Gay immigrants rejected by gays and straights

Published: March 28, 2011

Racist reactions from the "mainstream" gay community in the wake of recent gaybashings may be forcing immigrant gays and lesbians deeper into the closet, says a University of BC professor.

"I think the mainstream gay community at large has a tendency to blame the South Asian community [for gaybashings] and say ‘send them back,’" Dr Brian O’Neill of the UBC School of Social Work told the Diversity Within Diversity session at the 2011 National Metropolis Conference on immigration March 25.

"It’s easy to fall into that trap and I think people do," he says, adding such stereotyping can have a negative effect on gay people who have just arrived in Canada and are struggling to adjust and fit in.

"People felt rejected by the mainstream community and the mainstream Anglo white gay community," O’Neill says of some findings from a recent study on immigrant gays in smaller BC communities. "You face double discrimination."

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