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Ugandan activist criticizes Canada’s denial of visitor visas

Five visas granted to WorldPride attendees, four still waiting for approval

Ugandan gay rights activist Richard Lusimbo talks about why it was so important for him to attend WorldPride in Toronto and how he felt when he was initally denied a visa to enter Canada. 

At least five Ugandan LGBT activists are making their way to Canada after the federal government reversed a decision to deny their visitor visas.

A group of 10 activists had applied for visas to travel to Toronto to participate in the WorldPride Human Rights Conference, June 25 to 27 at the University of Toronto. The Canadian government denied the visas in late May.

Brenda Cossman, co-chair of the conference, confirmed via email that at least five of the activists have been granted visas. “No one who reapplied has been turned down,” she says.

Four more activists are still waiting for a decision, but Cossman says they are cautiously optimistic the visas will be granted. One of the activists chose not to reapply.

Richard Lusimbo, a researcher with Sexual Minorities Uganda, touched down in Toronto early June 16. He sat down with Daily Xtra just hours later to discuss how the denial of his visa has affected his view of Canada.