Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: LGBT Asylum in Canada


Principal Investigator: Nancy Nicol, Professor Emeritus, Department of Visual Art & Art History, York University

Funders: SSHRC CURA Grant (2011-2016) and The Law Foundation of Ontario

Website: http://www.envisioninglgbt.com/

Publications: Forthcoming (2018), is an anthology: Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope. Nancy Nicol, Adrian Jjuuko, Richard Lusimbo, Nick Mulé, Amar Wahab and Phyllis Waugh (eds.) School of Advanced Study, University of London, UK. The anthology brings together academic and community-based contributions from all regions of the study to discuss significant developments with regard to SOGI issues internationally.

 Project Description:

CFR Research Associate Professor Nancy Nicol has recently completed her SSHRC CURA project Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights. The project had 31 partners based in Canada, India, the English-speaking Caribbean, Botswana, Kenya and Uganda. Cited as an example of best practice in international work on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) issues, Envisioning has produced a large number of outputs.

Working with Canadian partners, Envisioning authored three reports and other resources on LGBT asylum in Canada. For example, Envisioning LGBT Refugee Rights in Canada: Is Canada a Safe Haven? (2015) offers recommendations for systemic change in policy and services affecting LGBT asylum seekers, and was produced with community partners BlackCAP, OCASI, and the 519 Community Centre.

Working with community partners, Envisioning produced a large number of participatory documentaries, including the following:

Sangini (2016), a shelter for lesbian, bisexual and trans-identified people in Delhi, tells the stories of people who sought sanctuary. Fleeing violence and family pressure to marry, a young woman, a trans man, and a lesbian couple recount their struggle to assert their civil rights. N. Nicol (director)

And Still We Rise (2015) is a stirring story of resistance against the Anti Homosexuality Act in Uganda. The documentary gives an inside look at work lead by Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, a coalition of over 50 groups; linking this issue to broader human rights and civil liberties. R. Lusimbo and N. Nicol (directors). (www.andstillwerise.ca)

 No Easy Walk to Freedom (2014) examines the struggle to strike down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Told through the voices of lawyers, activists and community leaders, the film documents the growth of queer organizing in India in the context of this historic battle to overturn a colonial-era law. N. Nicol (director) (www.noeasywalktofreedom.com)

Telling Our Stories, a collection of 36 portraits, which premiered at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archive in 2014. (http://envisioning-tellingourstories.blogspot.ca/)

The Time Has Come (2013) filmed in seven countries by Envisioning participatory videographers, the film documents the historic process with regard to the SOGI resolution at the UN in 2013. K. Vance and J. Fisher (directors). (http://vimeo.com/67796115)Le Moment Est Arrivé: http://vimeo.com/74709548, Ha Llegado El Momento: http://vimeo.com/74625595

Life Experience of LGBTI in Botswana, (2013) presents LEGABIBO’s vision to create an inclusive environment that protects the rights of the LGBT community in terms of health, law and social policy. T. Motshwane, T. Mabuza, J. Molefe (directors). https://vimeo.com/75420906

 Botho: LGBT lives in Botswana (2013) discusses gender, sexuality, culture, tradition, family, and the Botswanan ‘botho’ concept in the struggle to challenge the Penal Code criminalisation of same-sex conduct in Botswana. N. Nicol (director). https://vimeo.com/69577157

Hope for the Future (2013) tracks the progress of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and the campaign of media hatred and public outings of LGBTI people. The film speaks to fellow Ugandans to build allies and work together for a better future. R. Lusimbo and P. Onziema (directors). https://vimeo.com/73786262

Sade’s Story (2013) a transgender fashion designer gives a first-hand account of the violence and discrimination directed against her in the context of the cross-dressing law in Guyana. N. B. Henry, U. Verbeke and J. A. Grant (directors)  https://vimeo.com/75422884

Selina’s Voice (2013) describes violence directed at transgender persons in Guyana. N. Henry, U. Verbeke and J. A. Grant (directors). https://vimeo.com/88493864

The Law, Discrimination and the Future (2012) which includes stories of discrimination and building community. Lusimbo, Nkoyooyo and Wambya (Directors) http://vimeo.com/73786261

A Short Film on Kenya LGBTI Stories (2012) which discusses strategies to decriminalise same-sex intimacy in Kenya. Reid, Karaa and Muthuri (Directors). https://vimeo.com/73786260

The films have screened at multiple film festivals and conferences including: Being Human, London, and Glasgow, UK; KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, Mumbai, India; Pan Africa ILGA, Johannesburg, South Africa; Chennai International Queer Film Festival, Chennai, India; Painting the Spectrum, Guyana; OUT Film Festival, Nairobi, Kenya; and Inside Out: Toronto LGBT Film Festival, Toronto, Canada; and Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Calgary, Canada.