Canadian Assistance for LGBT Refugees

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The Toronto Star is reporting that, with likely upcoming elections, the Canadian Immigration Minister is “warming” to the LGBT community after last year’s off-putting decision to exclude gay rights history from an updated version of the country’s citizenship guide. Not only was that section restored to the latest edition of the guide, but the Immigration Minister has now announced a pilot project to help LGBT refugees:

Through the project, Citizenship and Immigration Canada will work with the Rainbow Refugee Committee to share the cost of sponsoring gay, lesbian, transgender, transsexual and bisexual refugees overseas to Canada.

The department will provide $100,000 in assistance to cover three months of income support for the refugees upon their arrival here, while the Rainbow committee will offer orientation services, accommodation, food and other basic needs.

“These funds are a welcome first step in response to the crisis facing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people around the globe, at a time when 77 countries continue to criminalize homosexuality and five prescribe the death penalty,” said Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale Canada, the country’s largest LGBT human rights organization.

Can you imagine a program like this ever being proposed in the United States–or, if it were, what the reaction would be?

-Tony Infanti


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