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When I researched law firms for my hoped for charitiy, Iler Campbell was the name I kept hearing recommended. Now I know why.

Miranda Hill
Founder and Former Executive Director
Project Bookmark Canada

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Lessons for housing providers from the 2017 National Conference on LGBTTQIA2S Lives

Montréal Pride (Fierté Montréal) hosted the 2017 National Conference on LGBTTQIA2S Lives in August. I had the privilege of attending as a student bursary recipient. The acronym, “LGBTTQIA2S” stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, queer, intersex, asexual, and two-spirited – in this blog I also use the term “sexual and gender minorities” to refer to members of this community.

The conference brought together community and cultural partners, university researchers, and government representatives for a discussion of the important issues facing sexual and gender minorities across Canada today.  The workshops highlighted how different civil society groups, academics, businesses, and governments have approached civil and human rights, health and family rights, social and cultural issues, employment and workplace inclusion, migrant and refugee issues, and international issues and movements.  The topics focused on different realities and identities within the LGBTTQIA2S umbrella, raising a broad range of issues affecting different people in the community.  The overall theme that emerged from discussions was that although there have been many recent gains with respect to legal recognition and formal protections of sexual and gender minorities in Canada, many members of the LGBTTQIA2S communities continue to experience high levels of insecurity and marginalization and remain vulnerable in every sector of life.

One community in particular should be of interest to our clients who house and employ individuals from the LGBTTQIA2S communities: migrants and asylum seekers who are sexual and gender minorities.  One panel featured settlement workers who work exclusively with sexual and gender minorities in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, spoke of the difficulty that many of these individuals, particularly transgender migrants, experience in finding housing.  These individuals are at risk of encountering multiple kinds of discrimination due to the intersection of their status as migrants and sexual or gender minorities, and often race or ethnicity.  Many sexual and gender minorities who are not migrants and live in social housing communities also report feeling unwelcome and unsafe due to their sexual orientation or gender as well as other intersecting identities.

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