Pride month lunch and learns june 2013, ranjith kulatilake


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June is PRIDE month in Toronto! What is Pride and what does it mean for LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer) newcomers? Access Alliance’s programming recognizes that LGBTQ+ newcomers face particular challenges in adjusting to their new country. We provide settlement counselling that supports clients to find their way in Toronto and develop increased confidence and pride in who they are. Our expressive arts program allows LGBTQ newcomers to use art to explore issues and experiences that are important or meaningful to them. Among our innovative projects to address the needs of the LGBTQ immigrant community is our recently completed Among Friends Initiative. This training and capacity building project supported other community-based agencies to create positive and inclusive spaces for LGBTQ newcomers. Training, workshops and resources were provided by our LGBTQ newcomer volunteers. Find out more at

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Pride month lunch and learns june 2013, ranjith kulatilake

  1. 1. Ranjith KulatilakeCommunity Health Worker – LGBTQ+ Newcomer InitiativesJune 17, 2013Accessing Alliances forLGBTQ+ Newcomers
  2. 2. LifeSunlightSpiritSerenity/ HarmonyNatureHealingWhat is in this Rainbow?
  3. 3. What is Pride…to You?From the very beginning, Pride hasbeen connected to a sense of place.J.P. Larocque, X-tra June 11, 2013IdentityDiversity PowerPoliticsCelebrationJoyFullnessFunAcceptanceHuman RightsStrugglesInclusivenessJusticeLoveHappinessVisibilityEqualityDignityPeaceResistanceUnityDifferencesPride means that LGBTQ+ people should not keep the fact of their sexuality secretand that they should be proud of it instead. Cambridge Dictionary (online, 6/16/2013)ConfidenceFreedomComing OutBeing an AllyAchievementsSharingQuestioningListeningCourageSense of Community
  4. 4. Pride for LGBTQ + Newcomers? – A Reality CheckSource: (6/16, 2013)
  5. 5. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - 2013Pride for LGBTQ + Newcomers? – A Reality CheckSource: ILGA World, 5/9/ 2013Homosexuality is illegal in 91 countries, punishable by death penalty in 7 countries:Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Nigeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.
  6. 6. Pride for LGBTQ + Newcomers? –A Reality CheckRacismClassismHeterosexismXenophobiaHomo/Bi/TransphobiaImmigrationStatusSocial IsolationImpact on Health OutcomesAdapted from Among Friends Training Module, Access Alliance
  7. 7. Pride vs. Realities of LGBTQ+ Newcomers• Dealing with sexuality being in Canada ->Finding support in the Canadian LGBTQcommunities -> Not finding newcomerpositive services• Queerness often not the first and only thingon agenda -> Need same support as othernewcomers• Lack of overall LGBTQ positive servicesAdapted from Among Friends Training Module, Access Alliance
  8. 8. Pride vs. Realities of LGBTQ+ Newcomers• Different channels of arrival -> Impacting healthand wellbeing• Understanding of Canada as a safe heaven forLGBTQ -> Feeling of shock when that does notmaterialize• Belief of lack of support from communities oforigin -> Protecting themselves from othersfinding outAdapted from Among Friends Training Module, Access Alliance
  9. 9. Pride vs. Realities of LGBTQ+ Newcomers• Often facing persecution in home country -> Increasechallenges in learning and retention of language• Interpreter anxiety -> Not communicating/ being able tocommunicate legal/medical/personal information• Often sent to Church street to meet new people ->Different levels of awareness about STIs and HIV/AID• Lack of access to meaningful employment and volunteeropportunities -> increase isolation and decrease civilparticipationAdapted from Among Friends Training Module, Access Alliance
  10. 10. Q: So, can you identify an LGBTQ+Newcomer?A: Can you identify a StraightNewcomer?
  11. 11. • I don’t know any lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queerclients.• Usually I can ‘spot’ a lesbian, a gay man or a trans-person,• But there aren’t any LGBTQ clients I can see.• Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans is abnormal andunnatural.• I don’t know how to help LGBTQ clients.Pride for LGBTQ + Newcomers? –A Reality CheckAdapted from Among Friends Training Module, Access Alliance
  12. 12. Forming Alliances… some Tips• Do not assume• Do NOT stereotype• Do not ask: ‘Are you married?’, ‘Do you havefamily/ children back home?’, ‘Are you onbirth control pills?’• No there is nothing ‘sensitive’ about beingLGBTQ+ . It’s not a sensitive issue.• Confront your own assumptions, phobias
  13. 13. Forming Alliances… some Tips• Be welcoming, empathetic• Be the first to introduce yourself: as an LGBTQ+ Ally• Provide info on the services available for LGBTQnewcomers• Assure confidentiality, the right to be who youare, AA policy, the existence of legal protections• Let the clients talk, be an ‘active listener’• Create and sustain a comfortable, positive space• Do ask, ‘How can I be of help to you?’
  14. 14. Let’s share some of (y)ourexperiences with LGBTQClients and/ or ParticipantsThank you!