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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

...NOT GONNA TAKE IT LYING DOWN...

I r e m e m b e r t w o g u y s h o l d i n g m e f r o m m y s h o u l d e r, pinning me down from my shoulder against the wall and hitting me in my stomach. I remember breaking loose, hitting one guy in the face, and I cracked his lip and thats what got them to go, W h o a ! Yo u k n o w, s h e s n o t g o n n a t a k e i t l y i n g down.When they knew I was not going to stop fighting back, they ran off and I just got into a tuk tuk. Inter view with Sandra, Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, Sri Lanka, 18 September 2010

Experiences of Violence and Discrimination as told by LBT Per sons in Sri Lanka

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Not Gonna Take it Lying Down: Experiences of Violence and Discrimination as told by LBT persons in Sri lanka.

Fir st Print ; March 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka. c Womens Suppor t Group

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ contents]
List of Abbreviations Acknowledgements For e word 01 I n t r o d u c t i o n 0 1 02 M e t h o d o l o g y 0 6 0 3 T e r m i n o l o g y 1 0 04 I n t e r v i e w e e D e m o g r a p h i c s 1 2 0 5 H u m a n R i g h t s C o n t e x t i n S r i L a n k a 16 0 6 Violence and Discrimination by N o n - S t a t e A c t o r s 2 1 a ] E m o t i o n a l V i o l e n c e 2 1 i . V e r b a l A b u s e 2 5 ii. Violence of cultur al nor m/gender 28 n o r m e n f o r c e m e n t b ] P h y s i c a l V i o l e n c e 2 8 c ] S e x u a l V i o l e n c e 3 0 d ] I n t i m a t e P a r t n e r V i o l e n c e 34 e ] D i s c r i m i n a t i o n a t t h e W o r k p l a c e 36 0 7 Violence and Discrimination by State Actor s 41 08 A c c e s s t o R e d r e s s 4 4 0 9 R e a c t i n g , C o p i n g a n d F i g h t i n g B a c k 46 a ] A f f e c t i v e R e s p o n s e s 4 6 b ] P a s s i v e R e s p o n s e s 5 0 c ] A c t i v e / A c t i v i s t R e s p o n s e s 52

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

1 0 Laws that affect LBT people i n S r i L a n k a 5 5 a ] S e c t i o n 3 6 5 a , P e n a l C o d e 55 (Gross Indecency) b ] S e c t i o n 3 9 9 , P e n a l C o d e 57 (Cheating by Per sonation) c ] V a g r a n c y O r d i n a n c e o f 1 8 4 2 58 d ] F u n d a m e n t a l R i g h t s 5 9 e ] I n t e r n a t i o n a l T r e a t i e s 61 R e c o m m e n d a t i o n s 6 2 11 R e f e r e n c e s 6 4 A p p e n d i c e s 6 7 A p p e n d i x A : P r o f i l e s 6 8 A p p e n d i x B : G l o s s a r y o f T e r m s 70 Appendix C: Archive of English 75 a n d S i n h a l a M e d i a R e p o r t s o n S e x u a l i t y

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ list of abbreviations]
CEDAW :
Convention on the Elimination of all fo r m s o f D i s c r i m a t i o n A g a i n s t Wo m e n Goverment of Sri Lanka Inter national Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission L e s b i a n , B i s e x u a l w o m e n a n d Tr a n s ge n d e r L e s b i a n , G a y, B i s e x u a l a n d Tr a n s ge n d e r Lessons Lear nt and Reconciliation Commission L i b e r a t i o n T i g e r s o f Ta m i l E e l a m Non Government Organization Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p

G OSL : I GLHRC :

L B T :

L GBT :

L LRC : L TTE : N G O : W S G :

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ acknowledgements]
The Womens Suppor t Group (WSG) would like to thank all the respondents who willingly shared t h e i r s t o r i e s o f d e s p a i r, h o p e , c o u r a g e a n d r e s i l i e n c e in order to make this r esearch possible. We ar e also grateful to all the stakeholders who par ticipated i n t h i s s t u d y. T h e W S G w i s h e s t o e s p e c i a l l y t h a n k t h e International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) for providing guidance and suppor t thr oughout this r esear c h. Finally, w e w o u l d l i k e t o e x p r e s s o u r sincere gratitude to our funders, the Glo b a l F u n d for Women, IGLHR C , and South Asia Wom e n s F u n d, who made this possible.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

(1952 2013) A fo u n d e r m e m b e r o f t h e Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, b u t m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y, a m e n t o r a n d i n s p i r a t i o n t o a l l o f us who continue to advocate for the right to be free from violence and discrimination based on sexual o r i e n t a t i o n , g e n d e r identity and gender expression.

