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WORLD Tanzania turmoil, Greek activist, golf player comes out
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times

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Tanzania's government says it's facing a difficult financial time after donors pulled funding over its treatment of the gay community—but it says it won't back down, NBC News reported. Finance Minister Philip Mpango told officials that many donors have encouraged Tanzania to tolerate homosexuality as a condition for aid, but he said "there is no way" the country can comply. Some donors pulled aid or threatened to do so after the commissioner for the commercial capital, Dar es Salaam, urged Tanzanians to "report" suspected LGBT people.

In Greece, four police officers charged with causing fatal bodily harm in connection with the death of LGBTQ activist Zak Kostopoulos in September were released ahead of their trial, after completing their testimonies before an investigative magistrate, reported. The policemen have all denied the charge, claiming they never beat Kostopoulos and that they were only performing their duty to detain what they were told at the time was a robber—even though a video disputes that claim. Kostopoulos was killed after he entered the store in downtown Athens and was attacked by the business' owner and another man who allegedly mistook him for a robber.

British professional women's golf player Melissa "Mel" Reid has come out as lesbian, noted. Reid has played in three Solheim Cup competitions as a member of Team Europe, she's a six-time Ladies European Tour winner, and is a champion for gender equality in sport. She told Athlete Ally ( in an interview posted on its website ), "Ultimately, I feel like I'm on a platform where I can have some sort of an influence. It's just important to say to people that this is who I am. Hopefully it will help a couple of young girls or guys."

India's transgender community said a proposed law aimed at protecting its rights could leave the marginalized population more vulnerable to abuse, and urged lawmakers to review the bill, noted. Critics say the bill has many problems, including denying the right of people to self-identify their gender. Instead, it proposes that a "screening committee" of experts issue identity certificates to individuals—which activists say could leave transgender people susceptible to abuse.

About 40 same-sex couples got married in Sao Paulo, Brazil, recently, tying the knot partly out of fear that the new administration of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro could restrict same-sex marriage, The Washington Post noted. Dozens of people exchanged vows during a collective ceremony held at Casa1, an NGO that provides support to disadvantaged LGBT youth. In an interview with Playboy magazine in December 2011, Bolsonaro said that he "would be incapable of loving a homosexual son." Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since May 2013.

A religious group in Israel has launched a new anti-LGBT+ campaign that brands same-sex love as "poison" and advocates for conversion therapy, PinkNews reported. The campaign—launched by the Movement for Strengthening Family Values—is spreading information that says gay people should not be allowed to be parents. The materials also say that sexual orientation "can change," according to Israeli news website .

Cuba's government said that language promoting the legalization of same-sex marriage will be removed from the draft of a new constitution after evangelical churches and lay citizens rejected the idea, a Business Insider item noted. Gay-rights advocates had proposed eliminating the description of marriage as a union of a man and woman, changing it to the union of "two people ... with absolutely equal rights and obligations." On Facebook, LGBTQ-rights advocate Marisol Castro Espin said, "The new formula sustains the essence of the previously proposed article ( 68 ), since it erases the binarism of gender and heteronormativity with which marriage was defined in the 1976 Constitution. ... There is no setback, the essence of Article 68 is maintained, the struggle continues, now let's give the YES to the Constitution and then close ranks to achieve a Family Code as advanced as the new constitutional text," as related by journalist Rex Wockner.

The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation announced a partnership with Presente—Peru's largest LGBT advocacy group—to promote LGBT inclusion across workplaces in Peru, a press release noted. HRC joined Presente and corporate partners in Lima to honor for the first-time major employers, including American Airlines, Atento, Scotiabank, WeWork and Techo Peru, for their growing commitment to greater LGBT equality and inclusion for workers across the country.

An Australian man was sentenced to 20 months in jail after impersonating a police officer and extorting money from a man he met on Grindr, Queerty noted. Jayson Hastie, 25, lured an older man he met via the gay dating app using the alias "Alex." An accomplice of Hastie initially greeted the victim at their second planned meeting before Hastie arrived and declared himself a police officer. He then forced the victim to withdraw AUS$2,000 ( roughly $1,400 USD ) from an ATM and to agree to weekly payments in order to keep the incident quiet.

In Northern Ireland, Ards Town Hall will be illuminated in rainbow colors to mark LGBT Awareness Week in May after a second vote overturned a previous decision at Ards and North Down Council, the BBC reported. ( The vote was 19-18. ) Alliance Party councillor Andrew Muir said it was a "close vote" but that he hoped the council could now move forward.

In England, the Middlesbrough Council panel has decided to refer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community as "LGB&T," noted. As opposed to the standard "LGBT," the panel said it wanted to differentiate between sexual orientation and gender identity. Teesside charity TransAware Ellie Lowther said the move was a "massive stride forward."

Also in Middlesbrough, Mitesh Patel is going to jail or life with a minimum of 30 years for the murder of his wife, Instinct Magazine noted. The Middlesbrough, England, resident says that on May 14, he popped out of is house to go buy a pizza. When he returned, he found his wife, Jessica Patel, motionless in the living room and the house was allegedly ransacked. Police investigations uncovered no evidence of forced entry—and discovered a photo of Mitesh with another man as well as Grindr conversations with an Australian doctor; authorities also found Mitesh's DNA underneath his wife's fingernails.

The Irish Examiner reported that, although Irish activist Michael Collins was engaged to Kitty Kiernan at the time he was killed ( in 1922, at age 31 ), there is still speculation about his sexuality. History lecturers Anne Dolan and William Murphy state in their new book—Michael Collins: The Man and the Revolution—that gay activist David Norris intimated that Collins was gay as well. Norris wrote in his autobiography that an elderly man told him one night about being a boyfriend of Collins more than 50 years earlier—which an eminent historian reportedly confirmed was known in certain Republican circles.

Breaking Glass Pictures has acquired North American rights to the mystery thriller Naples in Veils, a press release noted. The movie held its world premiere at the Moscow Film Festival, where it took home the Best Actress Prize for star Giovanna Mezzogiorno, and went on to a run including the Chicago International Film Festival; Seattle International Film Festival; David di Donatello 2018, where it won Best Production Design and Best Cinematography; and Filmfest München for a spotlight feature.

Singer Rita Ora and actor Idris Elba spread some holiday cheer to children in a London hospital, noted. The celebrities stopped by several hospitals for surprise visits Dec. 21—even dressing like Santa Claus. Ora captioned some Instagram pics, "[Thank] you Father Christmas @idriselba for inviting me along to visit some very special children and nurses and doctors today at the hospitals best surprises ever! Until next year!!! Special thanks to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and Evelina Children's Hospital."

LGBT Australian singer/actor Troye Sivan was nominated for a Golden Globe for best original song in a motion picture, for his track "Revelation" from Boy Erased, Billboard noted. Sivan tweeted, "Promise I'll say something eloquent and sweet about it soon but for now what the f—k!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The song is a collaboration between Sivan and JÃ"nsi of Sigur Ros, and was written for a specific scene in the film.

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