Jamie Barton in the Royal Albert Hall, London, for the Last Night of the Proms. (Twitter) Bisexual opera singer Jamie Barton stole the show at the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms, waving a rainbow Pride flag during a rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’.
Barton, a US mezzo-soprano who is a self-professed “queer girl with a nose ring”, took to the stage waving a Pride flag – and her dress also reflected the lavender, pink and blue colours of the bisexual flag.
The bisexual flag-themed dress was “a statement of the pride in my community”, Barton said.
“We are witnessing something rather remarkable,” said BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawney. “That moment an audience falls in love with a singer.” Here’s the big moment when @jbartonmezzo entered into the flag-waving spirit of the Last Night of the Proms! #LNOP pic.twitter.com/7b3eUFVhUh
— BBC Proms (@bbcproms) September 14, 2019 “There was a wave of love and acceptance and appreciation,” observed conductor Sakari Omaro, following Barton’s performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall.
Barton, the 37-year-old star of the show, said she wanted to make “a very clear statement of Pride” at the 15 September Last Night of the Proms.
“It’s not only a very important thing to me personally, but it’s also something I think unifies the audience,” she said.
“It’s not just queer pride, it’s a connective celebration of people being exactly who they are and loving who they are. And I’m honoured to get to lead that.”
Barton told The Times that waving the rainbow flag was her idea.
“When I sat down with the BBC in October I told them, ‘You know, I can think of a flag that I can get behind. I’d really like to carry the Pride flag’,” she said .
Barton also sang the Wizard Of Oz classic, ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ – a gay anthem.
Barton came out as bisexual on Twitter on National Coming Out Day in 2014. She first rose to fame in the Cardiff’s 2013 Singer of the World competition.
Liverpool’s front three have 13 goals between them in the Premier League this season Problems? What problems?
Liverpool’s Premier League rivals may have hoped to have spotted a potential issue brewing at Anfield before the international break when Sadio Mane made a very public point of expressing his dissatisfaction with Mohamed Salah, when the Egyptian failed to pass to him during the 3-0 win at Burnley.
Manager Jurgen Klopp had already laughed off the row, while before Saturday’s 3-1 home victory over Newcastle, Salah had sent out the ultimate modern-day olive branch in the form of a meme of the pair hugging.
By full-time at Anfield, the only question surrounding Liverpool’s stellar front three is how any side in Europe can hope to keep them quiet.
Mane, Salah and Roberto Firmino all missed the Reds’ pre-season tour of the United States, and Firmino was playing for Brazil in Los Angeles in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
But it just doesn’t seem to matter. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane celebrated Liverpool’s second goal against Newcastle together Salah had been the quieter of Liverpool’s trident when he scored the third goal on Saturday, collecting a fine backheel from Firmino, driving past Fabian Schar and burying a shot into the corner.
He has scored four goals already in the Premier League this season – taking his total to 58 in 79 for the Reds. He is not having a quiet season, but is Mane now eclipsing him?
Against Newcastle Mane was a menace, especially once he switched to the left of the front three after half an hour. His first goal was fantastic, taking a touch inside the area and flashing a drive into the top corner without hesitation.
Both forwards have scored 26 times in the league since the start of last season, with Mane’s goals coming more frequently, at a rate of one every 132 minutes to Salah’s 142.
But interestingly, considering Mane’s complaints, Salah offers far more to the team in terms of assists – with the Egypt international having set up 10 league goals since the start of the 2018-19 campaign compared with Mane’s two.
Mane has made more chances for Salah in the same time period though – 23 to 17.
One thing is for sure, they both love playing at Anfield.
Mane has never lost a Premier League home game in which he has found the net, winning 33 and drawing two of his previous 35 games when doing so.
And Salah has been directly involved in 50 league goals for Liverpool at Anfield, scoring 36 and providing 14 assists in 41 appearances.
As a pair, the two don’t tend to gel all that well. Only one pass was played between them – from Mane to Salah – on Saturday. They need a link man in the middle. Luckily they have a brilliant one. Firmino adds to Klopp’s armoury
Roberto Firmino is likely to feature as Liverpool begin their Champions League campaign at Napoli on Tuesday Firmino played an hour as Brazil were beaten by Peru in the United States little more than 72 hours before Saturday’s 12:30 BST kick-off at Anfield.
