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WORLD Global Fund, Croatian case, Poland items, Hillsong
by Windy City Times staff
2021-01-17

This article shared 948 times since Sun Jan 17, 2021
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In 2020, the Global Fund signed 157 grants for a total of $8.54 billion for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programs and to strengthen systems for health—and this is the highest number of grants the program ever signed in a single year, a press release noted. The grants will begin implementation this month. The Global Fund has a total of $12.71 billion available in funding allocations for the three-year funding cycle that runs from 2020-22. Of these funds, the Global Fund had planned for $8.9 billion in grants to be approved in 2020, with the remaining funds scheduled for later start dates. Executive Director Peter Sands said, "As the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelms health systems around the world, it is now more important than ever that we ensure countries have the resources they need to fight HIV, TB and malaria and to strengthen the systems for health needed to respond to all four diseases."

The European Court of Human Rights found that the response of Croatian authorities to a hate crime against a lesbian was "particularly destructive of fundamental human rights," ILGA-Europe noted. In Sabalic v. Croatia, a woman alleged that the Croatian authorities' response to a violent homophobic attack against her had been inadequate. She had been attacked in a nightclub when she had refused a man's advances, disclosing to him that she was a lesbian. The man, known as M.M, severely beat and kicked her, while shouting "All of you should be killed!" and threatening to rape her. M.M. was convicted in misdemeanor proceedings of breach of public peace and order and fined 300 Croatian kunas (equivalent to $48 US). Although Croatia has hate-crime legislation and offenses based on sexual orientation are to be charged as an aggravated crime, it is generally disregarded and violent acts are considered minor offenses.

A Warsaw court dismissed a case taken by Polish LGBTQ activists against a politician who described Irish leader Leo Varadkar's sexuality as a "perversion," The Irish Times reported. In May 2018 Kaja Godek, a prominent pro-life campaigner in Poland, linked Ireland's recent abortion referendum result in Ireland to what she called the "bizarre" sexual orientation of then-taoiseach (and current Tanaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment) Varadkar who, she claimed, flaunted "his perversion to the people." In a hearing at Warsaw regional court, Judge Adam Mitkiwiecz said there was "no doubt" that Godek's remarks were to be assessed negatively; however, he saw no possibilities for the claimants (a group of 16 activists) to seek remedy under civil law and suggested they seek remedy "under other systems of law."

A new clause in EU funding rules could have Poland facing more financial restrictions if it continues attacking LGBT+ rights, PinkNews reported. After years of negotiations, the EU has agreed on a structural funds rulebook which lays out the legislation for the funds that make up almost a third of its future budget. It includes a crucial reference to respect for the European Charter of Fundamental Rights—meaning that countries who refuse to adhere to the principles of gender equality and anti-discrimination (such as Poland) could see their projects rejected for EU funding.

Three human-rights activists stood trial in Poland, charged with offending religious sentiment by adding the LGBT rainbow symbol to posters of a revered icon and publicly displaying the altered image, including on garbage bins and mobile toilets, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Before the trial, the women argued that the LGBTQ+ rainbow added to the halo of the Black Madonna and Baby Jesus icon was intended to protest what they said was the hostility of Poland's influential Catholic Church toward non-heterosexual minorities. The activists could face up to two years in prison if convicted on charges of offending religious sentiment and desecration of the icon of Mother of God of Czestochowa, popularly known as the Black Madonna of Czestochowa.

As pastors leave and former members continue to come forward with abuse allegations against megachurch Hillsong, co-founder Bobbie Houston's 2003 audiobook, Kingdom Women Love Sex, has come under fresh scrutiny, as have her and the church's allegedly entrenched sexist and homophobic beliefs, The New York Post reported. In the sex-advice guide, Houston also invokes a slur against the developmentally disabled in describing how women should be physically fit to attract men. Ian Keith said that during his time as a Hillsong member (2011-15), he witnessed the Australia-based church's deep-rooted homophobia, which leadership would often "write off as Australian humor."

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) issued a statement calling for the LGBT community in Uganda to be treated with respect and dignity at all times. In a recent media interview, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni described being LGBT as a "deviation." UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima responded, "Using offensive language that describes LGBT people as 'deviant' is simply wrong. Stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation violates rights and keeps people away from HIV testing, treatment, prevention and care services. The HIV epidemic can never end while some groups of people are excluded from health services."

About a year and a half since Iceland passed its gender-determination law, which allowed individuals to register their gender as non-binary, the national register has finally updated its systems and made that option available, Gay Star News reported. Prior to the 2019 legislation, there were only two gender options available: male or female. The new law means that Icelandic trans and non-binary individuals no longer have to go through invasive and lengthy medical processes to change their legally recognized gender.

A popular AI-driven chatbot in South Korea with the persona of a 20-year-old female student was taken down after it was accused of bigotry toward sexual minorities, the #MeToo movement and the disabled, The South China Morning Post reported. Lee Luda, developed by Seoul-based start-up Scatter Lab to operate within Facebook Messenger, became an instant sensation for her spontaneous and natural reactions. But the chatbot has been rapidly embroiled in a spate of allegations that it used hate speech towards women and ethnic minorities, triggering a controversy that eventually forced the developer to take it offline. In one of the captured chat shots, Luda said it "despised" gays and lesbians.

Russian artist and LGBT activist Yulia Tsvetkova was hit with pornography charges a fourth time over artwork aimed at ending stigmas around the female anatomy, The Moscow Times noted, citing the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper. Tsvetkova, 27, was first charged with distributing pornography online in June 2020 after sharing artwork of vulvas on the "Vagina Monologues" social media page she operates. The criminal charges carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

British TV mogul Russell T. Davies—who was behind the original Queer As Folk series and is the brain behind the miniseries It's a Sin, about the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in London—said he only wants to see gay actors in gay roles, out.com noted. "I'm not being woke about this," Davies told the Radio Times, "but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint. … They are not there to 'act gay' because 'acting gay' is a bunch of codes for a performance. It's about authenticity, the taste of 2020."

Speaking of It's a Sin, Olly Alexander recently told The Guardian about a very tough time in his life, according to out.com . Early on, he was the victim of bullying, particularly after coming to school wearing eyeliner. Once, after scoring a try in rugby at school, two popular boys congratulated him before tripping him up and "pushed my face into the mud," Alexander recounted. He also revealed that he struggled with eating disorders as a teen, writing that he wanted to be skinny in his diary; however, he added, "I was struggling with my sexuality, my parents were divorcing, and I wanted to punish myself."

Among the first books out about the late German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is a Flammarion tome by Sebastien Jondeau, his longtime bodyguard and personal assistant, WWD.com noted. French fashion journalist Virginie Mouzat—best known for her stints at Vanity Fair France and as Le Figaro's chief fashion critic—assisted Jondeau in writing the 220-page book and calls it "a story of fight, love, admiration and resilience." Several books are in the works about Lagerfeld, who died in February 2019 after an illustrious fashion career that turned him into a global icon.

Deutsche Bank will no longer do business with President Donald Trump—a move that will cut off his business from a major source of loans that once helped fund his golf courses and hotels, CNN Business reported. A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank (DB) declined to comment to CNN Business, citing a prohibition on discussing potential client relationships. The move is the latest example of corporate backlash against the president after his supporters vandalized the Capitol in a brazen assault that left five people dead.


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