Kyrgyz Inland Refugee and FOH volunteer gets IRB approval

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Kyrgyz Inland Refugee and FOH volunteer gets IRB approval

10 November, 2018 at Library Square, 300 W Georgia St #1600, Vancouver, BC V6B 6C9, Canada

Hello, I am from a small country in Central Asia called Kyrgyzstan and I have Refugee status in Canada. Currently I am living in Vancouver, B.C. I came to Canada in December 2017, almost a year ago, and asked about getting refugee protection at the airport. My hearing was couple days ago and I was accepted.

As a gay man I am not safe in my home country. Kyrgyzstan is conservative and homophobic; people do not realize that being LGBTQ is normal. Unfortunately in my country people think being LGBTQ is wrong and feel the need to eliminate such individuals from society. LGBTQ individuals are persecuted there and in many cases murdered for being gay.

“For being gay, I even lost my family. My family kicked me out from the house when they found out.”

I realized I was gay when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I discovered that I was clearly attracted to men. In my school, I never told people that I was gay. Other students knew because I was always different from other boys in my school. School was a terrible experience because every day other students at my school and in my city scoffed at me. They also beat me and spoke terribly about me just because I was different.

“LGBTQ people can’t get any protection in Kyrgyzstan because even the government is against us.” 

In 2012 I was named one of the top 70 students in Kyrgyzstan by the Department of Education. In 2013 I went to study in Mexico as an international student at a university with a full scholarship. In Mexico it is legal to be gay, but its society is different. Mexican people discriminate against and do not accept LGBTQ people. When I went to a gay bar in Ciudad Juarez, the police and other people were calling us “jotos”, which means faggots. There was also an anti-gay marriage parade intent to save family culture and lots of people participated.  As a gay man, I didn’t feel safe in Mexico. I also experienced considerable racism because I am Asian.

“I came to Canada because I wanted to be safe and to finally be free. In Canada, my dreams can come true.”

I am very thankful to the Foundation of Hope, Rainbow Refugee, and the I Belong project at MOSAIC for the help and support. It will help me to realize my dreams, even though I lost my family in Kyrgyzstan. I have found new family here in Canada.

“Thank you so much. Love is Love.”

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