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WORLD Nike controversy, gay Polish mayor, largest Pride in world
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2018-06-05

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Nike has caused controversy by using a pink triangle—most infamously used to mark gay men during the Holocaust—on its recent Pride collection, PinkNews reported. In May, the athletics brand launched its annual Pride collection. According to the release, this year's collection features "colours and symbols that have been reclaimed and historically repurposed by the LGBTQ community." Nike's BETRUE collection was launched back in 2012 and has been rereleased each year as part of a mission to make sport inclusive of the LGBT community.

BBC News recently profiled Robert Biedron, the gay mayor of Slupsk, Poland, who is shaking up politics. Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski has urged him to run for president in 2020. Opinion polls put him third behind the popular incumbent, Andrzej Duda, and the ex-prime minister and current European Council President, Donald Tusk. A left-wing former gay-rights activist, the 42-year-old Biedron became Poland's first openly gay MP in 2011 and Slupsk mayor in 2014.

LGBT Brazilians assembled in Sao Paulo for the world's largest Pride, NewNowNext.com noted. The event, now in its 22nd year, filled more than 10 city blocks—and attracted approximately 3 million attendees. Queer people from all over Brazil walked down the city's prominent Avenida Paulista, waving Pride flags and donning colorful clothes. The theme for 2018 was "Power for the LGBT [Community]: Our Vote, Our Voice."

In an interview with far-right Breitbart News, openly gay U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell comes across not as a diplomat but as a cheerleader for the rising ultra-nationalist movement in Europe, LGBTQ Nation reported. Grennell said, "I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left." Grenell's interview with Breitbart never mentioned that he is gay.

A Hong Kong court has ruled that the husband of a male civil servant is not entitled to spousal benefits, according to PinkNews. The move overturned a previous lower-court ruling in a blow for the territory's LGBT community. Same-sex marriage is not currently legal in Hong Kong, but Angus Leung Chun-kwong, an immigration officer, legally married Scott Paul Adams in New Zealand in 2014. Leung commented he and Adams were "deeply disappointed" and said it was a "step back for equality."

In Northern Ireland, thousands attended the Love Equality March for Marriage Equality parade and rally, The Irish Times reported. Together for Yes campaign co-director Ailbhe Smyth—and the leading figure in the recent successful campaign to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which prohibited abortion—said activists in the South were committed to helping the North achieve marriage equality and abortion rights. Northern Ireland is the only part of Britain and Ireland not to have extended civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

South Australia is the last state in Australia with a so-called "gay panic" defense for murder—which is currently under fire, ABC.net .au reported. That involves a non-violent sexual advance being considered enough reason to downgrade a murder charge to manslaughter. Authors of the South Australian Law Reform report say the law known as "provocation" has been used four times in the past 10 years.

The grandson of a former chief rabbi who had said "homosexuals are completely evil" was to marry his longtime boyfriend, PinkNews noted. Ovadia Cohen—whose grandfather was Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the former spiritual leader of the Shas political party and ex-Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel—was to wed his partner, Amichai Landsman, reported Tel Aviv-based newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. Yosef passed away in 2013 at age 93.

Girl—a film about a transgender teenage girl's quest to become a professional ballerina, won the Queer Palme award—selected as the best from a bumper field of movies with an LGBT theme playing at the Cannes Film Festival, Reuters noted. The Belgian movie was warmly received, with Variety calling the film "a stunning debut for both director Lukas Dhont and star Victor Polster." Polster, a cisgender boy and trained ballet dancer, won the prize for best performance in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, a separate competition from the main Palme d'Or race.

Former Columbia President Alvaro Uribe Velez prompted a backlash from LGBT groups in the South American country after referring to LGBT people as "non-heterosexuals," PinkNews noted. Velez used the term in a video on his Facebook and Twitter accounts that aimed to encourage LGBT people to vote for conservative candidate Ivan Duque in the upcoming round of the Colombian presidential election. Thousands of residents later used the hashtag #ColombianosNoHeterosexuales on Twitter.

Nick Bertke—a musician who goes by Pogo on YouTube, and is a musician from South Africa who lives in Australia—has made a video describing how much he hates gay men, LGBTQ Nation noted. Pogo ( whose viral success online led to work for Pixar, the Pokemon Company, among others ) has a YouTube channel called "Fagottron," and explained why he chose that name, saying, "I've always had a very thorough dislike of homosexuals. I've never liked a grown man acting like a 12-year-old girl. I've always found that to be quite disgusting. And so I thought to myself, how best can I express to the world that gays are just an abomination?" He also said he cheered the Pulse Nightclub mass shooting.

The Tom of Finland Foundation has teamed with Swedish footwear and apparel brand Eytys to bring the new limited-edition Magnum sneaker: "A rock hard, army-boot inspired, canvas high-top" that comes with some of Tom of Finland's most iconic drawings on the side, NewNowNext.com noted. The boots even come in their own specially designed box that features a clothing-optional pool party.


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