Back in March there was a bit of a media sensation in Argentina when an actor who plays a star soccer player in a television soap opera called "Botineras" kissed another actor playing the role of an up-and-coming player. The kiss shocked viewers because both characters had been established as being romantically involved with women (the first with a wife and the second with a girlfriend) and because it came at the end of a scene in which the soccer star was consoling the teammate over an unrelated plot line. Watch...
You can also watch the two immediate follow-up scenes here and here (it's worth it, if you have the time - English language subtitles courtesy of BlackAngel82).
The kiss made the rounds of local media and was welcomed by local LGBT rights organizations. It has also made "Botineras" the top rated television soap opera in Argentina at the moment.
Cristian Sancho, the 34 year old actor who plays soccer idol El "Flaco" Riveiro (top man above, pun somewhat intended), is a former underwear male model and married to a woman in real life. He says it was the first time he had ever kissed a man but felt the pressure to make the scene as realistic as possible because he knew the LGBT community would complain about it otherwise.
In an interview published in Clarin on March 31st, he said he was proud of the role and the willingness of the producers to break the mold.
"What's good is there is no fear of taboos. Homosexuality in soccer is a topic that stems from years ago," he says, "there are tales of players that were as such and we all know certain myths."
Sancho says he believes that gay soccer players fear coming out because of what might happen to them professionally and the potential reaction of soccer fans with their ingrained machismo.
As to whether the character of El "Flaco" is gay or bisexual, Sancho has this to say:
He is [currently] in the bi-polarity of not knowing how to distinguish what he wants. What he loves the most in his life is his family and he could not be able to live without them. He lives in a machista world, and, indeed, he is machista. He believes his wife should take care of him. There is love for her, but a fraternal love. He sees her as a mother-figure. When I developed the character, I began from the basis that he is a man. I did not go with the stereotype of an effeminate gay. I wanted to have respect for the gay community, which is very demanding when it comes down to it.But wait! That's not all! Remember all the bru-ha-ha in December over the first ever gay sex scene on a US television soap opera? Well, you can watch that darkly-lit, candle-decorated, gauzy-lensed snooze-fest from "One Life to Live" by clicking here.
Now compare: Something must have happened on "Botineras" during the past month because Lalo, as played by Ezequiel Castaño, seems to have gotten over his initial rejection of the advances by El "Flaco". Here is the first sex scene between the two of them as aired Friday night on Argentinian television. It might show way more flesh than any of the US soap operas might show but, even taking away the nudity, THIS is how a TV soap should handle a sex scene between two leading men [Original source: AG Magazine].
Extra points: A Twitter friend tells me that the music playing in this clip is from Sigur Rós. And, indeed, it is! ("All Right"). And any TV soap that uses Sigur Rós for a pivotal love scene must be the best. soap. ever! I thought I'd let you know.