Fighting homophobia

A man living in Canada as a refugee, who’s own grandmother threatenedto tell immigration he is gay in order to have him deported, isspeaking Friday at a breakfast aimed at promoting interculturaldialogues.

A man living in Canada as a refugee, who’s own grandmother threatened to tell immigration he is gay in order to have him deported, is speaking Friday at a breakfast aimed at promoting intercultural dialogues.

The event is meant to raise awareness of the International Day Against Homophobia, which is this Sunday. While gays and lesbians enjoy greater acceptance in Canada, they face open violence in some other countries.

Josh, who did not want his last name used, moved to Vancouver from Fiji in 2004.

“I had a boyfriend in Fiji who was like my sugar daddy. There was an incident, which involved the police. I was beaten (for being gay),” he said. “My partner and I decided to move me to Canada because it wasn’t safe for me there.”

Josh’s father, who still lives in Fiji, as well as his grandmother who lives in B.C., still don’t accept his lifestyle.

“Moving to Canada has been like finding a heart in a home. It has been the greatest thing that has happened in my life. Now I see potential in myself and now I see myself as a better person,” said Josh.

The distance between Josh and his family in Fiji has helped improve their relationship.

Josh said his mother doesn’t like to hear about his lifestyle but wants a connection with him.

“It has reached the point where I don’t get any negativity from her,” said Josh.

Peter Toppings, a member of the Rainbow Refugee Committee, is the co-ordinator of the awareness breakfast being held at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver.

“We are trying to encourage respect among communities that have other cultural values and the gay and lesbian community,” said Toppings.

 
 
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