Stories of Learning and Hope

Finding the Sun of the Soul: Supporting LGBTQ+ refugees in BC

Daroo at Rainbow Refugee

This International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, we wanted to highlight the work of our Moving Ahead Program and hear from one of its clients.

Same-sex relationships are criminalized in over 70 countries around the world and, in six countries, same-sex relationships are punishable by death. Such structural homophobic, transphobic and biphobic systems force many people from the LGBTQ+ community to flee their homes for their own safety.

Daroo Karajoul from Moving Ahead

Our Moving Ahead Program (MAP) offers specialised support to the specific needs of LGBTQ+ refugees, who may have experienced additional challenges along their journey to Canada.

Daroo Karajoul is an LGBTQ+ case manager within the MAP. He understands firsthand the critical importance of combatting homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia:

“Every day, I witness the impact of these prejudices on the lives of the individuals I serve. It’s not just about providing practical support; it’s about standing up against injustice and advocating for a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

For his many of this clients, Daroo is more than just a facilitator of ISSofBC services. ‘I’m a beacon of hope for those who have faced discrimination and persecution because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. By offering support and guidance, I strive to create a safe space where LGBTQ+ refugees can rebuild their lives without fear of judgement or harm.’

Daroo knows personally the impact of discrimination, and is committed to making a difference in the lives of those who have been marginalized and oppressed.

Through his work, Daroo aims to create a more inclusive society where diversity is celebrated, and everyone has the opportunity to live authentically and without fear.

The Sun of the Soul

Facing persecution and abuse, sometimes even from close friends and family, simply for being LGBTQ+ is very upsetting and isolating and it is often difficult to see a path forward. However, as you can read below, there is always hope if you believe in yourself and use the support of people like Daroo and other ISSofBC staff.

The below story was written by one of Daroo’s talented LGBTQ+ clients and it describes their story of facing persecution in their home country of Palestine but ultimately finding acceptance and safety here in British Columbia. It’s an inspiring story we hope you enjoy:

“In the heart of a village overlooking the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, I was born, just like any other creature with the right to exist. Innocently, like a child, I believed the sun bestowed upon me my uniqueness (my sexual orientation and feeling different from other males), just as life gifts colors with its light and diversity.

Soon, however, the sun was obscured from me, and the light of life dimmed. The family that was once a small sun became a raging fire. What is my crime, and why all this? I didn’t choose the sun; it chose me to give me a different light and great love. Why am I punished for something I didn’t choose but absorbed into my soul from the sun’s light since childhood?

Even as the fire burns and society kills under many guises, mostly under the banners of tradition and religion, I refuse to despise my sunlight to gain acceptance for my differences. I have decided that the sun holds the rightful place, where it is strongest and its light shines brightest. So, I journeyed to her, to the most fitting place for my light and my uniqueness. And there, amidst the stumbling, my heart found solace.

Under the watchful gaze of the sun god and the care of ISSofBC, I now find myself in the land of beauty and diversity. Allow me to name it the Sun of the Soul.


Thank you for sharing this beautiful and evocative story of your experiences.

If you are newcomer to British Columbia and identitfy as LGBTQ+ and would like to learn more about our services, please visit:


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