by Adam Dupuis
Originally published: May 2, 2017
When you are fleeing your anti-LGBTQ nation in order to survive, the last thing that may cross your mind is to have to prove your true sexuality after years of hiding it. But LGBTQ refugees looking to remain in Canada after today. May 1, 2017, will have to start meeting new guidelines established by the government. With this very sensitive topic, best practices need to be established and expectations for decision makers sitting on refugee boards nationwide should be consistent and not relying on guessing, possibilities, or stereotypes.
“Before this, we’ve had to rely on board members having good judgment, having good discretion,” said Sharalyn Jordan, an organizer with Vancouver’s Rainbow Refugee, which assists LGBTQ claimants. “This makes me very hopeful that we will start seeing more consistent, more just decisions.”
The guidelines warn against stereotyping and against applying standards from Canada to claimants from other countries. They highlight the impact that trauma has on people’s memories. And they urge decision makers to weigh evidence in the context of ongoing persecution: Would it be safe for a lesbian in a homophobic regime to walk back into the police station where she was jailed, without charge, to ask for her police records so Canadian officials could pore over them later?