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Sunday, 15 June 2008

Canadian immigration bill will impact LGBT refugees

TORONTO, ON (CNW) — Canada is one of the top three countries in the world that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual/transgender (LGBT) people come to looking for asylum. Often fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, LGBT immigrants and refugees view Canada as a safe-haven where diversity and tolerance are viewed as the norm.

In commemoration of World Refugee Day, the 519 Church Street Community Centre is hosting Refugee Pride on June 20th from 6:30 to 8:00pm. The event will feature a forum to discuss the federal government’s changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Bill C-50) and its impact on LGBT refugees in Toronto.

Guest speaker’s including EGALE’s Helen Kennedy, human rights activist El-Farouk Khaki, and film director Leo Zuniga will present their views on the controversial new changes to Canada’s immigration and refugee policies for LGBT people. Volunteers and members of the 519’s peer refugee support group will offer insight into how changes in the legislation may affect their communities.

“We’re excited to provide a forum for LGBT refugees and immigrants to celebrate Pride while learning about how changes in the laws may affect them,” says the 519s Diego Macias, Among Friends Volunteer Coordinator of the Centre’s Immigrant and Refugee Project. “It is often very difficult to navigate a new country and we are extremely happy to launch our Among Friends LGBT Resource Manual, at Refugee Pride, which offers resources for immigrants and refugees settling in the city.”

In addition to the panel, Leo Zuniga’s Short Film “Seeking Conclusion!” will be screened which follows a young gay man’s struggle to learn the outcome of his immigration claim. The event will be held at the 519 Church Street Community Centre and is free and open to the public.


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