Two former Montreal pro athletes have posed for a memorable image as part of a powerful project.
The series called "Imaginary Couples" by French artist Olivier Ciappa aims to break gay stereotypes and promote same-sex equality. He poses public figures together as same-sex couples and families to provide a positive image of queer relationships.
On Thursday, Ciappa shared one portrait on his Facebook of former Montreal Impact player David Testo with Étienne Boulay — who won a Grey Cup with the Toronto Argonauts — in a naked embrace.
Testo came out as gay in 2011 and was the first North American soccer player to do so, according to MLS Soccer, while Boulay is heterosexual and married with children.
Ciappa says the photo is significant because it depicts one of the few athletes to publicly reveal their homosexuality.
"Now this picture is to me the most beautiful symbol of peace and reconciliation," he wrote in the image's caption.
Other celebrities like actress Eva Longoria and singer Lara Fabian have also participated in the series.
"The celebrities that I shot are heterosexual, but it was essential to me that you would believe these imaginary couples and families they portray were real," Ciappa told The Huffington Post in January.
“If you couldn’t identify with their love and feel it was real, then I would have failed."
The image of Testo and Boulay, who is now a TV personality, is part of a series of seven photos that focuses on international sports, according to Huffington Post Quebec.
Check out more portraits from the project on Ciappa's Facebook page.