LGBTQI Refugee Claimants’ Experiences in Canada
Canada ranks in many international rankings as a leader in human rights and acceptance. However, recent reports have found that LGBTQ+ refugees fleeing persecution in their home countries are facing challenges trying to claim asylum in Canada. LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are subject to a host of risks, including detention and deportation. They may be forced to endure torture or other inhumane treatment if returned home. The ability to claim asylum on the basis of sexual orientation is especially important because LGBTQ+ people face persecution in many countries around the world.
LGBTQ refugees struggle and face multiple oppressions in Canada, including but not limited to racism, homophobia, transphobia and refugee phobia (Nerses et al. 2022) Read my recent publication on this. They also experience oppression by many others, including health professionals who take advantage of their vulnerabilities. They also have to manage and process traumatic events and other mental health symptoms. All these experiences make them vulnerable.
Finding a LGBTQ+ and trauma and refugee-informed mental health practitioner is important. As an LGBTQ+ individual seeking out mental health services, it’s important to do your homework in making sure you find the right therapist for yourself. Finding a therapist who will provide culturally-competent care is important when it comes to trying to create a safe space for therapy. A therapist who is aware of LGBTQI+ refugee issues and also able to confront their own biases and stereotypes about LGBTQ+ refugees would make a great therapist. LGBTQ+ trauma and refugee-informed mental health services are becoming more and more a necessity as our communities continue to experience higher rates of trauma. LGBTQ+ people in particular have been historically oppressed and victimized by society, which has led to high levels of unhealthy coping mechanisms. Understanding this historical context is important when discussing LGBTQ+ mental health issues.
If you are a refugee and seeking asylum in Canada on the ground of sexual orientation or gender identity, reach out to me for services. If you need help feel free to contact me for services and support. I’ve been working with LGBTQI+ refugees in overcoming their challenges in Canada, and would be happy to talk to you about how I can help you.