Canada: LGBT refugees in Lower Mainland face service gaps

While living in Indonesia, Ranier Oktovianus would tell anyone who asked, that his now-husband was just a friend or a cousin, in order to hide the fact they were living together as a couple.

They now live in Canada, openly married with landed refugee status after fleeing Indonesia, where being gay is still punishable by law.

"In Indonesia, being gay is a death sentence, basically," Oktovianus told Dan Burritt, host of CBC's BC Almanac.

Gay and transgender refugees face a number of hurdles even after making it through the tight net of immigration and landing in Canada, according to advocates.

"Getting here is actually the main issue. Coming from a Muslim majority country, we had to give a lot of documents, a lot of evidence," explained Oktovianus.

Worldwide, countries are moving to tighten immigration requirements, making it harder for refugees to leave dangerous situations, said Sharalyn Jordan, board chair of the Rainbow Refugee Society and an assistant professor of counselling psychology at Simon Fraser University.

"The vast majority of people who need refugee protection are not able to leave their countries," said Jordan. Read more via CBC