Gay U of W student had good reason to fear deportation

Canada needs to do more for LGBT people seeking refuge 

University of Winnipeg student Hazim Ismail, 27, had feared deportation to Malaysia until this afternoon when a GoFundMe page he made peaked. He says his family cut his funding off after he was outed as gay.

At first glance he doesn’t seem scared, but it doesn’t take long before the fear in this man’s voice begins to set in.

The paradise this 27-year-old’s been living in might soon end, and it’s all because he’s been outed as gay.

Hazim Ismail knows he is facing the very real reality of being deported home.

It’s why he started a GoFundMe page after being outed to his family back home in Malaysia.

Ismail knows the potential punishment if he’s convicted: 20 years in prison, because he’s gay.

Despite this, when I meet with Ismail for the first time a few weeks ago, he tries to be cheerful.

He tells me he’s been touched by support from the community, and has enjoyed getting involved with on-campus activism at the University of Winnipeg.

He also tells me he never would’ve been able to leave Malaysia if his family knew the real reason he was coming to Canada.

He adds he doesn’t think Canada would have been much help either, and he’s probably right.

A study released in September by a research team with Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights found LGBT asylum seekers faced ‘serious obstacles’ when trying to immigrate to the country.

Perhaps it’s why Canada has remained at the bottom of the United Nations’ list of top countries most likely to take in refugees. It’s the same list it used to nearly champion.

For Ismail, he caught a sigh of relief this afternoon.

“I am crying right now. Don’t worry. They are tears of joy,” he wrote.

“Today, my GoFundMe campaign reached its goal. Whether you like it or not, I’ll be staying here and am only going to become more rebellious with my activism on Treaty One Territory.”

Now let’s hope when the winter term ends, another GoFundMe isn’t needed.


4 thoughts on “Gay U of W student had good reason to fear deportation

  1. Great post, I love the quote at the end – it shows hope and honesty. It’s really sad that Canada is known as one of the best countries in the world, but people are faced with such discrimination everyday. Thanks for sharing this story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Danelle,

      It’ll be interesting to see if LGBT people seeking refugee status have an easier time getting here now that the Grits are in power. Many unnecessary hurdles have been added to the refugee process in recent years. Take this Toronto Star story on one woman’s story for example:


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