National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

ICA Offices will be closed Monday, October 2nd, 2023

Learn More About the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Impact Report 2022 / 23

Read our latest Impact Report here

Farzan Esmaeilzadeh, Q+ Crew
Q+ Crew: A Participants Point of View

When it comes to LGBTQ+ newcomers in Victoria, it is important for people to understand that they encounter unique challenges. Many have fled their home countries due to persecution or discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. They arrive in a new country hoping for acceptance and safety, but the journey does not end there. Not only do they face similar challenges here, but they also encounter language barriers, cultural adjustment issues, and feelings of isolation that can make their integration into the community very difficult.

At Q+ Crew, I have found the sense of community and belonging that I was hoping for. We come together to navigate the challenges specific to our experiences and uplift one another. Q+ Crew provides a safe space where I can truly be myself, free from judgment or the need to explain my existence. We share stories, traditions, and experiences, which has deepened my understanding of the challenges we all face as a community. Additionally, we discuss how we can work together as a community to dismantle systemic barriers and prejudices, creating an environment where everyone, regardless of their background, gender identity, or sexual orientation, can thrive.

LGBTQI2S+ Services

ICA can help you navigate the services and supports you need with social programs, one-on-one supports, navigating immigration, healthcare and employment. ICA has many services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender-diverse newcomers and refugees.

I hope that through education, research, advocacy, and allyship, we can create a more equitable and inclusive society where all LGBTQ+ newcomers feel safe, seen, and celebrated.

Farzan Esmaeilzadeh, Q+ Crew

Stronger Together

By Robin McGeough

As author and activist Audre Lorde said, “There is no such thing as a single issue because we do not lead single-issue lives.” Whether in the face of racism, Islamophobia, sexism, homophobia, or transphobia, working against discrimination means standing up and speaking out for one another even when our identities are different.

While we have come a long way in our laws and social acceptance, we are seeing a rise in discrimination against the LGBTQ2S+ community in Canada and around the world. Queer artists are being harassed, LGBTQ2S+-friendly businesses are threatened and vital information about LGBTQ2S+ health and well-being is being restricted in schools. While Pride today is partly a celebration, its origins are strongly rooted in fighting both social and systemic discrimination.

In June 1969, the global LGBTQ2S+ civil rights movement reached a breaking point at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. A protest group largely led by people of colour and transgendered members of the community began rioting against ongoing police discrimination. Activist groups fought for the right to live openly without fear of being arrested. A year later, the first gay pride marches took place to mark the anniversary of the uprising.

While queer communities gained some recognition following the Stonewall Riots in 1969, the AIDS epidemic rapidly renewed social and political discrimination. The majority of patients contracting AIDS were gay men, however women, racialized communities, drug users and low-income populations also saw rising cases.

AIDS (now referred to as HIV) was first diagnosed in Canada in 1982. By 1987, the global death toll topped 40,000 with over 5 to 10 million infected with HIV. Despite a rapid rise in cases, funding for research was a fraction compared to the budget spent on other illnesses. At the time, the resulting treatment cost $150,000 to $200,000 per patient.

AIDS Action Now! (AAN) was formed in Toronto to challenge discrimination in medical research while bringing attention to important treatments and policies in Canada. Through protests and demonstrations, the organization forced the Canadian healthcare system to work with the LGBTQ2S+ community and other marginalized groups impacted by AIDS. No matter your identity, access to healthcare is a human right.  Rather than fighting separate battles, people from diverse backgrounds joined together to bring attention to systemic discrimination in the healthcare system.

PRIDE 2023

While HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence and the stigma of HIV has lessened, LGBTQ2S+ people continue to face discrimination and threats. It’s important to take a page from the AIDS ACTION NOW! playbook and remember that discrimination against one group affects us all. While the communities affected by racism, transphobia and homophobia are unique, the source of discrimination remains the same: fear of difference.

Moving away from fear towards acceptance is something we can all do. Building connections with people of different backgrounds, listening to understand their experiences, and finding ways to lower barriers are ways we can all make our community more inclusive for everyone. We are more than our struggles; we all deserve validation for who we are. We march at Pride to celebrate the connection we have to Greater Victoria’s newcomer communities including LGBTQ2S+ communities and their overlap.

ICA’s mission is predicated on the belief that everyone has a right to live in peace regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental abilities and economic status. As our community becomes more diverse, we must work to ensure that there is mutual understanding. We are unique by nature, and supporting those with different experiences than our own makes our community stronger. But only if we work together.

You can also show your support by making a donation that will support ICA’s work with LGBTQ2S+ members of our community.


Donate to ICA Today

Gender-Based Violence

Everyone has the right to safety. If you are experiencing violence or abuse, we are here to help. ICA can connect you to important supports including counselling, housing, victim services and legal support.

Youth & Family Services

ICA provides immigrant programs for youth between the ages of 7-28. In addition, during the year, we host many different types of youth events, social gatherings and summer camps in and around the community to help build cultural connections.

LGBTQI2S+ Services

ICA can help you navigate the services and supports you need with social programs, one-on-one supports, navigating immigration, healthcare and employment. ICA has many services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender-diverse newcomers and refugees.