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Anja Pärson: I’m gay and I’m going to be a mum

Swedish skiing legend Anja Pärson confirmed to radio listeners on Saturday that she has a girlfriend and that the couple are expecting a baby.

Anja Pärson: I'm gay and I'm going to be a mum

Pärson thereby ended years of rumours about her sexuality and became the latest Swedish sports star to go public.

“I am tired of being someone else and of playing a game. I owe it to myself and especially to Filippa to tell the truth,” Pärson said while hosting a programme on Sveriges Radio.

The 31-year-old Olympic champion, who ended her career and retired following the World Cup earlier this year in Schladming, Austria, has for years faced rumours about her personal life.

“The time of rumours is now over,” she said during the pre-recorded nearly 90-minute programme.

Pärson told listeners she had never thought she would fall in love with a woman, but that after she met Filippa, 39, in 2005 their friendship had gradually developed into something more.

“I had never intended to fall in love with a woman. Never thought that my heart could beat so fast for a woman. I was insanely in love,” she said.

She wrapped up the programme with another surprise announcement, admitting she had lied in interviews after her retirement when she told reporters she did not know what she would do going forward.

“I have known for almost nine months what I will do in the future. I am going to be a mother,” she said.

Pärson, who made her debut in 1988 at the World Cup in Switzerland, took 19 championship medals, 42 World Cup victories, and two overall World Cup titles in 2004 and 2005.

She also won six Olympic medals — slalom gold at the 2006 Turin Games, a giant slalom silver in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, and four bronzes (slalom in 2002, combined and downhill in 2006, and super-combined in 2010.)

Pärson’s revelation comes soon after Anton Hysén (son of former Liverpool legend Glenn) was heralded for becoming the first openly gay Swedish footballer, and former high-jumper Kajsa Bergqvist said that she was bisexual.

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Gay Sweden Democrat backs party’s Pride flag decision

The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats' most senior openly gap MP has defended party colleagues' decision to stop flying the rainbow gay pride flag outside a local city council headquarters.

Gay Sweden Democrat backs party's Pride flag decision
Christian Democrat leader Ebba Busch Thor took part in the Stockholm pride parade this August. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT
Bo Broman, who has himself several times attended Sweden's largest Pride parade in Stockholm, told The Local that the rainbow flag was “an important symbol, for me and for many others”. 
 
But he said he did not believe it was appropriate for any political symbol to be flown outside a public building. 
 
“I personally don't think that any political symbol or flag representing organisations, companies, football teams and so on belongs on public flagpoles,” he said. 
 
“No matter how inportant the issue is, public flagpoles should only carry the Swedish flag, the official flag for the municipality, flags from visiting countries and perhaps that of the EU or UN.” 
 
Bo Broman, who was previously the Sweden Democrats' financial chief, became an MP after the 2018 election. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
 
The city council in Solvesborg in the county of Blekinge voted on Thursday to no longer fly the rainbow flag on the flagpole outside its offices, where it has since 2013 been hoisted once a year to show support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people on the day of the pride parade in Stockholm. 
 
The vote has been widely criticised, with Filippa Reinfeldt, the   lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights spokesperson for the Moderate Party saying the backing the party's local wing gave to the decision was “inappropriate”.  
 
But Broman pointed out that Magnus Kolsjö, a former president of The Swedish federation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights (RFSL), had also backed Solversborg's decision. 
 
“We need to be able to keep the political, private and civil society on one side, and the state and municipality on the other,” Kolsjö, who is now a Christian Democrat politician, wrote on his blog on Sunday. 
 
“To hoist up a political symbol, even if it stands for values which many support, doesn't fit with the needs to maintain objectivity.” 
 
The council decision was pushed by the ruling four-party coalition of the Sweden Democrats, Moderates, Christian Democrats and the local SoL party.  
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