The cover of L’HOMO magazine features seven shirtless Dutch sportsmen, two of whom have come out the closet.
The magazine, which is a special edition of the women’s publication Linda, includes interviews with gymnast Jeffrey Wammes and race car driver Mike Verschuur, both of whom are gay.
“There was already a lot of speculation about whether or not I fell for boys or girls,” 24 year old Wammes – who had never before been public about his sexuality – told the magazine. “To me it has nothing to do with sport or how I perform. But when I was asked to do this, I made it clear straight away how things were and that’s that.”
Verschuur (23) – who has previously come out – added: “Many fellow drivers — not mentioning any names — told me they were gay too. But they dare not say so in public which is a real pity. Because there is nothing to fear. On the contrary, it has only made me stronger. It’s made me a better driver.”
Jeffrey Wammes and Mike Verschuur
Wammes is a rising gymnastics star in the Netherlands. He recently finished in fourth place on the vault at the 2011 European Championships and is expected to participate in the 2012 Olympics in London. Verschuur won the Eurocup MÃ©gane Trophy series in 2009 and the Renault Clio Cup Netherlands in 2006.
The five straight athletes who appear on the cover to support their fellow gay sportsmen are soccer players Evgeniy Levchenko, Demy de Zeeuw, Kenneth Perez and Ronald de Boer, and tennis player John van Lottum.
Magazine owner/editor Linda de Mol said that her slogan for the special edition is: “Even more gold after coming out”.
The two sportsmen are part of a growing trend among gay and lesbian athletes to be open about their sexuality. Most recently, in March, 20 year old Swedish football player Anton HysÃ©n came out, following in the footsteps of England wicketkeeper Steven Davies.
Other sportsmen to have recently come out include Welsh rugby hero Gareth Thomas and Australian Olympic diving champion Matthew Mitcham.