Canada needs to do more for LGBT people seeking refuge
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.