Anyone who has recently completed a long-haul transatlantic flight can attest to what it takes out of you, so it was no real surprise the 27-year-old was handed a break against Steve Bruce’s side.
That was the plan anyway. But Champions League hero Divock Origi only lasted 36 minutes before coming off with an ankle injury, with Firmino then coming on between his two team-mates.
The impact was both immediate and long-lasting. Firmino robbed Christian Atsu of the ball, looked up and played Mane in for his second goal. Clinical.
After the break, Firmino was playing a different game to the Magpies defenders. With flicks and backheels, he pulled them apart and could have ended the day with four or five assists.
He finished the match with four key passes and only an offside flag prevented him from laying on Mane for a hat-trick after another flowing move.
"It was my idea to start Sadio in the centre and Divock on the wing, but it didn’t really work," Klopp said afterwards.
"Bobby then came on in his natural position. We used Mo more often, had one-twos in the box, played balls into his feet and then we were in charge of the game. They were wonderful goals. Really sensational. Nice football." We scored wonderful goals – Liverpool boss Klopp Newcastle boss Bruce perhaps summed it up best when asked about the attacking options available to his counterpart.
"The introduction of Firmino, with his movement and the way he plays, was key," he said.
"The front three are as good as you get. You can understand why they are European champions and lost once last year.
"They are an excellent, excellent team with pace and creativity, and at the top end of the pitch they damage you."
Origi will go for a scan on his injured ankle, while Xherdan Shaqiri also came on for the last few minutes.
Premier League – you have been warned.
Seven million voters are expected to head to the ballot box Tunisia is set to hold its second free presidential poll since the 2011 uprising that toppled ex-president Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring.
It was brought forward from November after the death in July of Beji Caid Essebsi , the first democratically elected president, who took office in 2014.
Twenty-six candidates, including two women, are running in the election.
It is widely viewed as a test of one of the world’s youngest democracies. Tunisia: What you need to know
Obituary: The world’s oldest sitting president
Essebsi won Tunisia’s first free presidential elections in 2014 and was credited with largely maintaining stability in the country during his almost five-year rule.
At 92, he was the oldest sitting president in the world at the time of his death. Essebsi had previously confirmed that he was not planning to run for re-election.
Parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur is currently acting as interim president. How does the vote work?
A candidate needs a majority of votes to win the election. If no-one gets a majority in the first round, the two candidates with most votes will face a second, decisive round. Presidential candidates have held campaign events across the country The winning candidate will be appointed to office for a five-year term.
The constitution states that Tunisia’s president has control over defence, foreign policy and national security. The prime minister, chosen by parliament, is responsible for other portfolios.
Parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in October. Why is this election significant?
The country has won praise as the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring uprisings that began in Tunisia, before spreading across the Middle East and North Africa.
In what was hailed as a sign of its successful democratic transition, Tunisia this month held its first-ever televised debate of presidential candidates. The campaign period featured the first ever televised debate of presidential candidates However, it has not all been smooth sailing. In recent years, the country has suffered attacks by Islamists and economic problems, with unemployment a persistent issue
In 2018, protesters across the country took to the streets to oppose the government’s austerity measures.
Prime Minister Youssef Chahed told Reuters news agency that economic opportunities must improve "if Tunisia is to join the club of strong democracy". The revolution that didn’t deliver for women
Arab uprisings: Which country could be next?
How did we get here?
Tunisia is the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Widespread discontent at economic hardship, decades of autocratic rule and corruption erupted into mass demonstrations in December 2010 after a street vendor set himself on fire when officials confiscated his cart.
The unrest led to the ousting in 2011 of President Ben Ali, who had been in power for 23 years.
Three years later, Tunisia’s parliament approved a new constitution , which detailed how the new democracy would be run.
The text was hailed by the United Nations as a "historic milestone" . Significant aspects included the recognition of equality between men and women, guaranteeing personal freedoms and splitting power between the president and prime minister.
