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Speak Out! Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Refugees in Canada: Exploring Intersections of Sexual, Gender and Cultural Diversity

Please see attached Final Report, Executive Summary, and Trans Refugee Fact Sheet. 

Speak Out!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer Refugees in Canada

Exploring Intersections of Sexual, Gender and Cultural Diversity

Final Report

Shari Brotman and Edward Ou Jin Lee

McGill University

April 14, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter I: Introduction and Literature Review 

1.1 Introduction.................................7

1.2 Language and labels..............................10

1.3 Queer migration scholarship........................12

1.4 Canadian empirical literature..........................18

1.4.1 Canadian refugee law and SOGI based claims....................20

1.4.2 Sexual minority refugee experience......................27

1.4.3 Gaps in theoretical and empirical literature in Canada..............29

Chapter II: Methodology

2.1 Introduction..................................31

2.2 Pre-study history and affiliation........................32

2.3 Advisory committee..............................34

2.4 Analysis process..............................41

2.5 Participant recruitment strategy and sampling considerations...........42

2.6 Interview procedures.............................43

2.7 Ethical considerations...............................47

2.8 Data analysis.................................49

2.9 Limitations.................................51

Chapter III: Findings

3.1 Demographics...............................53

3.2 Themes.................................54

3.3 Constructions of sexual and gender identity....................56

3.4 Migration path.................................59

 3.4.1 First interrogation.............................61

 3.4.2 First impressions..............................63

 3.4.3 Couples................................65

3.5 Housing..................................66 

 3.5.1 Detention................................675

 3.5.2 Shelter system...............................69

 3.5.3 Finding an apartment..........................72

3.6 Employment...............................74

 3.6.1 Waiting.................................74

 3.6.2 Finding a job...............................76

 3.6.3 Experiences of discrimination......................77

3.7 Refugee determination process.......................80

 3.7.1 Applying for refugee status......................80

 3.7.2 Finding a lawyer...........................82

 3.7.3 The hearing.............................83

 3.7.4 Trans specific barriers............................86

 3.7.5 Feeling invisible..............................87

 3.7.6 Being „grateful‟..............................88

3.8 Health care and social services.......................90

 3.8.1 Health care.................................90

 3.8.2 Social services...............................91

 3.8.3 Language.................................92

 3.8.4 Authority.................................93

 3.8.5 Opening the door................................94

 3.8.6 Service provider/community advocate social location..............95

 3.8.7 Taking responsibility..........................96

 3.8.8. Everyday rewards..............................97

3.9 Mental health................................98

3.10 Belonging to Communities.........................103

 3.10.1 LGBTQ communities.........................103

 3.10.2 Cis women................................105

 3.10.3 Trans...................................106

 3.10.4 Cis men...............................107

 3.10.5 Cultural communities...........................108

 3.10.6 LGBTQ refugee and cultural specific communities................110

3.11 Strength..................................1126

Chapter IV: Discussion and Conclusion

4.1 Introduction.................................113

4.2 Insight from findings............................115

 4.2.1 Constructions of sexual and gender identity.................115

 4.2.2 Migration path..............................118

 4.2.3 Housing and employment...........................120

 4.2.4 Health care and social services.......................122

 4.2.5 Refugee determination process......................125

 4.2.6 Heteronormative and cisnormative refugee regime...............128

 4.2.7 Particular countries of origin......................130

 4.2.8 Mental health and community wellbeing...................132

4.3 Queer asylum advocacy............. . . ..............133

4.4 Recommendations.............................137

4.5 Conclusions..............................139

References...................................142

List of Appendices

A. Annotated Bibliography Collection.....................151

B. OCAP Principles.............................163

C1-C2. Recruitment Flyers...........................164

D1-D3. Information Letters..........................166

E1-E3. Consent Forms............................172

F. Demographic Sheet.............................178

G1-G3. Interview Guides...........................181

H1-H2. Materials in Spanish.........................190

I. Ethics Certificate..............................195

Speak Out! Executive Summary

Shari Brotman and Edward Ou Jin Lee

McGill School of Social Work

2013

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Who we are and resources 2 - 3

What is Speak Out? 5

Key Definitions 6

Legal Context 7 - 8

Who did we speak to? 9

What did we find? Main Themes 10 - 20

Analysis 21 - 22

Implications 23 - 24

Recommendations 25 - 27

References 28

Brotman, S. & Lee, E.O. (2013). Speak Out! Executive Summary. McGill School of Social Work. Montréal, QC. 

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