The United Church acknowledges the role that religious-based homophobia and transphobia plays in the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTIQ2+ people around the world. As a church, we are called to take action to ensure that all people—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity—enjoy their full civil and human rights in society. The church is committed to working to end all forms of discrimination and to supporting the victims of discrimination.
One clear way we can do this is to support LGBTIQ2+ refugee sponsorships. Please prayerfully consider sponsoring an LGBTIQ2+ refugee.
Canada is one of only a few countries in the world with an LGBTIQ2+ Refugee program, and the United Church is one of only three national faith groups that can sponsor LGBTIQ2+ refugees. The church encourages communities of faith that are sponsoring a family to also sponsor one or more LGBTIQ2+ refugees at the same time.
Sponsoring an LGBTIQ2+ Refugee is the same process as regular refugee sponsorship—same process, same paperwork. However, the federal government offers increased financial support for LGBTIQ2+ refugees (start-up costs plus three months’ support) that they don’t offer other refugees. Additionally, LGBTIQ2+ cases can be expedited.
What You Can Do to Support LGBTIQ2+ Refugees
- Sponsor an LGBTIQ2+ person seeking refuge (see “How to Sponsor an LGBTIQ2+ Refugee” under Downloads, below).
- Pray for LGBTIQ2+ people around the world. You may wish to use the Prayer for Asylum-Seekers, the Pride Prayer, or this Prayer of Lament (for the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia).
- Raise awareness in your congregation and community about LGBTIQ2+ refugees (see “Resources” below).
- FAQs about LGBTIQ2+ Refugee Sponsorship (available under Downloads, below)
- Sponsor an LGBTQ Refugee—this United Church video (also embedded above) features an introduction by former Moderator Gary Paterson and an interview with a sponsored LGBTIQ2+ refugee
- Last Chance: National Film Board (link to free streaming)—a feature documentary that tells the stories of five asylum-seekers who fled their native countries to escape homophobic violence.
- Solidarity with LGBTQ+ People in Chechnya, and around World—the United Church’s 2017 statement condemning the daily violence and oppression experienced by LGBTQ+ people around the world
- LGBTQI resources from Amnesty International (Canada)
- The United Church’s FAQs about Refugee Sponsorship
For more information on LGBTIQ2+ Refugees Sponsorship, e-mail refugees [at] united-church.ca and CC jsullivan [at] united-church.ca