Men and women who left gay and transgender lives march to the White House with the Freedom March on May 5, 2018. Today, former homosexuals and transgender individuals will gather for a Freedom March in Orlando, Florida to tell their stories of finding freedom in Christ. To a nation engulfed in the sexual revolution, their stories are both inspirational and counter-cultural.
Last year, they marched in California to counter AB 2943 – a bill that would have made it illegal to sell counseling services, conferences, and potentially even books that help people voluntarily overcome unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria. Tens of thousands of Californians called, emailed, and lobbied their state legislators to stop AB 2943 from becoming law. At the eleventh hour, the bill sponsor pulled the bill from consideration.
However, activist legislators in California are at it again. On September 4, the California Senate passed Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99 (or ACR 99) by a vote of 29 to 7 . This resolution calls on the state’s religious leaders to “counsel on LGBT matters from a place of love, compassion, and knowledge of the psychological and other harms of conversion therapy.”
This resolution is an abuse of state power and represents a threat to religious liberty. Although the resolution is non-binding, its intent is to paint those belonging to religious traditions that hold orthodox beliefs on sexuality as not only outdated but dangerous.
Through ACR 99, California legislators have officially communicated to their religious citizens that orthodox beliefs on marriage and sexuality are so beyond the pale that they deserve moral censure. Moreover, the legislature has made an explicitly theological claim that contradicts the Bible—namely, that homosexuality is immutable and can’t be overcome.
Clearly, the assumption of the legislators is that the Bible does not provide a loving message for those who want to leave the LGBT lifestyle. By claiming that attempts to change someone’s sexual orientation are “ineffective, unethical, and harmful,” legislators, consciously or unconsciously, are making the claim that the gospel is inherently unloving.
The Bible is clear on these issues (Rom 1:26-28, 1 Tim 1:10-11, Lev 18:22, 20:13, Gen 19:1-5). The Bible is also clear that that change is possible. Consider 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 where Paul writes, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”
In these verses Paul condemns his readers as unfit for the kingdom of God because of their sin. However, he does not conclude with condemnation. Rather, he finishes the passage by underscoring the transformative power of the gospel: “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” A powerful example of someone who was radically changed by the gospel is Jim Pocta, who recently wrote about his experience in the LGBT community before his conversion. Jim is now a biblical counselor and an elder at his church.
Paul teaches us that change is possible through the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the hope that Christ offers the world—redemption, freedom and reconciliation with God. For those with unwanted addictions and temptations, the church offers a message of love. And for congregants struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction who desire to align their lifestyle with the sexual ethic taught by their faith, this is the affirming message they have come to expect from their pastors.
But if California legislators have their way, they will eventually ban counseling for adults with unwanted same-sex attraction, as they already have for minors. Already, with the passage of ACR 99, the official position of the state is that the biblical view of sin as it relates to sexuality and sex is morally wrong. ACR 99 relies on conflating biblical counseling and “conversion therapy,” which is defined broadly enough that it could include simple conversations between pastors and congregants.
Ironically, progressives usually sermonize more aggressively about the separation of church and state. However, ACR 99 demands pastors deny the Bible’s message for the state’s. As 1 Corinthians explains, all sin, including homosexuality, can be overcome through the power of the gospel. California politicians are not competent to tell churches what is and is not sin. Moreover, it is completely inappropriate for legislators to call upon religious leaders to counsel in a way that violates their religious teachings.
With every corner of the culture inundated by the sexual revolution, the church is the last bastion of truth regarding biblical sex, sexuality, and marriage. If the church won’t stand up for those who have found healing and redemption in Christ – like the CHANGED movement and the Freedom March – then who will?
Matt Carpenter is the Deputy Director of State and Local Affairs at Family Research Council, and David Closson is the Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview at the Family Research Council.
