LGBT rights in Sri Lanka
|LGBT rights in Sri Lanka|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||
|No recognition of same-sex couples|
In Sri Lanka, homosexuality (same-sex romantic/sexual activity) is considered to be illegal under a broad provision dealing with, "gross indecency", a vestige of colonialism, and no national legislation exists to protect LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) people from harassment or discrimination.
Article 365A prohibits anyone, irrespective of gender, from engaging in "gross indecency", which is not explicitly defined, although stiffer sanctions apply if one person is under the age of 16 or if any sort of injury was caused as a result. In 1995, the criminal law was amended to expressly prohibit "gross indecency" no matter the gender of the participants.
Some private clinics in Sri Lanka claim to be able to "cure" patients of their homosexuality, although the World Health Organization does not view homosexuality, in itself, to be a mental illness. Groups such as "Companions On A Journey" and "Equal Ground" are countering these claims with more accurate medical information.
Family and marriage
Sri Lanka family law does not recognize same-sex marriages or any similar sames-sex civil union. LGBT people who have come out to their family often report being verbally or physically harassed.
In 2013, some Sri Lanka and foreign news reports talked about the "first" gay wedding in Sri Lanka, although there were some conflicting reports about the details. The ceremony was held on 16 August in a house in the Rathmalana area, and was raided by the police for violating "anti-corruption" laws. Details about the raid are somewhat conflicting. Some reports claim that the police raid was not because it was a gay wedding, but because the participants were under legal age or had some ties to prostitution. Other reports say that this was government crackdown on a gay couple (Neth FM Balumgala August 2013).
While there are some traditional transgender practices associated with certain rituals, transgender people are victims of harassment and discrimination. The term ponnaya is a negative word often used against transgender people or effeminate men.
Media and popular entertainment
- Flying with One Wing (2002) – Asoka Handagama wrote and directed this film about a Sri Lankan woman who passes for a man in the society and in her personal relationships.
While AIDS-HIV is not only a public health problem for LGBT people, the AIDS-HIV pandemic has helped to open up a more public debate about gender roles and human sexuality in Sri Lanka. The high levels of poverty, combined with the stigma associated with the disease and conservative cultural mores, has made it difficult to implement comprehensive prevention programs and to offer life-saving treatment to those people already infected.
Initially, during the late 1980s – 1990s, the Sri Lanka government tended to ignore the pandemic. This may have been because of the political instability in the government during the civil war, or because of the taboo nature of the pandemic scaring off government officials. It was not until the early part of the twenty-first century that a national AIDS-HIV policy was developed in Sri Lanka.
Today, a National AIDS Council has been established, the government formally recognizes the United Nations World AIDS Day, more public education about the disease is available and efforts are being made to combat the prejudice people living with AIDS-HIV face in the workplace.
|Same-sex sexual activity legal||(Penalty: Fine and up to 10 years imprisonment; not enforced)|
|Equal age of consent|
|Anti-discrimination laws in employment only|
|Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services|
|Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech)|
|Recognition of same-sex couples|
|Step-child adoption by same-sex couples|
|Joint adoption by same-sex couples|
|Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military|
|Right to change legal gender|
|Access to IVF for lesbians|
|Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples|
|MSMs allowed to donate blood|