- The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen MPMinister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship
- James McCamentActing Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Grant Mr. Gay Syria Contestants Asylum
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* photo depicts the limited line of Mr. Gay Syria apparel—illustrated by widely known fashion illustrator Jeffrey Fulvimari (@jeffreyfulvimari)— purposed to spark immediate and wide-scale attention to the urgent atrocities faced by our LGTBQ+ individuals in the Middle East *
Five Syrian refugees escaped the horrors of life as gay men in Syria only to find that their nightmares never ended. After years of living in hiding, fearing for their lives, and watching fellow LGBTQ+ people being mercilessly executed by ISIS, these men believed they had found freedom and safety in Istanbul. Feeling liberated and grateful for their newfound, yet conditional freedom of authentic self-expression, they decided to hold a Mr. Gay Syria contest and planned for the winner to participate in The Mr. Gay World competition. However, hate and homophobia still remain in Turkey.
Created by Mahmoud Hassino to illuminate the urgent challenges experienced by LGBTQ+ people in the Middle East, Mr. Gay Syria is a regional competition to advance to Mr. Gay World and also a documentary, written and directed by Ayşe Toprak, poised to hit film festival circuits this summer season. The documentary highlights the relatable challenges of the five Mr. Gay Syria contestants: cultivating shared connection with like-minded people and depicting the not-so-relatable challenges of severe persecution and seemingly impossible barriers to being one’s authentic self while living in antiquated and judgmental environments.
We Are One+Together, a non-profit movement committed to supporting those in need and bringing people together, has undertaken the initiative to support the asylum efforts for the Mr. Gay Syria contestants, including financing legal aid as well as generating political and public support.
Their brave choices to illuminate these urgent issues are admirable, so let's take a stand with the Mr. Gay Syria contestants in solidarity. We are One+Together. #WeAreMrGaySyria.
Sign our petition urging the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services to take swift action and accelerate the process of granting the five courageous contestants asylum.
The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen MP
365 Laurier Avenue West
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
- Minister of Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship
The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen MP
- Acting Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Five gay Syrian men who were at risk in their own country due to their sexual preference, fled Syria and established themselves in Istanbul, Turkey in the hopes of living peacefully and without persecution.
There, in Istanbul, in the hopes of demonstrating that gay Syrians were fighting for their human rights and celebrating who they were, the men participated in a pageant, the winner of which would compete in Mr. Gay World 2016.
Horrifically, societal hate, homophobia, and violence towards LGTBQ+ people was prevalent in Istanbul as well, and threatened the lives of the men simply because of their sexuality. Given their increased public visibility garnered from participating in the Mr. Gay Syria competition and documentary, their lives are even more so at risk.
We, the signers of this petition, support the Syrian mens' bravery for standing up for who they are in the face of persecution, along with We are One+Together Org. #WeAreMrGaySyria.
I urge you to take swift action and accelerate the process of granting the five Mr. Gay Syria contestants asylum in Canada.
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