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World news: New trial, 'The Boy & The Bindi,' transgender singer
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2016-11-08

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The Ontario Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for a gay man convicted of sexual assault, because the jury foreman was a Toronto radio producer who went on air to talk disparagingly about homosexuality, The Globe and Mail reported. In a two-to-one decision, justices Mary Lou Benotto and Michael Tulloch ruled that the behavior of the juror—Derek Welsman, who worked for a now-defunct show hosted by veteran shock jock Dean Blundell—"created a reasonable apprehension of bias such that a new trial should be ordered." The third magistrate on the appellate panel, Justice David Doherty, didn't think Welsman's remarks were grounds to allow the appeal; however, he, too, ordered a new trial because he deemed that the trial judge hadn't properly instructed the jury.

A new picture book is creating space in the world of children's literature for South Asian kids who don't ascribe to traditional notions of gender expression, The Huffington Post noted. The Boy & The Bindi tells the story of a young boy who becomes fascinated with his mother's bindi—a dot worn by South Asian women on their foreheads that has religious and marital roots, but is commonly worn as an accessory. Author Vivek Shraya told The Huffington Post that while there is a growing market for books that feature the lives and stories of gender-creative kids, few of these cater to the experiences of brown children.

Jordan Gray, a former contestant on The Voice UK, released the music video for her song "Platinum"—and it made history by becoming the first mainstream music video to feature a romance between a transgender woman and cisgender man, NBC News noted. Gray is also the first trans contestant to be on any version of The Voice across the world; originally, she was not chosen by any of the coaches during the blind auditions, but after another contestant left the show for personal reasons, she was given a second chance to prove her stardom. "Platinum" will be out Nov. 25.

The archbishop of Mexico and leader of the most conservative sector, Norberto Rivera, apologized publicly for having used "abusive language" against what he called "men and women with same-sex attraction," The Yucatan Times reported. "I apologize if I didn't use the right words," he said. Meanwhile, during his visit to Mexico, the apostolic nuncio, Franco Coppola, said it is necessary to recognize gay rights as any other citizens' rights.

A gay Ugandan man has told how he was subjected to torturous anal examinations to prove his sexuality, in a country notorious for its violent homophobia, The Independent reported. The man, named only as Mukasa, claimed he was awakened by a mob banging spoons on metal cooking pots, while shouting "out with the homos" and "the homos are in there." The 21-year-old said he and his male friend were dragged out of his Kampala home and beaten.

In Australia, four persons—including a gay couple—were killed in a freak accident at the Dreamworld theme park in Gold Coast, Gay Star News reported. Luke Dorsett, 35, and his partner, Roozi Araghi, 38, were fatally injured when the park's Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned, causing the circular six-person raft the couple were in to overturn. Other victims who died include Dorsett's sister, Kate Goodchild, 32, and 42-year-old Cindy Low.

Also in Australia, Hengky Irawan—a 62-year-old man convicted of adding hydrochloric acid to a lube dispenser at a gay sex club in Sydney—avoided going to prison, NewNowNext noted. Although many believed he would end up going to prison, Irawan was recently handed a good behavior bond and let off scot-free when a court ruled that his attack was not an attempted hate crime. He was eventually charged with several offenses, including administering poison intended to injure or cause distress or pain, entering a building with intent to commit an offense and malicious damage. Irawan will now undergo specialized treatment with a general practitioner.

Germany's European commissioner apologized for offending China, gay people and French-speaking Belgians as the EU executive tried to end days of scandalized commentary that might have jeopardized trade, The Asahi Shimbun reported. Guenther Oettinger said in a statement released by the Commission that he now realized his remarks to a German business forum last week had "hurt" people. He had called Chinese people "slit-eyes," joked about "compulsory gay marriage" and railed at a Belgian region's efforts to block an EU-Canada trade deal.

An openly gay South African imam has set up a mosque in Cape Town as a "calm and open place" for LGBT Muslims to worship together, Towleroad noted. In 1996, Muhsin Hendricks founded The Inner Circle, a support group for LGBT Muslims living in Cape Town who felt rejected due to their sexual orientation. This led him to set up his mosque five years ago. Inner Circle worshiper Zaid Philander said, "There are a lot of lives being destroyed based on sexuality and religion, and that needs to change. Here they are the pioneers of this change, and this is a good place to start. I choose to be in a place where I can have a healthy relationship with God, and the Inner Circle gives me the freedom to be the person I am."

Indian filmmaker Leena Yadav has signed on to direct Secret Sky, the true and tragic love story between teenage boys in Iran, where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by the death penalty, The Business Standard reported. Carol Polakoff's Viewfinder Pictures and Daniel Dreifuss's Anima Pictures are developing the human-rights film based on a true story, reported The Hollywood Reporter. It follows the two teens as they are put in prison, go to trial and pay the price for their crimes; a female lawyer, inspired by a real person, attempts to fight for their freedom.

Rio de Janeiro recently elected an evangelical bishop as mayor, On Top Magazine noted. Sen. Marcelo Crivella took 59 percent of the vote in the municipal runoff election, easily beating his opponent, socialist state Rep. Marcelo Freixo. Crivella is opposed to the legal recognition of same-sex couples, but has said that he supports equal rights for gay men and lesbians.


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