Gay Syrian refugee marches in Pride with Trudeau
Published Monday, July 4, 2016 8:13PM EDT
A gay Syrian refugee says he personally thanked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when they marched alongside each other in Toronto’s Pride parade on Sunday.
Bassel Mcleash told CTV News Channel that he told the prime minister “because of you I’m here, because of you I’m safe and able to do everything.”
Mcleash, who waved with a rainbow-tinged Canada flag during the parade, said Trudeau responded to his thanks by saying that “it was not me who brought you here; Canada asked me to do it.”
Mcleash arrived in late May, three years after leaving Damascus for Egypt. He received assistance from Toronto’s Rainbow Railroad charity, which specializes in helping LGBT people escape persecution.
Homosexuality can lead to imprisonment in Syria. Seventy-five countries outlaw same-sex acts, according to the Geneva-based International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.