Mermaids make a splash at diversity celebration at the Rio Games

Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:01pm EDT
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(Reuters) - A gaggle of mermaids made a splash on the sandy shores of Rio de Janeiro's Ipanema Beach on Saturday (August 14) night at a party celebrating diversity organized at the Danish Pavilion.

The record number of openly gay Olympic athletes has boosted the acceptance of Brazil's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community amid a backlash over same-sex marriages, according to people at the event.

With the largest total of openly gay athletes participating, 49 according to Outsports magazine in July and double the number of London in 2012, Rio 2016 has seen the first married gay couple competing and a lesbian marriage proposal at a medal ceremony.

Brazil's courts have recognized civil unions between homosexuals but its Congress has opposed the legalization of same-sex marriages.

The LGBT community hopes the high-profile example of Olympic athletes can help change attitudes in the country.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016.A participant walks the runway during a mermaid competition at Ipanema beach. REUTERS/Nacho Doce