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World news: 'Queer Heritage,' Croatian protest, Brazil's Carnival
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2017-02-28

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Activists planted unofficial "Queer Heritage" plaques on the House of Lords and other landmarks, Evening Standard reported. Four women put up the blue plaque to commemorate lesbian activists who caused an uproar by entering the chamber in 1988 in a protest against Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which banned local authorities from "promoting homosexuality." The plaques are modeled on English Heritages, which mark the homes of notable people. Another was placed at Soho's Admiral Duncan gay pub, where three people died in a neo-Nazi bombing in 1999.

In Croatia, approximately 1,000 people protested in Zagreb, calling for tolerance after unknown attackers released tear gas in a nightclub hosting a gay party, Yahoo! News noted. The incident sparked a panic at the Super Super club in staunchly Catholic Croatia's capital, with some of the 300 revellers smashing windows as they tried to escape. Two people were slightly injured, police said.

Brazil's Carnival is becoming more politically correct, NBC News reported. A growing number of "blocos"—which Brazilians use to refer to Carnival street parties, as well as the singing and dancing groups that organize them—are defying tradition and refusing to play a handful of songs that have lyrics considered sexist, homophobic or racist. People behind the blocos that are tweaking offensive lyrics or dropping songs from their repertoire say that Carnival shouldn't make anyone uncomfortable.

Malta may introduce same-sex marriage this year, Gay Star News reported. Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs, and Civil Liberties Helena Dalli made the announcement at a conference organized by Drachma, an organization for LGBTI Christians. If the law passes, Malta will be the 23rd country in the world, and the 13th in Europe, to legalize full marriage equality.

A new study found that there was no difference in child outcomes among Dutch same-sex and different-sex parent families, a Williams Institute press release noted. Based upon a nationally representative sample from the Netherlands, the study compared same-sex and different-sex parent households on children's psychological well-being, parenting stress, and the parents' use of informal and formal support in child rearing. The study, "A Population-based Comparison of Female and Male Same-Sex Parent and Different-Sex Parent Households," is at https://www.nllfs.org/images/uploads/bos-et-al-2017-family-process.pdf.

London police are appealing to the public for information after racist and homophobic graffiti was spray-painted on an east-end high school, Lifesite reported. Staff and students at B. Davison secondary school—formally known as Thames secondary school—arrived at the Trafalgar Street building to find the front doors vandalized with messages disparaging Arabs and gay people. The incident came fewer than two weeks after anti-Semitic pamphlets were passed out at Western University, prompting campus police to investigate.

The Danish Soccer Players' Association has launched a campaign it hopes will combat homophobia in soccer and bring awareness to the support LGBT people have in the sport, Outsports noted. Some of the country's biggest soccer stars are participating in the campaign, which will feature a visibility component that includes rainbow-colored armbands and rainbow shoe laces. The players' association is also setting up a hotline for people to report homophobia.

The head of Italy's anti-discrimination office has resigned in the wake of accusations that government funds meant to promote diversity projects and tackle racism had been earmarked for gay-sex clubs masquerading as cultural centers, Euronews noted. Francesco Spano quit just hours after an investigative TV program showed his department had authorized funding of up to 55,000 euros ( about $ 58,065 ) each for at least three such clubs. Centre-right leader Giorgia Meloni said the anti-discrimination office should be shut immediately.

On a related note, a Catholic priest in Italy has been suspended because he organized gay sex parties, Gay Star News noted. The Archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, officially suspended the parish priest of the Santa Maria degli Angeli parish. The priest now faces accusations of organizing gay sex parties, after the cardinal received an anonymous tip.

A Canadian man was blocked from entering the United States after a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer read his profiles on the gay hookup app Scruff and the website BBRT, a community for men looking to hook up with other men, according to a Huffington Post item that cites The Daily Xtra. Andre ( who declined to give his last name ) claimed that a border officer took his phone and computer, and demanded the passwords for his devices. As he was going through customs preclearance at Vancouver International Airport last October, he was selected for secondary inspection; Andre described the following experience as "humiliating."

While newcomer Emmanuel Marcon, who claims to be neither right-wing nor left-wing, is far ahead in the Hornet poll of more than 3,200 gay men in France ( at 38 percent ), right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen finished in second with 19.2 percent of the vote, Unicorn Booty noted. Le Pen is a candidate of the National Front, a party that is a fierce opponent of equal rights, and advocates the dissolution of same-sex marriage, among other things.

The 2017 BRIT Awards remembered George Michael's legacy with a pair of tributes as the singer's Wham! bandmates saluted Michael before Coldplay's Chris Martin performed his 1986 song "A Different Corner," Rolling Stone noted. Michael's Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley and the duo's backing singers Pepsi & Shirlie eulogized the singer. Following the tribute, Coldplay's Chris Martin took the BRIT Awards stage to sing "Corner."

Gay porn star Max Schutler has died at the age of 35, Attitude reported. The adult actor, whose real name was Jorge Schmeda, started his career in the porn industry in 2007, working with companies like Lucas Entertainment, Jet Set Men and Raging Stallion. Schmeder was crowned the winner of the Mr. Gay Argentina competition in 2008, but was told to withdraw from the International Mr Gay competition after organizers discovered his work in porn. He worked in the gay porn industry until 2011, before making a brief reappearance in several titles for Lucas Entertainment.

Canadian LGBT-media group Pink Triangle Press ( PTP ) has appointed David Walberg as its executive director, a press release noted. Walberg has worked at PTP for more than 25 years, and is currently its digital chief executive. Also, as publisher and editor-in-chief, Walberg led the flagship paper Xtra.


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