[ Sunila Abeysekera]

This study is dedicated to

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ foreword]
Increasingly the wor ld is coming to the realization that the right to equality regardless of sexual orientation is a fundamental human right. In the recent past, international human rights advocacy has witnessed a number of significant developments on the issue of r i g h t s r e l a t i n g t o s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n a n d g e n d e r i d e n t i t y. A resolution suppor ting sexuality rights, proposed in 2 0 0 8 , h a s n i n e t y f o u r s i g n a t o r i e s s o f a r. I n 2 0 1 1 t h e H u m a n Rights Council passed a resolution (proposed by South A f r i c a ) s u p p o r t i n g L e s b i a n , G a y, B i s e x u a l a n d Tr a n s ge n d e r r i g h t s. L e a d i n g h u m a n r i g h t s v o i c e s i n c l u d i n g M a r y R o b i n s o n , A s m a J e h a n g i r, P h i l Alston, Manfred Novak and Paul Hunt gathered in Yo g y a k a r t a , I n d o n e s i a , i n 2 0 0 6 t o d r a f t 2 9 p r i n c i p l e s relating to the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and G e n d e r I d e n t i t y. I t i s h o p e d t h a t t h i s w i l l f o r m t h e b a s i s o f a n a l l - e n c o m p a s s i n g i n t e r n a t i o n a l t r e a t y. One par ticular aspect that is most disturbing i s t h e violence that is often per petr ated against the LGBT community with total impunity and sometimes with the suppor t of the public. The Repor t of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, published in November 2011, sets out in detail the ter rible violence a n d h a r a s s m e n t f a c e d b y l e s b i a n , g a y, b i s e x u a l a n d transgender individuals in many par ts of the wor ld.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

T h e Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p o f S r i L a n k a i n t h e i r recently conc luded qualitative study on violence f a c e d by L e s b i a n s, B i s ex u a l w o m e n a n d Tr a n s ge n d e r persons (LBT) in Sri Lanka details specific case s t u d i e s o f p h y s i c a l violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, intimate par tner violence and discrimination at the wor kplace. It is tr uly a shocking repor t. In addition, the repor t also provides a critique of the fr ame wor k of laws that criminalise LGBT activity while violating the fundamental rights of LGBT per sons. I hope this study will contribute to an under standing of the discrimination and violence faced by LBT per sons. With understanding must come action. The r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s i n t h i s r e p o r t m u s t b e t a k e n s e r i o u s l y, and all those who believe in human rights and the fundamental dignity o f p e o p l e s h o u l d p u s h this agenda forward.

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Dr. R adhik a Coomar as w amy, For m er Sp ecial R a p p o r t eur on Violence Ag ains t Women and als o o nce U nd er Se cr et ar y Gener al and S pecial Re p r es ent at i v e o f t he Se cr et ar y Gener al on Chi ldr en and Ar med Co nf lic t .

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #01 introduction ]
I think the biggest discrimination for me was from my f a m i l y. E m o t i o n a l l y a n d v e r b a l l y t h e y h a v e d i s c r i m i nated [against] me - their denial that I am a lesbian and the refusal to accept anything other than me being with a man as being okThey at best hide my sexuality or refuse to acknowledge it. So the problems are actively from them and it still continues. M a l l i k a 1, e a r l y 4 0 s , i d e n t i f i e s a s a F e m m e L e s b i a n

My pills hard she

par tners family forcibly tried to give her a n d m e d i c i n e t o c u r e h e r. T h e y t r i e d v e r y to change her into a heterosexual... Twice w a s s u b j e c t e d t o e l e c t r o - s h o c k t h e r a p y.

Roshmi, 39 years old, identifies as a Lesbian

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1 All names have been changed to maintain anonymity and c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y.

