Forum held on LGBT refugees
A community forum was held Sunday by the Rainbow Refugees Nova Scotia on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered refugees.
Organizer Hugo Dann said homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered people are persecuted in more than 70 countries around the world and Nova Scotia should be doing more to help them seek asylum.
Representatives were on hand from the Halifax Refugee Clinic and Immigration Settlement and Integration Services to educate the public on how to help.
"You know it's a very small world … and I think that even though we think that Halifax isn't necessarily connected to the global scene and it doesn't affect what's going on in Uganda, we can and I think that the more we build these networks … the more we work together on this issue," Dann said.
Dann said the Canadian government does recognize persecution based on sexuality as a legitimate refugee claim.
Homosexuality is illegal in 76 countries and punishable by death in five countries.
David Pepper travelled across Canada this spring to raise awareness about LGBT refugees. Pepper was the inspiration for the newly formed group Rainbow Refugees Nova Scotia.
Pepper encouraged people across Canada to participate in several ways, including by privately sponsoring refugees by means of "The "Group of 5" private sponsorship — a commitment by five individuals in Canada over the age of 18 to collectively contribute $14,000 for a refugee's first year in Canada.
Dann said Halifax, Nova Scotia and the rest of the Maritimes would benefit if more LGBT refugees came to the region by making it more diverse.
"It's not just about attracting refugees here, it's also about affecting change in places where people are being persecuted."