss.
For an alternate cover of its movie issue, W showed actors Viggo Mortensen and Adam Driver facing the camera while in an intimate embrace. On Instagram, the publication declared, “It wasn’t easy to get 12 of the biggest stars on the planet to embrace, lie down together, and even kiss.”
In 2011, though, boundary-pushing magazine Love went full-smooch when it released a cover that showed Kate Moss passionately kissing transgender model Lea T. (the same year that she was featured on the cover of Elle Brazil). In the photo, both women are dressed and styled to look androgynous — and rightfully so, as the issue was dubbed its “androgyny chic” edition, according to the Daily Mail. A cover line boldly declared, “This is hard core.”
Of course, major magazines like Time and Out have also featured same-sex couples on their covers, but these recent publications are different in that they’re trumping the typical man-loves-woman trope casually, and not to promote an LGBT-related story. As one Elle Brazil commenter put it, “Trailblazers!” It seems they’re, well, falling in love with the loving image.
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