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WORLD Polish party, Brazil crime, Mumbai Pride
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Poland's first openly gay politician—Robert Biedron—has launched a new progressive, pro-European Union political party called Spring, PinkNews reported. Biedron, the former mayor of the town of Slupsk, hopes to challenge the ruling right-wing Law and Justice party, as the country prepares for both domestic and European elections this year. Speaking at a rally in the capital Warsaw, Biedron said, in part, "We are the spring; we bring in fresh air to Polish politics."

In Brazil, Caio Santos de Oliveira confessed to murdered transgender woman Quelly da Silva after having sex with her, LGBTQ Nation reported. He allegedly was intimate with da Silva—and the next day ripped her chest open and pulled out her heart. He also stole her phone. He told authorities that da Silva was a demon and led them to the woman's body; authorities were also able to recover the victim's heart. Santos de Oliveira remains in jail to face charges of robbery and homicide.

In India, thousands of people in Mumbai took to the streets to celebrate the first Mumbai Pride since homosexuality was decriminalized last year, PinkNews noted. Photos shared on social media of the event showed huge numbers of people taking to the streets to celebrate the LGBT+ community. Parmesh Shahani, head of India Culture Lab, said that more than 15,000 people attended.

LGBT activists say they filed a complaint demanding Russian authorities open a criminal investigation into the alleged detention and torture of people as part of a suspected anti-gay campaign by security forces in the Russian republic of Chechnya, ABC News reported. The LGBT Network, a St. Petersburg-based group, said in a statement it submitted the complaint to the Investigative Committee, Russia's equivalent of the FBI, asking it to probe the alleged detention of at least 14 people, as well as torture and at least one murder. Recently, the LGBT Network claimed at least 40 people were detained and two killed in what they fear is a renewal of a campaign of persecution in Chechnya that in 2017 saw dozens of gay men rounded up and brutally tortured.

Victoria is set to become the first state in Australia to introduce a ban on conversion therapy, according to PinkNews. Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, made the announcement at Midsumma Pride in St. Kilda. Andrews—who has held the post since 2014 and is a member of the Labour Party—intends to introduce the ban after an extensive investigation was completed by the health complaints commissioner.

In Britain, two gay men have just become the first married gay couple to own a professional sports club, according to an Instinct magazine item that cites ITV. Ryan O'Neill and Kaue Garcia, who run a tech company, have bought a major stake in the Keighley Cougars rugby team. O'Neill has personal history with the team through his father Mick, who was once the head and owner of the club in the 1990s.

The IGLTA, or International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, has announced new speakers for its Global Convention, taking place April 24-27 in New York City, a press release noted. They include Mara Keisling, founder/executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, who will address the needs of transgender travelers; Women in Business session leader Kristin Hansen, CEO/founder of Hansen&Partner, and the ELLA International Lesbian Festival; and Kenneth Kwok, founder of Global Citizen Capital and co-founder of Better Together, bringing a unique perspective on LGBTQ+ markets in Asia. See

Primary school parents have been protesting over their children being taught about LGBT rights and homophobia, noted. Some parents at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham claim the teachings contradict the Islamic faith. The school said it aimed to educate children so they were able to accept differences in society.

In Britain, a university chaplain has thanked other Christians for "loving me just as I am" after being named Stonewall's gay role model of the year, reported. Ray Vincent, associate chaplain at the University of South Wales, received the award for championing LGBT equality within the workplace.

United in their desire for an effective approach to fighting hate crimes against certain groups in Bulgarian society, the leaderships of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria "Shalom" and of the Central Israelite Religious Council and the founders of the Gays and Lesbians Accepted in Society ( GLAS ) Foundation held talks Jan. 31, The Sofia Globe reported. The talks involved Shalom president Associate Professor Alexander Oscar; the head of the Central Israelite Religious Council, Sofia Cohen; and the founders of the GLAS Foundation, Simeon Vassilev and Dimitar Bogdanov.

French studio Gaumont said that its upcoming Celine Dion film will not be a biopic, but rather a fictional "homage" that draws heavily from the details of the singer's life and uses many of her hit songs, reported. The film—tentatively titled The Power of Love, which is the same name as one of Dion's songs—is directed by and stars Valerie Lemercier. She plays "Aline," a young woman whose life mirrors the real-life rise of Dion. The film will start lensing in March for 18 weeks in France, Spain, Canada and Las Vegas.

Out British singer/actor Will Young said he plans to report The Grand Tour to UK communications regulator Ofcom after Amazon Prime allegedly failed to respond to his accusation that the Jeremy Clarkson series perpetuates homophobic stereotypes, The Guardian reported. After being asked in a Jan. 25 episode if the Jeep Wrangler is very popular with the gay community, Clarkson responded, "What is it—lesbian, bacon, transgender?" Later in the episode, Richard Hammond suggests that Clarkson might want to pair his vehicle with "maybe some nice chaps, suede but ventilated at the back." A spokesperson for Stonewall said, "Jeremy Clarkson's 'jokes' about the LGBT community perpetuate archaic stereotypes."

Disney is hosting its first-ever official pride event to celebrate the LGBTQ community, as "Magical Pride" will take place at Disneyland Paris on June 1 to kick off Pride Month, CBS News reported. While unofficial Magical Pride events have taken place at the park since 2014, this is the first official pride event organized by Disney. Last year, Disney introduced rainbow Mickey ears at its parks; in 2007, the company opened Cinderella's Castle to same-sex weddings.

A popular Thai music act apologized amid a scandal sparked when one of its members wore a shirt showing the swastika flag of Nazi Germany during a performance, Times of Israel reported. The incident involving the girl group BNK48 occurred two days before International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Israel's embassy in Thailand posted a statement on Twitter expressing "shock and dismay over the Nazi outfit worn by the singer." The performer, 19-year-old Pichayapa "Namsai" Natha, blamed her own ignorance as she delivered a tearful apology and asked for forgiveness.

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