French election: Emmanuel Macron appears topless on cover of Garçon magazine

French presidential favourite Emmanuel Macron has appeared topless on the cover of a gay magazine.

Garçon, a bi-monthly gay publication in France, chose the liberal politician as its cover star ahead of this Sunday’s final presidential poll.

The cover image comes with the tagline: “Coming out: a necessary fight”.

However the publication has come under fire for the cover.

Some have claimed it is demeaning and insulting to the politician, who has been subjected to false rumours about his sexuality during the campaign.

People have also question whether the image is real – with it seeming an unlikely pose for a possible president to do.

Speaking to website Mashable, one of the gay mag’s writers, Tristan Barreiros, confirmed that the image was in fact the politician’s head photoshopped on to the body of another, very toned man.

The final round of voting in France takes place this Sunday, with Macron up against far-right Front National candidate Marine Le Pen.

Macron, a supporter of LGBT rights, dedicated an entire section of his manifesto to LGBT issues.

Since the magazine was published, Garçon’s editor-in-chief, Christophe Soret, has issued a statement about the controversial cover.

They denied wanting to associate Macron with the coming out story, saying the it was just a design feature.

“Many talk about having revived the controversy about the possible homosexuality of the candidate,” he wrote.

“The latter clearly explained himself by indicating that he loved his wife and had no connection with a man.

“We do not revive this false story; we fight it!”

They also sent a message to “all the gays who would commit the error” of voting for Marine Le Pen and the right-wing Front National, who want to repeal same-sex marriage and protections for LGBTI people.

“Moreover, this coverage will have (let us be realistic) no impact on the vote,” Soret said.

“At best, it will remind the future President, whoever they are, that we will continue to fight to defend our right to sexual difference which is not a choice but a fact.”

It comes after he banned Russian state media outlets from attending his campaign events following ‘gay’ smears.

Speaking to Reuters his campaign branded them propaganda outlets that have “spread lies methodically and systematically”.

Macron’s run-off opponent Marine Le Pen, who is much more open to Russia, has pledged to repeal same-sex marriage.

In her manifesto Le Pen promises to create an “improved” form of civil unions in the country to “replace” the equal marriage law passed under the current Socialist government in 2013.

It would be a return to the former status quo for France, which only permitted same-sex couples to enter a contractual form of civil union (PACS) from 1999 until 2013.