Burnaby program helps LGBTQ refugees, immigrants

MOSAIC is running a program to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender immigrants and refugees in Burnaby feel more connected to their community.

“There is a big service gap for LGBTQ newcomers,” said Darae Lee, settlement programs manager with MOSAIC. “Transphobia and homophobia are really big in immigrant communities. They find it hard to access mainstream LGBTQ services because they don’t understand their experiences as immigrants.”

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The program is called I Belong, and there are two groups that meet in the Royal Oak area. The first is a peer-support group that gathers every second Monday evening of the month. The aim is to build social connections and friendships. The second meeting is a group counselling session with clinical counsellors.

MOSAIC understands the intersection of immigrants and the LGBTQ community, Lee said.

“So this is a quite unique project and something we are very proud of,” she said.

The group started in 2014 as a pilot project, and the counselling sessions began earlier this year.

Roughly eight to 10 people come to the counselling sessions, and about five on average show up for the peer support group.

To register, call 604-254-9626 or email ibelong@mosaicbc.org. The times and locations are confidential, but once people register, MOSAIC will pass on those details.

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