Posts Tagged ‘diasporas’
Andrea Houston’s Xtra! article noting the disappearance of three queer men of South Asian heritage over the past several years from the Church and Wellesley area–Skandaraj “Skanda” Navaratnam, Abdulbasir “Basir” Faizi, and Majeed “Hamid” Kayhan–makes for worrisome, and sad, reading. While Navaratnam was out, Faizi and Kayhan were both married heterosexually with children, in the closet. This may have left the latter two vulnerable.
Being “out-ish,” especially for some new Canadians, is not uncommon. People who come to Canada from homophobic countries often take years to venture out of the closet, if they ever do, he says. “It’s all part of the process,” he adds.
Faizi has a similar family situation to Kayhan. His sister-in-law Nijiba tells Xtra that his family is very worried. She knew nothing about the connection to the Village. She says Faizi has a wife and two daughters who live in Mississauga.
[. . .]
Harris says police have done an extensive background search on Navaratnam, including accessing “numerous judicial authorizations” to try to determine his whereabouts, such as immigration, but have discovered no leads from that.
“The key connection for us is that all three disappeared from the Church and Wellesley area, they have family and friends who are concerned about them, and everything that we’ve done from the onset, there is nothing that tells us where these three people are,” she says.
[. . . El-Farouk] Khaki says police should continue to expand the search by looking at cold cases and outstanding missing-person reports, in Toronto areas outside the Village and beyond. If these three men are indeed connected, Khaki says, it’s important for investigators to understand the cultural sensitivities and discrimination that explain why men like Kayhan and Faizi live double lives. With that in mind, it’s possible other missing-persons cases could be connected as well.
“I don’t think it’s problematic that police are looking at all possibilities, but I think they need to cast their net a little bit wider,” he says. “Start looking to see if other people have been reported missing from other areas. If there’s people connected to this community and also living closeted lives, the person who reports them missing could change how it is investigated.”
On the 5th of May, as my father and I were standing on the southeastern corner of Trinity Bellwoods Park waiting for the next Jane’s Walk to begin, a crowd came out of the adjacent Saint Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church–a church I had photographed and written about back in 2009–to gather at the corner. As we watched, the dozen women and girls gathered recited the Paschal greeting: Христос воскрес! Воістину воскрес!