LGBT rights in Sri Lanka
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|LGBT rights in Sri Lanka|
|Same-sex sexual activity legal?||
|No recognition of same-sex couples|
LGBT people living in Sri Lanka may face unique legal and social challenges. Homosexuality is illegal, and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for any the protection given to married couples. Members of the LGBT community in Sri Lanka have reported being subjected to harassment, and the government has not added sexual orientation or gender identity to the nation's non-discrimination laws. Despite these challenges, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community in Sri Lanka has gradually become more visible.
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.
While there are some traditional transgender practices associated with certain rituals, transgender people are victims of harassment and discrimination. The term ponnaya (පොන්නයා) is a defamatory term often used against transgender people or effeminate men.
Media and popular entertainment
- තනි තටුවෙන් පියාඹන්න 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|