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Unique research chair on homophobia a first for North America

Quebec announces university grant, says statistics on violence, hate toward gays "alarming".

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In a move that was welcomed by gay and lesbian communities across Canada, Quebec announced Monday that it will fund a research chair to study homophobia -- a first in North American academic circles.

The money was awarded to the University of Quebec at Montreal.

The announcement comes just a month after the suicide of Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley, whose death prompted a national conversation on bullying of gays.

The Canadian Press had the details on the grant:

MONTREAL -- Montreal will be getting North America's first research chair on homophobia, with the University of Quebec at Montreal planning to study its impact on mental, physical and sexual health.

The program will receive a $475,000 grant from the Quebec government, Premier Jean Charest announced Monday.

The project will benefit from the work of 20 researchers, coming from a handful of Quebec post-secondary institutions.

The university has also received private donations and there are plans to do corporate fundraising -- as well as asking for a federal contribution.

The announcement comes a month after the suicide of Ottawa teenager Jamie Hubley, whose death prompted a national conversation on homophobic bullying.

"The most recent statistics paint an alarming portrait,'' said provincial Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier.

"We can see that homosexual people are almost three times as likely to become victims of a violent crime as heterosexuals.

"One gay or lesbian person out of two has suicidal thoughts because of the homophobic violence at school. Elderly gay and lesbian people fear going into a residence, out of fear they'll have to hide their sexual orientation.''

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