Posts tagged ‘Immigration’

LANDED: TOGETHER IN CANADA (A WorldPride Affiliate Event)


The LGBT community have been fighting for their basic rights, dignity, acknowledgement and acceptance in society; and they have been fighting for decades. It feels like, as soon as one hurdle is over come, another plants itself in our path. The more recent problems however, are more political than social.

When DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) was signed into law by then president Bill Clinton, a whole new series of hurdles sprung up in front of the LGBT community living in the United States. The laws got complex, convoluted and beyond rational reasoning. The few states at the beginning who legalised same-sex marriage like Massachusetts, those marriages were still not recognised by the Federal government or by other states. As a result, the couples could not file for federal tax returns and benefits together or entitled for federal grants. Along with these, another guillotine hovered over the heads for the bi-national same-sex couples. Immigration and citizenship being under the purview of the federal government and they not recognizing same-sex marriage, the foreign national in a bi-national couple has no legal right to apply for a green card even if they are legally married in their individual state and were in danger of being torn away from their partners and deported.

Read here about the harrowing impact of DOMA on bi-national couple.

To avoid being separated from their partner, a large group of bi-national same-sex couples immigrated to Canada where their union was recognized.

In RBC sponsored Emerging Artist Project, photographer Sarah Foy created a collage of such bi-national couples who have immigrated to Canada from the United States. Along with the visual, there is an audio track of these couples documenting the trials and tribunals they faced while trying to settle in a brand new country, away from their family and friends and starting from scratch.

People may argue that hundreds of people immigrate to other countries, so what’s the big deal. The big deal is more psychological. In most cases, if not all, people who immigrate to a foreign country, they do it because they want to, so they are prepared mentally for the unknown. But in the cases of these couples, they are forced to. And that makes all the difference. Not to mention the feeling of being unrecognized, rejected and uncared for by their own country.

Landed: Together in Canada as a title, aptly captures the essence. It’s a compelling artwork which tells the stories of LGBT individuals landing in the US, falling in love with an American and moving to Canada to be together.


Gallery Open: May 24th – June 29th 2014

Venue: Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre


Religious exceptions or exploitations? Canada needs to wake up before its too late

News and social media is rife with the latest government decision to ban hijab in public, during citizenship ceremony etc.

Religious liberty, one should be allowed to follow their religion without the government interfearing, its discrimination against one religion, against women etc. etc. etc. and the list goes on.

A nun is allowed to wear her habit then why a muslim not her hijab? Good question. When was the last time you saw a nun serving you dinner at a restaurant, or cashing your cheque at your bank? Its safe to assume, never.

When one is an immigrant, he/she needs to adopt and accept the rules and regulations, norms and customs of the country they CHOSE to immigrate to. The emphasis is on the word CHOSE. No one forced us to come here. It was our choice.

When we immigrate, the country allows us to come over, gives us permission to live and work and allows us to enjoy all the benifits others are getting. All these things are given to us. Its a priviledge and not a birth right. As an immigrant we should be grateful that the country has given whatever we have been given. At times maybe one can request, but never demand.

I am amazed and horrified everytime I hear, Sikhs demanded their place of worship and revolted against the government, few objected at having Christ’s picture in school etc, etc and the government gives in to every demand.

If Canadian government is not careful, we immigrants will turn this beautiful country into one of the third world country very soon.

Our own country of origin even don’t allow a lot of things, we want the Canadian government to say ok to. A Sikh with turban and beard , a muslim with a hijab, a hindu in his/her traditional clothing at a 5 star hotel front desk are not allowed. We couldn’t do much about it. Couldn’t say discrimination as the rules were made by our own people. In flights, schools, offices a Sikh is not allowed to carry the dagger that their religion requires them to.

We hindus cannot walk into a corporate office with “kumkum”  the red religious dot on the forehead.

But here we can always play the discrimination card. This word has become more deadly than even a nuclear bomb. Canada is too scared to offend people, too interested in being politically correct, and cannot put their foot down where it is really needed. And we are taking advantage and exploiting the goodness of the government.

Lets see if it works the other way round too. Unfortunately not.  Richard Gere came under fire and found himself slapped with a lawsuite for kissing a Bollywood actress on camera. Tons of Americans and Europeans have been harassed, charged for kissing their partners in public in muslim countries. They don’t care. Their motto is if someone is in their country, he/she needs to follow their rules. Hindu women working in the middle-east HAVE to were a hijab, although its not required in their religion.

Loved it when Australian prime minister Julia Gillard said, “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT.”

“This is our country, our land and our lifestyle, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.”

Waiting for the day when Canada would have the balls to say the same thing. Canada needs to wake up before it is too late.

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