F r o m 2 0 1 0 t o 2 0 1 2 , t h e W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p (WSG), a C o l o m b o - b a s e d n o n - g o v e r n m e n t a l o r g a n i z a t i o n (NGO) providing suppor t and advocacy for lesbians, b i s ex u a l w o m e n a n d t r a n s g e n d e r p e o p l e ( L B T ) 2, d o c u m e n t e d experiences of violence and discrimination speci f i c to LBT people in Sri Lanka. This initiative, t i t l e d t h e Asia Action Research to Address Violence Against Non-Heteronormative Women and Tr ansgender People on the Basis of their Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Gender Expr ession, was par t of a five-country pr oject spearheaded by the Inter national Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), an international organization advocating f o r the human rights of people who experience violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, ge n d e r i d e n t i t y o r ex p r e s s i o n . The WSG car ried out 33 qualitative inter views with LBT people, and 51 qualitative inter views with related stakeholders (i.e., lawyers, doctors, mental health professionals, media representatives, employers, religious leaders, representatives of educational institutions, NGOs, and state employer s). Questions were str uctured on the following themes: emotional violence, physical violence, sexual violence, intimate par tner violence, workplace discrimination, state violence, access to redress, and coping mechanisms.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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2 For the pur pose of this r esear c h we will inc lude both tr ansgender men and women. The acronym LBT will be used as an abbreviation f o r L e s b i a n , B i s e x u a l w o m e n a n d T r a n s g e n d e r. T h i s u m b r e l l a ter m inc ludes lesbians, bisexual women, tr ans women (male-tofemale tr ansgender per sons) and tr ansmen (female-to-maletr ansgender per sons).

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

The inter views provide crucial insights on LBT human rights issues, which had never before been documented in Sri Lanka. One key research finding is that Sri Lankan lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people most commonly ex p e r i e n c e e m o t i o n a l v i o l e n c e a s a r e s u l t o f t h e i r sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. All 33 LBT inter viewees had experienced some form of emotional violence, including non-verbalized/ silent c o n t e m p t , invisiblization, emotional manipulation, gender norm enforcement, religious condemnation, invasion o f p r i v a c y, r e s t r i c t i o n s o n s o c i a l i z a t i o n , n e g l e c t , severing of relationships between family and friends a n d c o n t r o l l i n g b e h a v i o u r. A second key finding is that, as almost all interviewees admitted, family members are the main perpetrators of emotional violence. In some cases, although inter viewees were not slow to state that they had experienced emotional violence from family member s, the ter m per petrator was not one that they readily associated with (or w a n t e d t o a s s o c i a t e w i t h ) a f a m i l y m e m b e r, e v e n i n the context of the narrative of violence. The research sheds light on the reasons for this r eluctance, which in itself is a potentially significant aspect of the findings. These findings suggest that Sri Lankan women, while achieving high on development indicator s like literacy and education, are still subjects of a conser vative social environment where patriarchal authority and heteropatriarchal nor ms are reinforced.

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I n t h i s s o c i e t y, h e t e r o s e x u a l m a r r i a g e i s e n c o u r a g e d , divorce and separation discouraged, and family violence as well as p a r t n e r v i o l e n c e i s i n v i s i b l i z e d . G i v e n t h a t t h i s environment actively discour ages female independence, especially sexual autonomy and gender d if f e r e n c e , a n d lim it s w o m e n s a c c e s s t o a nd ex p o s ur e in the public sphere, the private space of the family is a primary locus of the control of women, and perhaps the most oppr essive institution for them. For LBT per sons, these circumstances ar e compounded by the fact that they have no other for ms of suppor t (for e.g. they may not be able to request help from friends and colleagues, and cannot approach religious communities or gover nment institutions such as the police and even womens sheltering ser vices.) In addition to emotional violence, over two-thirds of inter viewees (26 out of 33) repor ted physical violence. T he project sought infor mation on experiences of physical violence in connection with three aspects: coming out experiences; external reactions to a respondents non-confor mity in ter ms of gender and sexual orientation; and in relation to being in queer relationships. Inter viewees were questioned specifically on which acts constituted physical violence for them. The inter views also revealed that more than half (18 out of 33) had experienced sexual violence. Both for ms of violence (physical and sexual), were linked to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. A staggeringly high number of inter viewees (31 out of 33) repor ted the impact of the violence on their mental health; amongst the mental health issues c i t e d w e r e d e p r e s s i o n , a n x i e t y, a n g e r, f r u s t r a t i o n , and fear arising from actual experiences of violence and anticipation of fur ther violence. Near ly t w o t h i r d s of the interviewees (20 out of 33) chose not to

