The Queer Justice Project is designed to address unmet legal needs of the LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit [‘queer’] community in Hamilton. It serves as a resource for education, system navigation, and access to justice for queer people. This is a francophone project that has an accompanying English component, and centres the experience of community members living in the margins and intersections. This includes queer newcomers, queer people with disabilities, queer street workers, queer people of colour and Two Spirit people. This community historically and presently has experienced the law as a tool of oppression, and this project aims to educate how the law can be wielded in an empowering way.
The queer community faces disproportionate legal burdens and challenges and the Queer Justice Project works to address this issues. These can include identity document changes (including modifying Indian status cards), intimate partner violence, human rights abuses and discrimination. Further, it is not unusual for members of the queer community to experience legal problems tied to their gender and sexual identity. These can include issues relating to housing, employment, family, immigration and refugee claims, criminal charges and end of life planning.
The project employs three strategies to support queer people in Hamilton:
- Training for community groups, service providers and legal workers
- Public legal education that is culturally sensitive and delivered with accessibility and creativity in mind
- Informed and direct legal support and services for disadvantaged queer clients
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
The Queer Justice Project is run out of the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic.
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is a community based not for profit agency whose diverse team of caring professionals and volunteers provides legal services to low income individuals and communities to promote access to justice and to improve quality of life.
The Queer Justice Project is in partnership with other initiatives supported by the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic. They include:
- Together We Rise, which facilitates access to justice for Hamilton’s black community,
- Hamilton Legal Outreach, which provides onsite legal support and services directly to people with mental health and addiction issues
- YÉN:TENE, which is an Indigenous justice initiative based at the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic