Educational Resources

Transphobia, Homophobia; Newcomer Perspectives

As a follow up to our webinar "What's Going On in Ontario Schools", hosted in partnership with ACAS, OCASI PSI welcomed three wonderful speakers on March 21 to continue discussing the impact of recent transphobic legislation in several Canadian provinces, and how to support queer/trans people in our communities in the midst of transphobia and homophobia. Allos Abis, Noon Ghunna, and Beverly Bain offer important insights on sociopolitical dynamics between newcomer communities and the far-right effort to garner support for transphobic and homophobic legislation and policies. They also present perspectives that consider the bigger picture of transphobia and homophobia within and surrounding newcomer communities. 

Webinar: What's Going On In Ontario Schools?

This joint OCASI-PSI and ACAS (Asian Community AIDS Services) was held on February 1st 2024 and invited four local experts to discuss and address concerns and disinformation among newcomer and diaspora communities around trans and nonbinary curriculum, policy, and practice in Ontario schools. 

The attached recorded includes presentations from three out of four of the event's speakers, responding to questions, such as: 

How has recent legislation in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick around parental consent impacted Ontario?

What are common myths circulating within newcomer communities around LGBTQIA+ content in schools?

How can we support queer/trans youth in schools as parents/community members?

Why are some parents uncomfortable with gender neutral facilities in schools?

Where does fear/ resistance to inclusive school policies come from?

No Place Like Home: African Refugees and the Making of a New Queer Identity

For reasons of necessity, urgency, and sometimes choice, queer Africans cross borders and find their lives unfolding in diasporic spaces. Refugee claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity persecution make up 12% of all refugee cases in Canada, with queer African refugees constituting the largest group within this category. With this in mind, we now have to ask, “what kind of history will be written about the collision between queer Africans dislocated from post-colonial nations and the Canadian settler nation?” In this study, qualitative in-depth interviews were conducted to explore the individual lived experiences of queer African refugees, with a focus on the intricate realignment of sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual politics, and sexual desire that inevitably emerges through forced migration and the refugee process in Canada. The deep meaning of life experiences is captured in the participants’ own words, providing detailed, in-depth insights into the complexities of their lives, their reflections, and their subsequent responses.

These narratives call attention to the specific features of queer African refugees, who test the limits of the current homonational refugee apparatus. Participants’ experiences of resisting social roles, structures, identities, and expectations that limit queer African refugees and keep them “in their place,” both in their countries of origin and in Canada, are interrogated. The construction of boundaries that decide who belongs and deserves protection within Canada and who does not provides a foundation for engaging in research as a practice of freedom, in order to counter the global narrative of refugee life that excludes queer Africans.

The findings in this research require us to look at practices of exclusion and inclusion in the Canadian refugee system and the tensions that emerge for queer African claimants. In the end, we are left with strategies for how to engage with the politics of knowledge production and advocate for an agenda of social justice and transformation for queer Africans globally.

The Community Playbook

In 2023, the City of Toronto collaborated with Social Planning Toronto to initiate a capacity-building project. Through this collaboration, Social Planning Toronto developed a "Community Playbook" designed to assist community leaders with concrete knowledge and tools they could use in their local community engagement work across the city. The Community Playbook is an interactive guide with more than 100 pages of resources for residents involved in community engagement projects within their respective networks and neighborhoods to help them in their planning, engagement, funding applications, project coordination, and more. It also incorporates intersectional lens on queerness, gender, race, and class for community engagement projects.

The Community Playbook is not intended to be an exhaustive document but rather a dynamic and interactive resource that supports and motivates community leaders in delivering and monitoring community engagement activities, projects, and events. It helps create engagement strategies and reinforces connections among leaders and community members. 

Webinar - Supporting Queer and Gender Diverse Autistic Youth with Stephanie Moeser and Anya Gwynne

In this interactive webinar, Anya, and Stephanie discuss gender identity and autism, and talk about ways to support your queer and gender-diverse autistic children.

Stephanie is a cis-gender social worker who has years of experience working with autistic youth, teens and adults, and their families.

Anya is a non-binary person, consultant, and educator who has years of experience supporting queer and gender-diverse youth, adults, and families in the 2-SLGBTQIA+ community. Anya brings a genuine and authentic voice to this discussion to further support families along their journey to understand and affirm their children.

Together, they provide with the language and skills to help service providers build strategies for supporting, children to live their authentic selves.  

This webinar is appropriate for parents and caregivers of autistic youth as well as professionals working with autistic youth.

Enregistrement du webinaire : Partage d'expériences pour les immigrants LGBTQIA+ au Canada

Dans ce webinaire organisé par OCASI-IEP en novembre 2023, on a eu le plaisir d'écouter un discours de Fabrice Nguena, membre et ancien vice-président de Arc-en-ciel d'Afrique, et gouverneur actuel de la Fondation Émergence, dont la mission est d’informer et sensibiliser la population aux réalités des personnes de la communauté queer. Ce Webinaire, Résilience, Autonomisation et partage d'expérience pour les immigrants LGBTQIA+ au Canada, qui favorise le partage d'histoires et d'expertises, vise à offrir un soutien émotionnel, social et juridique aux en les connectant avec des ressources, des réseaux de soutien et des opportunités d'autonomisation.


Webinar Recording: 2SLGBTQIA+ Muslims and Mental Health

In this webinar organized by OCASI-PSI in December 2023, psychotherapist, writer, public speaker, and community organizer Rahim Thawer (he/him) explores the tensions that affect the mental health of 2SLGBTQIA+ Muslims, including managing homophobia and coming out, reconciling sexuality and faith-based identities, both being critical of Islam and fighting Islamophobia, seeking and creating affirming spaces, acculturating as asylum seekers and Canadian-born 2SLGBTQIA+ Muslims, and religious-cultural factors affecting access/understanding of mental health services. Rahim's talk draws on academic literature, personal lived experience, and community organizing work with two queer Muslim groups based in Canada. 

Supporting Trans and Queer Muslims as Service Providers

This infographics summarizes the key points of 3 articles on supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Muslims authored by Rahim Thawer and published in Medium in 2022 & 2023. It is created by Seyhan Kogukoglu from Riverdale Immigrant Women's Centre in collaboration with the OCASI-PSI team. While it is meant to complement the 2SLGBTQIA+ Muslims and Mental Health webinar by Rahim Thawer, it can be used as a stand alone resource as well. The infographics includes publicly accessible articles and videos on 2SLGBTQIA+ Muslims. 

Webinar Recording: How to address the current rise of Anti-2SLGBTQI+ hate?

This webinar was organized by From Borders to Belonging and took place on November 2nd, 2023. 

The webinar begins with a cross-country check in. Advocates will share what they are witnessing in their cities and its impacts. We see that the current wave of Anti-2SLGBTQI hate is well organized and well funded. Similar strategies are being deployed in Canada and internationally. Locally, we see that newcomer communities are being targeted with misinformation. We raise the question of how to address the current rise of Anti-2SLGBTQI hate without further entrenching harmful xenophobic and colonial discourses of racialized communities as “backwards” and threats to a presumed progressive Canada.

Our panelists will then share strategies for organizations and invite discussion of how we can organize collaborations and coalitions that promote respect and safety and counter hate.

Webinar Recording: Challenging conversion practices

In this webinar, guest speakers from the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) examine the conversion practices and their impacts on immigrant queer and trans youth in Canada and discuss how it extends globally through an intersectional lens. The speakers review the Bill C-4, the new federal bill on conversion practices and the offences under this new bill. They unpack the limitations and the gaps of Bill C-4, particularly on how it impacts racialized and immigrant queer and trans youth.