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

disclose their sexual orientation to anyone for fear of r e j e c t i o n f r o m s o c i e t y, f r i e n d s a n d f a m i l y. S e l f - h a r m i n g behaviour was r epor ted by 20 r espondents, including a n a l a r m i n g n u m b e r, o n e t h i r d o f t h e i n t e r v i e w e e s ( 1 1 out of 33) repor ting attempted suicide - a fact reflected in Sri Lankan newspaper repor ts of female c o u p l e s u i c i d e s , a s t h e W S G h a s o b s e r v e d 3. The stakeholder inter views provided an in-depth u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the intensity and for ms of anti-g ay attitudes and myths prevalent in sections of c o n t e m p o r a r y S r i L a n k a n s o c i e t y. T h e s e i n t e r v i e w s also helped identify potential allies across a range of professions, including medicine, mental health, education, religion, and media. For instance, a m e n t a l h e a l t h professional who had wor ked with many LBT people, especially in the area of transgender issues, was aware of the problems in the Sri Lankan mental health system and the scarcity of specially trained professionals wor king with LBT individuals. She identified the need for more clinical psychologists to work with LBT individuals and also stressed t h e n e e d t o educate the public on issues relating t o s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n a n d g e n d e r i d e n t i t y. 4

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In July 2005, Deepika and Chanika, two 15-year-old gir ls hugged each other and jumped in front of an oncoming train in the Gampaha District (repor ted in Lankadeepa 22/07/2005); in August 2002, 18-year-old Sujani and 16-year-old Anoma hanged themselves from a r ubber tree, in the Matale District. A suicide note left behind r e a d , S i n c e w e c a n n o t l i v e t o g e t h e r, w e w i l l d i e t o g e t h e r ( r e p o r t e d in Divaina 23/08/2002); in October 2001, the bodies of 30-yearold Nandani and 21-year-old Shanika , hands tied together by a piece of cloth, were found washed up on the beach in the Galle D i s t r i c t . T h e r e w e r e n o s i g n s o f m u r d e r, r a p e o r s e x u a l a b u s e . Police investigations r evealed love letter s that the young couple had written to each other (repor ted in Lankadeepa 05/11/2001). I n t e r v i e w w i t h m e n t a l h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n a l , Wo m e n s s u p p o r t G r o u p, 1 4 t h J u l y, 2 0 1 2

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #02 methodology]
The WSG conducted qualitative inter views with 33 LBT5 respondents, all of whom were known to us through our organizational network. Although w e w i s h e d t o h a v e a w i d e r o u t r e a c h f o r t h i s s t u d y, it w as quite dif ficult to do so, as a number of LBT individuals outside the network were not willing to be inter viewed. In addition to the inter views with LBT respondents, we also inter viewed 54 Stakeholder s. Questionnaires were used during the inter views with both LBT and Stakeholder respondents. While the LBT inter views were about two hours in duration (on average), the Stakeholder inter views usually lasted f o r a b o u t a n h o u r. T h e l a n g u a g e o f i n t e r v i e w s w a s either Sinhala or English, depending on the par ticipants l a n g u a g e p r o f i c i e n c y. A l l T a m i l r e s p o n d e n t s p r e f e r r e d to be inter viewed in English (even though there were p r o v i s i o n s f o r i n t e r v i e w s t o b e c o n d u c t e d i n Ta m i l ) . Prior to inter viewing, each respondent was infor med of the aims and objectives of the research, and then required to sign the Consent For m. In addition to ensuring anonymity and c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y, t h e C o n s e n t F o r m a l s o e m p h a s i s e d t h e voluntary nature of par ticipation in the research project.

