A local non-profit is launching a service that aims to improve access to legal resources for Hamilton’s LGBTQ community.
The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is holding a launch party for the Queer Justice Project on Monday from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Hamilton Artists Inc. on James Street North.
Samuel Mason, a lawyer with the clinic, said the project will offer specialized and dedicated legal services and support to Hamilton’s queer, trans and two-spirit communities.
“What it means in real terms is dedicated resources for this community, and the community can help us guide what those resources look like,” said Mason. “It could be giving them legal advice or conducting legal research for them or connecting them with someone who can represent them, if necessary.”
The launch party will feature the unveiling of a website with a portal where members of the LGBTQ community can fill out a form and get in touch with the legal clinic to receive support, both in person and online.
This is the clinic’s latest phase in improving outreach to Hamilton’s marginalized communities, following other initiatives geared toward the African-Canadian and Indigenous communities.
“There are legal problems that are uniquely faced by queer and trans people, and those unique legal problems need a unique legal answer,” said Mason.
“Domestic violence in queer relationships is different than domestic violence in heterosexual relationships. And immigration problems, they just look different for people from the LGBTQ community.”
The project has been operating unofficially through word-of-mouth for the past nine months, but Monday marks the official launch of the service.
Mason adds that the project has an opportunity to evolve, and the clinic is urging the queer community to weigh in on what they would like to see from the service.
The launch party will feature food from Karam Kitchen — a local catering company run by refugee women from Syria — as well as slam poetry, an Indigenous ceremony, a drag queen performance and the official launch of the website.
The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is a not-for-profit agency and is free to those who require its services.
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