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German actor Aaron Altaras tackles homophobia in football, toxic masculinity, and teaching a younger generation about the power of difference, as upcoming queer football movie Mario arrives on the big screen.

Photography Benjamin Whitley

Fashion Kamran Rajput

As I write this interview, Harry Kane has just scored a beautiful header in the ninetieth minute of England’s first World Cup game to clinch a 2-1 victory against Tunisia, and I can distinctly hear shouts of “It’s coming home!” from my flat window. It’s undoubtedly the most popular sport in the world and as England flags are waved and plenty of pints inevitably sunk, it’s easy to forget about the dark history that’s often associated with the sport.

For years there have been constant instances of racism and homophobia on the pitch, and it’s the latter that is explored in upcoming film Mario. Starring Max Hubacher in the titular role, the film explores the relationship between Mario and new teammate Leon, who go from competitors to lovers, and the difficulty they face in whether to choose each other or to choose their blossoming careers.

A beautiful and touching love story, the film also stars German actor Aaron Altaras who plays the character of Leon. First scoring a film role when he was barely 10 years old, Aaron’s 14-year-long film career has seen him take on many thoughtprovoking roles. However, it’s his role in Mario that he believes will usher in the most change. I managed to grab Altaras on the phone between film festivals to chat about the importance of making this movie, and why he believes that it’s going to bring about a new era of acceptance.

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Nyle DiMarco is an outspoken activist, actor and model who lives at the intersection of his sexual fluidity and deafness. In our cover shoot with Nyle, artist Cacho Falcon has painted ‘I love you’ in American Sign Language across his body in what we hope to be a strong message of support to the queer deaf community. With nearly 8 million followers on YouTube, and close to 7 million in Twitter and Instagram, Tyler Oakley has become a pioneer of the new wave of social media celebrities, with a global reach that in many cases outshines even the biggest names in film and TV. Here, Tyler speaks on his latest project: Chosen Family, and why queer people need to become aware of their privilege. We’re also partnering with UKBP to raise awareness about the incredible work they do, and the importance of events and organisations such as theirs. We’re constantly learning how to be better allies to everyone across the far reaches of the colourful spectrum that is the queer community, and UKBP as a collective continue to educate and inform us how best to step up to the plate as a truly representative and inclusive company. Lady Phyll and the entire team at UK Black Pride are demonstrating the power of loud, unapologetic unity in the face of hatred and bigotry - often unfortunately from sectors of the LGBTQ initialism. Elsewhere in the issue: Sadiq Khan pens a letter to the LGBTQ people of London; Manevendra Singh Gohil, the first gay Prince of India, on using his platform to raise awareness on LGBTQ issues; Yves on standing shoulder to shoulder with our trans siblings; an exclusive look at the new exhibition Queer Friends; Aaron Altaras on his new role as a footballer coming to grips with his sexuality; Simon Gage reflects upon meeting Alexander McQueen ahead of the release of the upcoming documentary on the fashion icon; plus products, style, fashion, tech, travel, opinion and much more.