LGBTQ and cultural communities: “Stay isolated so as not to put yourself in danger”

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LGBTQ and cultural communities: “Stay isolated so as not to put yourself in danger” /></p>
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<p class=LGBTQ people of diversity are also not welcomed with open arms into welcoming LGBTQ communities, underlines the spokesperson for FrancoQueer in Toronto.

LGBTQ people from ethnocultural communities have difficulty assuming their sexual identity in public. Most want to avoid criticism from members of their community and, in some cases, their own family.

Originally from Haiti, Georgelie Berry is a lesbian. Persecuted in her country because of her sexual orientation since she was 15, she arrived in Canada in 2019. For several months, however, she preferred to remain isolated rather than expose herself.

I didn't even look for the Haitian community in Windsor. From their mentality, I didn't want to be judged, I didn't want to be badly perceived. We know that we will be pointed at, explains the young woman.

“Even if, in Canada, we know that we can live our sexuality, we are always careful, because we know that there are people who do not accept and who do not not understand. It pushes us to stay away, either from family, friends or colleagues. »

— Georgelie Berry

For Georgelie Berry, a member of the LGBTQ community, a return to Haiti is not an option as long as people's rights LGTBQ will not be respected there.

Four months after her arrival, she still revealed her sexual identity to her two best friends in Windsor. She later moved to Toronto.

In many countries, including Haiti, homosexuality is not yet decriminalized. The same is true in Burundi and Rwanda, two countries in Central Africa.

Generally speaking, public discussion of sexuality is taboo in most African cultures. Homosexuality is even more so.

And yet, explains Georgelie Berry, there are many LGBTQ members within immigrant communities, especially in Windsor.< /p>

Some people I had the chance to meet online or in person, I could tell that they kept their sexual orientation quiet because of their family or their community, says- she.

According to the president of the Burundian community of Windsor, Audace Ndayishimiye, LGBTQ members with an immigrant background should be able to feel comfortable and come out of isolation in a country of rights and freedoms like Canada.< /p>

Audace Ndayishimiye, president of the Burundian community of Windsor, calls on its members to respect everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation.

As human beings, we have the right and freedom to choose how we display ourselves. That's my opinion, he explains.

“The principle is freedom. It's Pride Month: let people take advantage of this time to open up to the world and to affirm their identity.

— Audace Ndayishimiye

Hiram Gahima, a Canadian of Rwandan origin, agrees.

They should feel free here, but in Africa, in Rwanda, in a few countries, it's not possible for a boy to walk hand in hand with another boy, says Mr Gahima.

“Here in North America, it's their choice [to live in the open]: they have nothing to fear.

— Hiram Gahima

For Mr. Gahima, the path to respect for LGBTQ people should be through raising awareness among community leaders.

Hiram Gahima believes that LGBTQ people of diversity should come out in public without any concerns.

If, in the Rwandan community, we see that there are people who are apart because they are referred to as such or such [i.e. LGBTQ], you have to reach out to them, talk to them. Doors must open for these people, he thinks.

The president of the Burundian community of Windsor, Audace Ndayishimiye, is ready to initiate a constructive debate as soon as possible in the event that one or more LGBTQ people come forward within his community.

I am ready to organize a meeting to raise awareness among the members of my community. The door is wide open to welcome anyone who feels aggrieved, said Mr. Ndayishimiye.

Another handicap for LGBTQ people of diversity: they must be accepted by the gay community as a whole, which is far from obvious. Indeed, according to Arnaud Baudry, executive director of the FrancoQueer organization in Toronto, these people experience a double exclusion.

There is an exclusion from the black community or communities because these people do not necessarily feel accepted […], they do not feel safe […], he explains.

They are not nor are they welcomed with open arms into welcoming LGBTQ communities.

Many of these people also don't feel fully included in the host LGBTQ community because of the experience of racism and discrimination, he continues.

Arnaud Baudry, General Manager of FrancoQueer

The FrancoQueer organization in Toronto decided to tackle the problem head on and created the Inclusive Partner program. Focused on issues of sexual and gender diversity, this project invites all Francophone community partners in Ontario to reflect.

< p>“The objective of the program is to sensitize our partners to issues of sexual and gender diversity, to deconstruct the stereotypes, prejudices and myths that may be associated with LGBTQ people and to support these people . »

— Arnaud Baudry, General Manager of FrancoQueer

An online meeting will take place on June 15.

For his part , Georgelie Berry now lives in Toronto. She also continues her fight from a distance for her native country to unlock the space of freedom for the LGBTQ community.

I can always continue to lead the fight so that the Haitian community understands the situation of people in the LGBTQ community. We need love, we need to be respected, our rights must be respected, she explains.

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