Resources to Support LGBTQ Newcomers

This section of the website provides resources on supporting LGBTQ newcomers in the Province of BC.

AMSSA Resources

LGBTQ Newcomers: Strengthening Support and Understanding, E-Symposium
This e-symposium provided an opportunity to provide training and information for Settlement agencies and staff on working with and supporting LGBTQ newcomer clients. The e-symposium featured four presentations followed by a question and answers session.

Settlement Challenges of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Immigrants and Refugees, Migration Matters
In July 2005, Canada became the fourth country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Canada is generally considered to be a “safe” country for sexual minority groups, however the needs of LGBT immigrants and refugees are often overlooked. This issue of Migration Matters reviews the common settlement barriers and services available for these groups.

General Resources

Forced Migration Review Issue 42: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and the Protection of Forced Migrants
This issue of Forced Migration Review provides a forum for the exchange of practical experience, information and ideas between researchers that focus on sexual orientation and gender identity of refugee and internally displaced people, and those who work with them.

Lesbian and Gay Refugee Issues: A Review of Federal Court Jurisprudence, OCASI, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, Rainbow Health Ontario
This Information Sheet outlines Federal Court jurisprudence over the past ten years addressing refugee decisions for individuals claiming protection against persecution based on the claimant’s sexual orientation. Its aim is to provide guidance to adjudicators of lesbian and gay claims to ensure that their decisions avoid or survive judicial review.

Making an LGBTI Refugee Protection Claim in Canada, OCASI, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, Rainbow Health Ontario
This guide is intended to provide information on what is involved with making a refugee protection claim to Canada on the basis of persecution, violence or threats because you are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI).

Mental Health Challenges for LGBT Asylum Seekers in Canada, OCASI, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, Rainbow Health Ontario
This Information Sheet outlines the mental health challenges of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) asylum seekers in Canada and is intended to be a resource for service providers who work with this population.

Executive Summary Envisioning LGBT Refugee Rights in Canada: The Impact of Canada’s New Immigration Regime, OCASI, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, Rainbow Health Ontario
This report is an initiative of Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, an international research project involving 31 community partners in 12 countries, working to advance social justice, equality and global human rights for lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

Un/Convention(al) Refugees: Contextualizing the Accounts of Refugees Facing Homophobic or Transphobic Persecution, Refuge
Propelled by fear of violence and flight from stigma, impelled by desire for connection and belonging, the movements of people whose sexualities or genders defy and offend norms cover a complex spatial, social, and psychological terrain. This paper presents partial findings of a critical qualitative inquiry conducted in partnership with Rainbow Refugee Committee, a community organization that supports and advocates with Queer, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (LGBTQ) and HIV-positive refugee claimants/migrants.

Envisioning LGBT Refugee Rights in Canada: Exploring Asylum Issues LGBT Asylum Seekers and Refugees:
Round Table Dialogue with Service Providers and Conference Presentations, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights
This document summarizes three events organized by the Canadian Team of Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: a roundtable discussion about issues experienced by LGBT refugees and the agencies that serve them held in Toronto on February 22, 2012; a panel discussion at the National Metropolis Conference in Toronto on March 2, 2012, entitled “A New Balancing Act for Sexual Minority Refugees? Potential Impacts of Refugee Reform for LGBT Asylum in Canada”; and panel discussion at the Rainbow Health Ontario Conference in Ottawa on March 23, 2012, entitled “What we need to know (and do) about the health and well-being of LGBT asylum seekers”.

Positive Spaces Initiative Starter Kit, OCASI
The Positive Spaces Initiative starter kit aims to create a welcoming environment where LGBTQ newcomers are able to access culturally inclusive services with dignity and respect and service providers can work free from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Envisioning LGBT Refugee Rights in Canada: The Impact of Canada’s New Immigration Regime, OCASI, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, Rainbow Health Ontario
This report is an initiative of Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights, an international research project involving 31 community partners in 12 countries, working to advance social justice, equality and global human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Envisioning is focused on research and analysis of the criminalization of LGBT people in Commonwealth countries and resistance to criminalization, one aspect of which is to seek asylum elsewhere.

Fact Sheet: Homophobic and transphobic violence, Free & Equal United Nations for LGBT Equality
This fact sheet provides data, definitions and examples of homophobic and transphobic violence worldwide.