Photo by Niall Carson/PA Images via Getty Images On Thursday, Jesuit priest and editor at large of America Magazine James Martin sent out a tweet about homosexuals not feeling welcome in the Catholic church: Many #LGBT Catholics still feel unwelcome in their own church. But good news: More parishes are now trying to make LGBT Catholics feel at home. Here, one parishioner talks about the welcome that he, his husband, and their son found at Holy Trinity in DC. https://t.co/mWB85e7UVt — James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) September 12, 2019 Many #LGBT Catholics still feel unwelcome in their own church. But good news: More parishes are now trying to make LGBT Catholics feel at home. Here, one parishioner talks about the welcome that he, his husband, and their son found at Holy Trinity in DC. In a video attached to the tweet, a man named Joe speaks about his experience at Holy Trinity in Washington D.C., and how he struggled with the church as society moved one way, and the church did not.
Joe spoke with Judith Brusseau, head of faith formation & religious education at Holy Trinity, and she said: In some respects, we’re a last-resort Church before people really throw in the towel and say, "I’m not gonna have anything to do with this." So, when someone comes and says, you know, "I want to be here," as someone who works in the field for Christ, you have to say, "You’re welcome. You belong here," and I really feel that. Joe added that Brusseau said: "Please show up. We need you. If you don’t show up, we are never gonna change. This is your Church."
Joe concluded: Every time that I had a moment of doubt, I feel like, you know, God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit put the words in somebody’s mouth to reassure me that I belong. All of us in some way probably feel marginalized no matter what our experience is – it doesn’t have to be gay; it could be lots of things. And I think at this church, they talk about that, they accept that, they explore that, and they welcome that. And I actually believe most Catholics share that view. Somewhere in them they hear the words of Christ: "Love your fellow man." Christ loved people and welcomed people who were marginalized, and celebrated them. I think this church and that teaching is deep, and is strong, and broader than most people think. Among the replies to Martin’s tweet of this video were those who were disappointed that a priest would advocate for the acceptance of views that are clearly anti-biblical: You don’t love these people. They are merely pawns for your self aggrandizement. If you loved them you would tell them the truth about God’s Grace and it’s power to heal, instead you let them wallow in their sin and then celebrate it. You are perpetuating evil. — Robert (@rlj_robert) September 12, 2019 You don’t love these people. They are merely pawns for your self aggrandizement. If you loved them you would tell them the truth about God’s Grace and it’s power to heal, instead you let them wallow in their sin and then celebrate it. You are perpetuating evil. Perhaps the best thing now is that you should stand down/resign from the priesthood, since in advocating this you show utter contempt for it, for holiness and the supernatural origins of the order of marriage, whilst parading sin as a good. I realize that people can have same-sex attraction and be Catholic. However, they must follow Church teaching and live a celibate and chaste life. To suggest otherwise is simply against Church teaching & false. I will pray for our brothers and sisters w/same-sex attraction. The New Testament is rather clear when it comes to homosexual conduct:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states: "Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
1 Timothy 1:9-11 states: "We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me."
Romans 1:26-27 states: "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error."
There are numerous other examples of scripture condemning homosexual behavior, and as a priest, Martin surely knows these verses well.
James Martin has more than 253,000 followers on Twitter and 582,000 followers on Facebook, and thus, has quite an influential platform to speak about what he believes.
HATE crime reports against LGBT people have almost tripled in four years, figures show.
Reports jumped from just 19 in 2013/14 to 55 in 2017/18. Across the region, reports more than doubled, according to statistics obtained by the BBC under freedom of information rules.
Phoenix Stewart, of Swindon and Wiltshire Pride, said: "It’s really difficult to see a story like this being published in 2019.
“Everyone should be able to walk down the street and hold the hand of the person they love without getting abuse. Everyone should be able to exist without the need of having to hide it through fear – we are all equal.”
He stressed the importance of reporting any incidents to police: “As difficult as it can feel to report a hate crime, it’s extremely important that the police know about it. If they aren’t aware of the incidents they can’t do anything about it.”
Tonight, BBC’s Inside Out programme will feature the story of one west of England mum who’s gay son was sent death threats.
Madeleine, who spoke on condition her surname was not featured, said her husband had been left covered in shattered glass when a brick was thrown through the window of their home.
She told TV cameras: “We had a letter a couple of days later saying whoever it is going to kill all of us and the dogs.
