Saturday, March 19, 2016

LGBTQ Safe Havens

This past week saw the launch of Ellen Page's new series Gaycation on Viceland. Ellen and her friend Ian Daniel travel the globe seeking to understand the lives of LGBTQ individuals in various countries. So far we have seen three episodes, Japan, Brazil and Jamaica. The show doesn't shy away from the problems that LGBTQ individuals face in countries that are patriarchal and homophobic and the last episode in Jamaica showcased a group of young Jamaicans who were harassed and threatened because of who they are. Ellen and Ian meet not only with those trying to change these homophobic cultures but also with some of the homophobes themselves in some of the more uncomfortable interviews in the show. What they are doing is important, not only to educate themselves but also a younger generation who takes their queer freedom for granted.

Watching the show I couldn't help but think that it would be great if Canada could lead the world in welcoming LGBTQ individuals from such countries granting them safe places for them to live. Imagine embracing individuals whose lives are threatened simply because of their sexual or gender orientation and giving them the opportunity to live safely so they can realize their full potential. As a community we have come so far and while I don't believe it is our place to try to change those cultures, this smacks too much of Western colonialism, we could offer safe havens for those who's lives are threatened simply for being queer. As some in the show argue they would choose to remain to try to change their worlds, but for those who live in danger of being murdered emigration to Canada could be a welcome place of refuge. 

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