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The Precarity of LGBTQ Refugee Protection: Advocacy & Community work under PCISA. Rainbow Refugee Committee Sharalyn Jordan, PhD Assistant Professor Counselling Psychology Simon Fraser University. Precarity of Refugee Protection.

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The Precarity of LGBTQ Refugee Protection:

Advocacy & Community work under PCISA

Rainbow Refugee Committee

Sharalyn Jordan, PhD

Assistant Professor

Counselling Psychology

Simon Fraser University

precarity of refugee protection
Precarity of Refugee Protection

Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act (Bill C-31)

  • Detention & Delayed Permanent Residence for “Irregular Arrivals”
  • Tight & rigid deadlines for filing application ( BOC at 15 days) and Hearing (60 days)
  • 30 day hearing and no access to appeal for “DCO” nationals
  • PRRA and H&C Ban

RRC Briefs to Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration on C-11, C-4 and C-31; to Senate Committee on C-31 available

precarity of community supports
Precarity of Community Supports

Interim Federal Health Program cut –June 2012

BC/CIC Settlement Service Realignment Agreement Cancelled

  • announced April 1 2012
  • effective April 1 2013

Persistence Under Persecution

it was the vigilante groups

it was the villagers

it was the uncles

it was the entire system

it was the the guy I was working for

who would scream in front of his clients Kandu

it was everywhere

it was in the buses

it was in the taxis

it was in the bars

it was everywhere

it’s like.…its like a game you enjoy

while you are hidden,

but once you come into the picture,

once you come into the mainstream…

you’re bringing yourself attention for violence.

Jamil, 25 gay identified man

Convention Refugee

In Jordan, 2010 Un/Settling,


Persistence Under Persecution

Manifestations of Homophobic/Transphobic Persecution


  • Erasure from public
  • Stigma as evil, mentally ill, or deviant
  • Sexualized violence


  • Violence/Harrassment/Surveillance

often starting in families,

dispersed across communities, institutions & state actors

  • Targeting by political, religious leaders & media
  • Criminalization in 80 countries, Death Penalty in 5

(Ottoson 2008; Jordan, 2009; ILGA, 2013)


Persistence Under Persecution

Implications of Homophobic/Transphobic Persecution

Survival Patterns of:

  • Trying /denying available identities
  • Seeking out/avoiding similar others
  • Conforming/hiding/escaping(Jordan, 2010)

Internalized Oppression & Complex Trauma

  • Vigilance/mistrust
  • Shame & emotion disregulation
  • interferes with help-seeking & trust in relationships
  • trauma memory interference

(Briere, 2005; Herlihy, Brewin & Turner, 2009)


Accessing Refugee Protection

Intersectional im/mobilities:

  • race, documented sex, gender variance, class
  • Global south/north, Geopolitical
  • Making people Illegal (Dauvergne, 2008)

Obscurity of LGBT Refugee Protection

  • Viability of protection for sexual orientation & gender identity?
  • Who is safe to ask?

Precarious status/Irregular paths

  • Fuels exploitation, violence and (re)traumatization
  • Creates credibility issues in hearings
accessing refugee protection
Accessing Refugee Protection

Implications of PCISA-Designated Foreign Nationals

Irregular Arrivals

  • Detained, in BC Jailed, with reviews at 14 days and 6 months
  • Denied Right of Appeal
  • 5 year delay for Permanent Residency
accessing refugee protection1
Accessing Refugee Protection

Implications of PCISA –Detention

Human Rights & Safety

Legal representation & Community supports

Mental health impacts

Vulnerability & Credibility in hearings

accessing refugee protection2
Accessing Refugee Protection

Implications of PCISA – Timelines

  • Income/Shelter precarityuntil Basis of Claim & documents submitted at eligibility interview
  • SILVERLINING moment!
    • Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity named on IRB guide and forms
accessing refugee protection3
Accessing Refugee Protection

Implications of PCISA – Timelines

  • Time with lawyers is crunched
  • Retrieving documentation entails risk
  • Narrating trauma under pressure
    • Not disclosing or activating trauma symptoms

Giving an Account

  • How to prove hidden persecution?
  • Working with/against western identity categories & assumptions
  • Psychological consequences of complex trauma interfere with coherent narratives
    • SILVERLINING moment! Inclusion of LGBTI in Guildeline 8
    • BUT, refugee mental health supports in BC gutted

Giving an Account

  • Enhanced skills and sensitivity among WR IRB
  • Still “luck of the draw”
  • More involvement by Minister (48% in WR)
designated country of origin list
Designated Country of Origin List

Violates equality before the law

  • Denies right of appeal
  • Expedites to an impossible timeline

Fails to consider:

  • Flux & paradox in country conditions
  • Safety/Risk intersectionally constituted
no safety net against refoulement
No Safety Net against Refoulement

No Right of Appeal for many

  • DCO & Irregular arrivals
  • 15 days to file & perfect

Ban on H&C for 36 months

Removals enforceable before Judicial Review or PRRA

research advocacy

Jordan, S.R. (2010). Un/Settling: ACriticalEthnographicInquiryintosettlementbyrefugeesmakingclaimsbasedonsexualorientationorgenderidentitypersecution. (Dissertation). UniversityofBritishColumbia, Vancouver, BC.

Jordan, S.R. (2009). Un/Convention(al) Refugees: Contextualizingthe accounts of refugees facing homophobic or transphobic persecution. Refuge: Canada’speriodicalonrefugees,26(2), 165-182.

Jordan, S.R.& Morrissey, C. (2010, May). RainbowRefugeeCommitteeRespondstoBill C-11 onRefugeeReform: ImpactofproposedamendmentstotheImmigrationandRefugeeProtectionActonrefugeeclaimantswhohavesurvivedsexualorientationorgenderidentitypersecution.PolicybriefpresentedtotheStandingCommitteeonCitizenshipandImmigrationhearingsonBill C-11, May 27, 2010, Ottawa, ON.

homophobic transphobic persecution
Homophobic/Transphobic Persecution
  • Erasure from public
  • Dispersed Violence/Surveillance, often starting in families
  • Sexualized violence
  • Stigma as evil, mentally ill, perverse