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ADDED ON: 05/01/2021

Gay Ugandan refugee’s odyssey to Vancouver chronicled in film

4/30/21 | Vancouver is Awesome

“We’re not rescuing. We’re not saving. We’re walking in solidarity with them.” So says Rainbow Refugee’s Chris Morrisey in Sean Horlor and Steve J. Adams new film Someone Like Me chronicling of a group of Vancouver strangers who come together to sponsor Drake, a gay refugee fleeing persecution in Uganda. “This is her life’s mission and it’s incredible,” Horlor said of Morrissey’s work depicted in the film premiering in Vancouver’s 2021 DOXA Documentary Film Festival May 6-16. But, it’s not just the tale of Drake, afraid of being killed for who he is in the virulently homophobic central African country. Through it run parallel threads of members of the circle working to assist him. Kay is an immigration lawyer on their own journey as a transgender person waiting for surgery. David is struggling in a job search. And, Marlon has fled Toronto looking for a better life as a gay man in Vancouver. “The thing we started seeing moment after moment were parallels, the search of freedom,” Horlor said. Each of those individual journeys is juxtaposed against Drake’s voyage to Vancouver where he must deal with finding work, living as an out gay man and dealing with racism. Horlor and Adams met with five different groups before settling on the group that would eventually assist Drake. When time the filmmakers got involved, the circle didn’t even know who it would be helping. One stopping point on many refugees’ trips is Kokuma Camp northern Kenya with 180,000 people, many being LGBT from Uganda. Some of those LGBT refugees were victims of vicious attacks “They’re desperate,” Michael, a Rainbow Refugee mentor said. The hard part is we can only help a few of them.” The first thing the group needed to do was fundraise about $20,000 for Drake’s first year in the city. Once that was done, the process of picking someone to assist arrived. The circle was given three candidates. In the end, it went to a vote. His response to the decision: “I want to say thank you thank you thank again for all that you have done for me.” Michael said most people just getting into assisting a refugee don’t realize the enormity of the process on which they are embarking. “I think most people come into this thinking it’s going to be some kind of big party and they’re going to have to do some fundraising and greet the person at the airport and that’ll be it,” he said. “They don’t realize these people are escaping real horrific scenes. You don’t just flip a switch as you arrive in North America.” But, he said, with gay refugees such as Drake, there is an added issue. “You start to think about how much you’ve given up. Language, culture, family, place,” Drake said in the film. “You give it all up because of this one piece of who you are.” “Sometimes, I get fed up of trying,” he said. “The only thing you don’t lose is hope.” “The excitement of being here left me a long time ago. Right now, I just want to be comfortable in my own skin.”

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