Participatory Video with LGBTQ+ Refugees

One of the research outputs produced by the Finding Home Toronto branch of this project is a 10 minute documentary featuring the stories and experiences of LGBT non-status migrants (refugees) in Toronto. 

Finding Home: LGBTQ+ Refugee Claimants Talk About Their Lives, December 2019
LGBTQ+ participants in our workshop series planned and filmed this documentary

This film, conceptualiuzed and filmed by a group of LGBTQ+ refugee claimants in Toronto, documents the challenges that faced them upon arrival in Canada. They describe how, after arduous journeys, they are told again and again that their education and their professional experience is worth next to nothing.

It also highlights how they are subjected to months and years of waiting for hearings and appeals. But what also comes through is their resilience, patience and resolve, and their deep relief about being in a place where they can express their sexuality  more-or-less freely. Subtextually, the film raises questions about whether sexual liberation can exist without racial and economic equity.

“I came to Canada when my life was at risk back home in Nigeria because of my sexual orientation…When I was caught back home because of my sexual orientation, I had to run away, take my kids to my mom”.

“I was unable to get a job, reason being that I was asked if I have a Canadian experience, that was the barrier. It was really tough on me”.

“The moment they saw that I’m a refugee, and also that I’m a black person, they don’t want to give me accommodation. I remember meeting a landlord, the moment I stepped my foot in the door, he didn’t allow me to go to see the place….” 

“Being a refugee claimant in Canada? It’s not been easy. I just came here, just with luggage, a few clothes nothing came here with me. … just my passport that was the only thing I had on me to identify myself.… So life was just from the scratch, from the very beginning”.

Researcher Field Notes