Building Integrated Settlement Support Services for LGBTQ+ Immigrants and Refugees in British Columbia

About the Author:

Rasheed Ahmed

Rasheed is a Queer immigrant of colour residing in the Lower Mainland over the past decade. He has a keen interest in issues of social justice especially as they relate to migration, LGBTQ+ causes, racial discrimination and food security. Over the past few years he has worked on various projects with local and international non-profits in Bangladesh, Canada, India and Uganda. Rasheed is interested in the intersections of public policy, community organizing and social change.

In British Columbia, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer+ (LGBTQ+) immigrants and refugees encounter barriers to safely access settlement and health services because of their particular and intersecting social positioning in regards to race, culture, same-sex sexuality, and/or gender identity.

This inability to receive necessary services increases the social and health vulnerability of LGBTQ+ Newcomers, which can further impact economic outcomes and affect these Newcomers’ overall well-being. In order to better meet the health and settlement needs of LGBTQ+ immigrants and refugees, this report outlines recommendations for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Federal and Provincial health agencies and programs, as well as settlement and social-services agencies to implement.

The primary recommendation is for the creation of a central agency for LGBTQ+ Newcomers in British Columbia, which would efficiently address the need for integrated and culturally appropriate services. This would ensure that multiple necessary provisions are delivered in a welcoming environment and would allow for uniform and continual delivery of these services in communities across BC. Importantly, this hub model will also provide a gathering space for LGBTQ+ Newcomers to form social connections and build community with others, addressing the sense of isolation and loneliness experienced by these groups.

Recognizing the pressing need for settlement, health, and LGBTQ+ agencies to take action, the secondary recommendations suggest changes to organizational approaches towards LGBTQ+ Newcomers that can be implemented in the short- and medium-terms. The recommendations discuss strategies and actions that would minimize the danger and risks of discrimination, stigmatization, and threat to personal safety for LGBTQ+ Newcomers accessing these organizations.

About the Author:

Rasheed Ahmed

Rasheed is a Queer immigrant of colour residing in the Lower Mainland over the past decade. He has a keen interest in issues of social justice especially as they relate to migration, LGBTQ+ causes, racial discrimination and food security. Over the past few years he has worked on various projects with local and international non-profits in Bangladesh, Canada, India and Uganda. Rasheed is interested in the intersections of public policy, community organizing and social change.