Fact Sheet: International Human Rights Law and Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity, Free & Equal United Nations for LGBT Equality
This fact sheet discusses sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of Human rights; which are rights inherent to all human beings.

Fact Sheet: LGBT Rights – Frequently Asked Questions, Free & Equal United Nations for LGBT Equality
This fact sheet provides definitions and explainations on commonly used terminology such as intersex, LGBT, gender identity and sexual identity.

Fact Sheet: Equality and Non-discrimination, Free & Equal United Nations for LGBT Equality
This fact sheet provides information about LGBT equality and information regarding the usage of terminology in a non-discriminatory manner.

Fact Sheet: Criminalization, Free & Equal United Nations for LGBT Equality
In at least 76 countries, discriminatory laws criminalize private, consensual same-sex relationships, exposing millions of individuals to the risk of arrest, prosecution and imprisonment – and even, in at least five countries, the death penalty. This fact sheet discusses the topic of LGBT equality and criminalization.

Fact Sheet: Refuge and Asylum, Free & Equal United Nations for LGBT Equality
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), as well as some countries of asylum, have recognized that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and intersex individuals may qualify as “members of a particular social group”. Refugee claims based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or intersex status may also be linked to other Refugee Convention grounds, notably political opinion and religion.

Research Reports

Challenging Neo-Colonialism and Essentialism: Incorporating Hybridity into New Conceptualizations of Settlement Service Delivery with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Immigrant Young People, Critical Social Work 15(1)
June Ying Yee, Zack Marshall, and Tess Vo, Ryerson University; Memorial University; Griffin Centre Mental Health Services; York University,
The settlement services sector in Toronto, Canada has faced difficulties in responding to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) immigrant youth in ways that respect their specific experiences. One way agencies have taken up this challenge in Toronto has been to develop LGBTQ-specific settlement services. Housed within a diverse range of organisations, these services are intended to engage and support LGBTQ immigrant youth. In this article, we report on evaluation research conducted with LGBTQ immigrant young people from Griffin Centre’s reachOUT Newcomer Network where we asked about their experiences accessing settlement services in Toronto.

Dangerous Shortcuts: Representations of Sexual Minority Refugees in the Post-9/11 Canadian Press, Ainsley Jenicek & Alan D. Wong, Concordia University and Edward Ou Jin Lee, McGill University
This research paper examines Canadian newspapers as a principal source of information on refugees claiming asylum in Canada on the basis of persecution for their sexual orientation. To determine what thematic constructions are most prevalent among Canadian news sources, the authors conducted a critical discourse analysis (CDA) and secondary textual analysis of articles culled from five Canadian English-language newspapers, employing critical race and queer theories as framing devices.

Enhancing Social Inclusion: Settlement Services in Relation to Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Newcomers, Brian O’Neill and Kamala Sproule
This article examines same-sex sexual orientation and provides an overview of laws and attitudes regarding same-sex sexuality in Canada.

Settlement Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Newcomers in BC, Brian O’Neill and Hossein Kia, The School of Social Work, University of British Colombia
Canada has a highly successful multicultural policy supporting the integration of newcomers into society; its federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms and provincial human rights codes recognize the rights of lesbian, gay, and bisexual
(LGB) citizens to full inclusion in society. While the importance of addressing settlement service needs specific to racial minority, female, and young newcomers is recognized, those of LGB migrants are largely overlooked. In addition to having health and social concerns similar to those of heterosexual people, LGB individuals may also experience isolation and discrimination related to their sexual orientation. Relevant to the ‘Welcoming Communities’
policy priority, this paper reports on a Metropolis BC-funded study of settlement experiences of LGB immigrants and refugees in British Columbia.

Lower Mainland Area Agencies & Groups Providing Support to LGBTQ Newcomers

Rainbow Refugee Committee (RRC)
A Vancouver volunteer based community group that supports and advocates with people seeking refugee protection because of persecution based on sexual orientation, gender identity,or HIV status. Rainbow Refugee Committee engages in outreach, advocacy and public education on QLGBT/HIV+ refugee issues.

MOSAIC- I Belong Program
To best serve LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) immigrant newcomers, I Belong aims to support LGBTQ immigrant newcomers by seeking to address the intersectionality between sexuality, gender, race, cultural diversity, class, criminalization and colonialism.Offers support gatherings with LGBTQ immigrant newcomers that will help participants begin to address some of their unique settlement and integration challenges.

