What would you do if your life was at risk for being you?
As you will see in the map below, if you are LGBTQ in many countries around the world, this is your reality. Your life is at risk – not only from society, but also at the hands of government. As mentioned in the post yesterday, we still have long way to go in Canada on issues facing the LGBTQ community, but at least homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969 and same sex marriage has been legally recognized since 2005. (See the full Canadian timeline here.)
Thanks to these laws in Canada, and our immigration system, Canada becomes a beacon of hope for many LGBTQ needing to flee persecution in their countries — just for being themselves. If you know of someone in another country in this situation, there is the possibility to privately sponsor them to Canada through the Group of Five program. If you don’t know anyone in this particular situation, but want to donate to help those in this situation, I found two organizations who does just that — Rainbow Railroad and Capital Rainbow Refuge.
The reason I sought out this organization is that, in my work explaining immigration to international students, a few have actually shared with me that since coming to Canada, they have been able to “be themselves” (be out, hold hands with their partner, etc) here, so they want to stay. While they are already students here, so have an easier pathway to immigration, it got me looking into options for those who are in one of the many countries with such repressive laws. So, I was very happy to find Rainbow Railroad and Capital Rainbow Refuge. Thank you for doing this important work!