“Then we had the most recent letter which was a homophobic death threat.
“It was horrible. Really. really horrible."
LGBT hate crime is notoriously underreported, with charity Stonewall estimating that four in five crimes are not logged with the police.
But Johanna Jenkins, a support worker at LGBT Bristol, told the BBC numbers were on the up: “These days I have a lot more referrals. Whether this is because people are reporting more or if there’s more I really don’t know.
“All I do know is that the cases that I’m working on at the moment are far more aggressive than the ones that I had two years ago which is very sad."
In February, Wiltshire Police issued a witness appeal after a pair of thugs attacked a 24-year-old man in the early hours in Swindon town centre. The yobs had chased their victim and his friend after making homophobic comments.
Last year, Wiltshire Police’s force lead on hate crime, Supt David Minty, said public education was key to tackling the scourge: "For those affected, hate crime is a hugely distressing experience and is completely unacceptable.”
Inside Out is on BBC1 West tonight at 7.30pm.
California State Capitol building with state flag in Sacramento on a windy summer day with clear sky. The California Legislature has passed a resolution blaming religious leaders and groups that support sexual orientation change efforts therapies for the suicides and attempted suicides of those who identify as LGBT.
In a party-line vote last week , the state Senate approved Assembly Concurrent Resolution 99, which demands that people of faith in the state change their approach to ministering to same-sex attracted men and women and others who identify as LGBT.
The resolution, though nonbinding, was sponsored by Democratic state Assemblyman Evan Low of San Jose. The text of ACR-99 criticizes pastors, counselors, and other religious ministers helping those who are struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion. The resolution calls religious views about sexual ethics that do not affirm LGBT identities “stigmatizing beliefs” that contribute to depression and suicide.
The measure comes just over a year after AB 2943, legislation also brought forward by Low, would have categorized such counseling options as "consumer fraud." The legislation had been approved by both chambers and was headed to the governor’s desk for signature before Low ultimately withdrew it amid public outcry.
Since ACR-99 is a resolution, it requires no signature from the governor.
Supporters of the resolution assert that religious liberty does not apply here as it amounts to discrimination. They also argue that such counseling from faith-based groups is "psychological torture" and "mental health malpractice."
"Until recently, the interpretation of the First Amendment was that one religion could not impose itself on other religions,” said Democratic state Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson of Santa Barbara. That “one should have religious freedom to discriminate against others is a relatively new concept,” she added.
Legislators who voted against the measure highlighted its encroachment on First Amendment rights.
Republican state Sen. Andreas Borgeas of Fresno said that while the resolution does not have the force of law behind it, “we are treading into freedom of speech territory that I think should concern all of us."
"When an individual seeks therapy or guidance before a religious leader, whether it be a mosque, a temple, or a church, that’s a private setting. … To disallow or create the pathway where we tell individuals they cannot say certain things should give us pause,” he said.
In a Thursday interview with The Epoch Times, Greg Burt of the California Family Council echoed similar concerns.
‘“We believe in free speech. They [the legislators] have every right to criticize our position, but the state government does not have the right to use its power to coerce us to change. And that’s where we believe this resolution is heading,” he said.
The passage of the California resolution occurred just before the city council in New York City announced that it’s moving to scrap its ban on the kinds of counseling the West Coast state sought to outlaw last year, after the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit in January, challenging its constitutionality on First Amendment grounds.
The city council, though decidedly in favor of the ban, moved to repeal it believing that it would not withstand court challenges and be rejected as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Oct. 8 in three cases on whether gay and transgender people are covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex as well as race, color, national origin and religion.
