Boys Will Be Boys

PhotographerGiovanni Capriotti
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The notion of gay athletes has somehow always encountered resistance and controversy within the sport community. Stereotypes can define the performance of the athletes as well as their suitability to a specific discipline. Gender roles are constructed and performed within society. The binary code is widely imposed by the tradition and, in the worst case, is the only one allowed by law. Rugby is a hard contact and manly game. Up until a few years ago, the possibility of gay players on the pitch was not even contemplated. The very common stereotype depicted homosexuals as weaker than straight guys and definitely not suitable for a fight club like rugby. It was this discomfort 13 years ago that pushed a few of Toronto's gay rugby players to form the first gay-friendly rugby team in the city. They unconsciously started the process of deconstructing the idea of masculinity within within the sport performance.

Story

The notion of gay athletes has somehow always encountered resistance and controversy within the sport community. Stereotypes can define the performance of the athletes as well as their suitability to a specific discipline. Gender roles are constructed and performed within society. The binary code is widely imposed by the tradition and, in the worst case, is the only one allowed by law. Rugby by definition is a hard contact and manly game. Up until a few years ago, the possibility of gay players on the pitch was not even contemplated. The very common stereotype depicted homosexuals as weaker than straight guys and definitely not suitable for a “gentlemen’s fight club” like rugby. The locker room was a sacred space devoted to pure masculinity, where gay individuals would not fit. It was this discomfort 13 years ago that pushed a few of Toronto's gay rugby players to form the first gay-friendly rugby team in the city. They unconsciously started the process of deconstructing and challenging the idea of masculinity within the sport performance. Established in 2003, Muddy York RFC primarily competes against ‘straight’ teams in the Toronto Rugby Union. The club also travels for exhibition matches against other gay teams, hosts the annual Beaver Bowl Tournament and every two years participates in the Bingham Cup, an international competition often labeled as the LGBTQ Rugby World Cup.

About Photographer

Giovanni Capriotti was born and raised in Rome. After finishing high school he moved to Amsterdam and London attracted by the vibrant and creative 90s. Passion for photography has always been part of his life, although at the beginning he could not afford to buy a decent camera and instead was experimenting with polaroids and vintage models, such as the old Yashica that his granny found at the pension where she used to work. After a few months in the UK he enrolled in a photography BFA at London Communication College, which helped him to organize everything he had learned as a self taught photographer. Newly graduated, the mandatory national service called him back to his native Italy. After one year spent serving his country and two more on the road in Europe, he got a job with a major airline, which drastically increased his chances to travel worldwide. He eventually fell in love with documentary photography and over a decade of voyaging he was able to cover different global issues while being part of the Italian collective DD Project. Currently Giovanni, also a graduate of the Loyalist College Photojournalism Program (Dean's List), lives in Montreal with his wife and daughter. His independent work covers multiple issues across North America and the world, focusing on unique and intimate stories that often go unnoticed. Giovanni's photo essays have been featured in solo and collective exhibitions in Italy and the UK, as well as magazines and catalogs. He has shot for NGOs such as Ontario HIV Treatment Network and the Canadian Aboriginal Aids Network. His photographs appears regularly in The Montreal Gazette and Postmedia Network newspapers such as The National Post, The Ottawa Citizen, The Vancouver Sun, The Edmonton Journal and The Province, while his clients list includes: The UNHCR, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, MacLean's Magazine, The Canadian Press, Sun Media/QMI Agency, The Manitoulin Expositor, The Manitoulin Recorder, Metro Rome, plus several worldwide print and online publications.