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Celebrating Canada's 2SLGBTQI+ Communities

UN Refugee Agency In Canada And Trans Workforce Show Support For LGBTQ Refugees


While Pride Month in Toronto is a time to come together to celebrate the courage, history and diversity of the LGBTQ community, millions of LGBTQ people around the world continue to face discrimination, persecution, violence and threats to their lives on a daily basis simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The number of LGBTQ refugees and asylum seekers forced to flee is on the rise and here’s a stunning statistic: 77 countries in the world still criminalize same-sex relationships and seven countries punish it with the death penalty.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency in Canada tasked with protecting LGBTQ displaced and stateless people around the world, is celebrating LGBTQ refugees at a special event on Sunday, June 17 in partnership with Trans Workforce. The event is titled #RefugeesWelcome and is taking place the same week as World Refugee Day (June 20). A panel discussion on the particular challenges facing LGBTQ refugees will feature: Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Canada representative, Biko Beauttah, human rights activist and founder of Trans Workforce, El-Farouk Khaki, human rights activist and refugee and immigration lawyer, The Honourable Sen. Thanh Hai Ngo, the first Canadian of Vietnamese origin to sit in the Senate and Chris Stevenson, founder & CEO of Ripple Creative Strategy.

“I am so proud to call Canada home, and to have the chance to team up with UNHCR in celebration of LGBTQ people, and speaking out in support of all those who are so often forced to live their lives in the shadows,” said Biko Beauttah, a Kenyan-born LGBTQ advocate and founder of Trans Workforce, an organization that hosted Canada’s first job fair for people who identify as trans and gender non-conforming.

Show your support and stand in solidarity with LGBTQ refugees by signing the #WithRefugees petition: because all refugees deserve to live in safety and with dignity.

PHOTOS: Above left; a giant rainbow flag is displayed on the UNHCR Headquarters’ facade to commemorate the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on May 17. Courtesy of: © UNHCR.
Above right; UNHCR staff member Aoife in Amman’s refugee registration centre wears a button, “You are safe here,” letting LGBTQ refugees know who to seek help from. UNHCR work to support vulnerable LGBTQ refugees seeking help across the world. Courtesy of: © UNHCR/Jaz Cummins

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