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An invasive plant that has destroyed crops in Senegal is now being used to produce clean energy
Cyclists Ron Rutland and James Owens start the final leg of their journey from Twickenham to Tokyo to deliver Rugby World Cup whistle
Devi Apriliyani is a 20 year-old stunt driver tackling stereotypes alongside the ”Wall of Death”, in Indonesia’s conservative Aceh province
A fully autonomous car is about to begin a 230 mile road trip around the UK, testing its ability to cope with the most complex routes
For the first time in nearly 360 years, a compass at Greenwich, the site of the prime meridian or zero degrees east or west on all maps, will finally point to true north as it and magnetic north converge
An invasive plant that has destroyed crops in Senegal is now being used to produce clean energy
Cyclists Ron Rutland and James Owens start the final leg of their journey from Twickenham to Tokyo to deliver Rugby World Cup whistle
Philip Lee joined the party earlier this month Lib Dem Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael has said the party was "not deaf" to the concerns of LGBT members – despite admitting an MP who tried to ban HIV positive immigrants from entering the UK.
LGBT+ members hammered the party’s leadership on the first day of their autumn conference over the decision to let former Tory MP Philip Lee join.
Dr Lee dramatically defected to the Lib Dems during a speech by Boris Johnson last week, costing the government its majority ahead of a crucial Brexit vote.
But some members were left furious by the decision – pointing an amendment tabled the Immigration Bill by Dr Lee in 2014.
That amendment would have seen immigrants tested for “prescribed pathogens” including HIV before getting immigration permission. Alistair Carmichael defended the decision – and the process “Persons who apply for immigration permission must demonstrate that they are not carriers,” the proposed law text drawn up by the MP read.
At the time Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert described the proposal as “rather astonishing".
Members asked party chiefs to assure them "with a straight face" that the Bracknell MP, who also previously abstained on a vote on equal marriage, would have "joined the party in a million years if Brexit was not a factor".
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Alistair Carmichael said he was "desperately sad" that some LGBT+ members left the party, but defended the process for recruiting potential defectors.
The Orkney and Shetland MP told the conference the party "had detailed discussions" about any defectors political and personal pasts.
Mr Carmichael praised Dr Lee’s work reforming Britain’s Justice system as a government minister – saying it pointed to his liberal beliefs.
He added: "It is only after that we decide – the chief whip in consultation with the leader – if we will admit them to the whip.
"Could we have handled it better? Hands up we absolutely could."
Since joining Dr Lee has said he will this week meet with LGBT party members at their conference in Bournemouth.
Mr Carmichael added that he would never admit anyone who was had questionable positions on equality into the party.
He admitted that he had been concerned about reported comments by a recent defector which concerned BAME members.
It is understood to be a reference to ex-Labour MP Angela Smith’s “funny tinge” comments.
He confirmed the MP had only been allowed to join after being given a "clean bill of health" by the party’s leading BAME activists.
Mr Carmichael also confirmed that the party had declined applications from MPs to defect.
He added: "It is not about if I agree with them…very often I don’t.
"The question I need to answer is if that person in reaching the position they did, usually for a values reason, reached a position that was incompatible with our beliefs as Liberal Democrats .
"We don’t just take anyone, and we never will."
A man holds a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride Parade on August 2, 2014, in Stockholm, Sweden. © Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP The town of Solvesborg in southeastern Sweden has voted to stop hoisting the rainbow-colored flag on the city hall every August during Stockholm Pride, the annual LGBT-themed festival held in the nation’s capital. From now on, only local and national flags are allowed on public buildings.
The idea of flying the Pride colors was introduced in 2013, when the city council was led by the center-left Social Democrats. But now the city is controlled by conservative Swedish Democrats (SD) and three other right-leaning parties, who decided to revise the local flag code.
“Tradition is important to us, and I know many of our older residents share this view,” Mayor Louise Erixon (SD) explained the move to discard the Pride flag.
Not everyone is happy with the new flag policy, though. Politician and LGBT-themed event organizer Sophia Ahlin scolded her colleagues in the Moderate Party who sided with SD against the Pride Flag. “Their decision goes completely against what the Moderates stand for in terms of equality of all people,” she argued.
Having legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, Sweden is considered to be a largely liberal and LGBTQ-friendly country. However, Solvesborg with its population of around 9,000 is often described in the media as an example of conservatism becoming more popular in Sweden’s countryside. The leader of the Swedish Democrats, Jimmie Akesson, grew up in the town, while mayor Erixon is his partner. He wrote in an Instagram post that no flags of political significance would be hoisted on city hall.
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