Bridge Clinic
The Bridge Clinic provides public health screening and short-term primary health care for sponsored refugees and refugee claimants until they find a family doctor in their community. Interpreters are available for booked appointments.

Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS)
Battered Women’s Support Services provides education, advocacy and support services including a crisis line, counselling, support groups and more. BWSS is committed to providing relevant services and support for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, queer, transgender and two-spirit women. The Battered Women’s Support Services provides services to all self-identified women.

The Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture (VAST) promotes the human rights and mental health of refugees who arrive in British Columbia with trauma as a result of torture, political violence, and other forms of persecution on the basis of race, religion, nationality, gender identity, sexual orientation, and political opinion. We promote mental health and healing through trauma-focused psychological counselling and community based
psychosocial support for individuals and families, and promote human rights through public education and advocacy campaigns on the rights of refugees and the prevention of torture.

Settlement Orientation Services (SOS)
Assistance with all aspects of the refugee claim process as well as general settlement services for refugee claimants: orientation and guidance through the claim; form filling and interpretation; referrals; assistance to access the health system; adjustment counselling.

Prism is Vancouver Coastal Health’s clinical, education, information and referral service for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, Two Spirit and queer (LGBT2Q+) communities. Prism provides workshops and training on LGBT2Q+ inclusion, focused on health and wellness. Prism also connects service providers and community members with available resources in the community.

Transgender Health Information Program (THiP)
The VCH Transgender Health Information Program is a BC-wide information hub providing access to information about gender affirming care and supports. Offers assistance with navigating the healthcare system, support groups and information on transgender health and wellness.

CALL Out! is a Provincial program hosted at Vancouver Coastal Health focusing on the community support systems of young LGBT2Q+ people. By providing networking opportunities, resources and education for service providers, parents & caregivers, educators and faith-based organizations, CALL Out! aims to increase resiliency and connection to community among LGBT2Q+ youth. Delivers training on the support and inclusion of LGBT2Q+ youth.

Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre
Provides low-barrier wellness services to trans and gender diverse people, including primary health care, occupational therapy, nutritionist, community kitchen, counselling, legal support, art group, yoga and advocacy. Clinics are offered twice a month; medical appointments need to be made online or by phone in advance.

BC’s queer resource centre. Provides information and resources, social & support groups, community events, 1-1 counselling, drop in for LGBT2Q+ youth, group for LGBT2Q+ seniors/elders, diversity education and more.

Foundation of Hope
Charitable community foundation created to enhance the lives of LGBT+ newcomers, refugees, asylum seekers and newly settled people through financial support of non-governmental organizations.

Our Cities of Colour
Our City of Colours aims to increase the visibility of, and address the issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in a variety of linguistic and cultural communities.

Lower Mainland Area LGBTQ Cultural Communities

Trikone Vancouver
Trikone Vancouver was founded in July 2005 and is affiliated with Trikone Northwest in Seattle. It provides a safe space for South Asian LGBTQs to connect and come out, raise their profile in mainstream LGBTQ & South Asian communities and the broader community, engage in social and political activities, build individual and collective pride, and to just have fun.

Sher Vancouver
Sher Vancouver is a social, cultural and support organization for LGBT South Asians and their friends, families, and allies. Sher provides information, referral, peer support, social activities, and outreach presentations in the community to combat bullying, racism, and other forms of discrimination.

Salaam Vancouver
Salaam Vancouver’s Queer Muslim Community is a Vancouver based support group for practicing and non-practicing queer Muslims. They are part of Salaam Canada which is a network of Queer Muslim Communities across Canada. Salaam Vancouver provides Peer Counselling, advocacy, refugee and immigration support as well as social, cultural and educational events for Muslims who are lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgendered, those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Vancouver Unity Mosque
Vancouver Unity Mosque: Al-Tawhid Juma Circle Mosques are gender-equal, queerfriendly, and religiously non-discriminatory. ETJC Mosques are places of healing for everyone – for those who identify as Muslim, regardless of sect or tariqa. ETJC also welcomes those who do not identify as Muslim but need a space for healing, and those
who are family, spouses/partners, friends, seekers and allies.

Pinoy Pride
Pinoy Pride is a Filipino LGBTQ Community Group based in Vancouver.

Vancouver Latin Gay Community
The Vancouver Latin Gay Community is based in Vancouver with the aim of providing support and networking opportunities for Latin LGBTQ members living in the Lower Mainland.

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