Advocacy, Colombo, Gender, Identity

Celebrating a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning Sri Lanka

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera is the Executive Director of Equal Ground. This interview was held soon after the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka said he was open to dialogue with the gay community, but “would not take any decision which could hurt the culture of the country”.

Almost exactly one year ago, India decriminalised gay sex. As the Times of India noted at the time,

India took a giant, albeit belated, step towards globalisation on Thursday when the Delhi high court delivered a historic judgement to amend a 149-year-old colonial-era law — Section 377 of the IPC — and decriminalise private consensual sex between adults of the same sex. It is the biggest victory yet for gays rights and a major milestone in the country’s social evolution. India becomes the 127th country to take the guilt out of homosexuality.

As the full text of the Delhi High Court judgement avers,

“There is almost unanimous medical and psychiatric opinion that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder and is just another expression of human sexuality”

In our interview, I asked Rosanna why progressive jurisprudence from India had failed to inspire similar legal reform in Sri Lanka and whether post-war, rights of minorities, including the LGBTIQ community, would be respected and strengthened. Rosanna flags key problems and challenges faced by the gay community in Sri Lanka, the social and political acceptance of the LGBTIQ community and the continuing threats to the personal safety and security of gay rights advocates in the country.