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5 Although we use LBT here, it must be noted that there were some r espondents who pr efer r ed not to identify as either lesbian, bisexual or trans. Please see Section 4: Interviewee Demographics for more details.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

R e s p o n d e n t s c o u l d d e c l i n e t o a n s w e r any question a n d were also given the option of withdrawing from the inter view at any time before or during the i n t e r v i e w, w i t h o u t a ny ex p l a n a t i o n . T h ey w e r e a l s o given the option of recalling their inter view wi t h i n three months of being inter viewed. Two res p o n d e n t s recalled their inter views within t h e s t i p u l a t e d t i m e period (reasons were not provided). Some respondents said they may not be ideal candidates for a research study on violence; i n t e r e s t i n g l y, t h o u g h , i t w a s r e v e a l e d t h r o u g h t h e inter views that they did have experiences of violence on the basis of their sexual orientation. It was also a point of interest that a number of respondents found it uncomfor table to refer to their parents or family member s as per petrator s, even though they were the cause of their emotional/psychological violence. Stakeholder inter views, conducted by two researcher s, were often challenging. Both researcher s had to face prejudice from potential par ticipants who were not too keen to be inter viewed, or who had anti-gay attitudes. In deciding who should inter view stakeholder s (many of whose attitudes on the subject were not known), w e o p t e d t o b e s t r a t e g i c a n d not choose researcher s whose appearance - in combination with their research questions - could potentially provoke curiosity about t h e i r g e n d e r o r s e x u a l i t y. D e s p i t e t h i s s t r a t e g y h o w e v e r, b o t h r e s e a r c h e r s w h o c o n d u c t e d S t a k e h o l d e r inter views had faced inappropriate questions such as,

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Both researcher s were instr ucted to record their experiences c o n d u c t i n g i n t e r v i e w s . We h a v e r e p r o d u c e d s o m e e x c e r p t s from their field notes to illustrate stakeholders attitudes:

Stakeholder Categor y: Lawyer Researcher s Location: Urban When he heard the name of the research, he was very wor ried. He wanted to know how I had got his name a n d n u m b e r. H e s a i d h e d i d n o t w a n t t o b e r e c o r d e d . He asked me if I had a boyfriend and when I replied that I did not have one, he said he was not surprised, implying that if I continue to do research on such topics, it would lessen my chances of finding a boyfriend. H e a l s o s a i d t h a t h o m o s e x u a l i t y i s s o m e t h i n g t h a t i s h i d d e n i n o u r s o c i e t y, a n d t h a t w e should not tr y to unear th this because it would only make things wor se. He noted that for many cases of divorce, they had cases where the husband was a gay man. In the end he agreed to be inter viewed, but he wanted most of his views and attitudes to be off record.

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A r e y o u b e i n g p a i d ? I f s o , h o w m u c h a r e y o u being paid to do this research? Which countries are funding this research? Why is it that you have long hair? Do you have a boyfriend?

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Stakeholder Categor y: Medical Health Researcher s Location: Rural The doctor reprimanded me, especially because he knew my husband. He said he was ver y sad that his friends wife was doing such research. He also said that western cultur e is destroying our cultur e by being brought into our villages by this kind of r esearch. I r esponded by saying that it [homosexuality] happened in the past during the ancient kingdoms. But he r etor ted by saying that I would not know this as I was not there during that time!

Stakeholder Categor y: Medical Health Researcher s Location: Rural This doctor had pointed out that many c hildr en were s e n t f o r c o u n s e l l i n g by t h e i r p a r e n t s a n d t e a c h e r s i f t h e y demonstrated any same-sex attraction. The counselling would put them back on the correct path. Even though this doctor was theoretically ok about homosex u a l i t y, he did not want to be suppor tive o f i t on re c o r d .

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #03 terminology]
W h e n d i s c u s s i n g i s s u e s r e l a t i n g t o t e r m i n o l o g y, i t has been quite a challenge to use ter ms such as Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expr ession and Heter onor mati vity in the ver nacular ( S i n h a l a a n d Ta m i l ) . F o r e x a m p l e , t h e S i n h a l a t r a n s l a t i o n of Heteronor mativity is a sentence (ie: Wi s h a m a L i n g i k a Sammathayak ) as there is no single w o r d to describe it. S i m i l a r l y, t h e f o r m a l t e r m w e u s e d t o d e s c r i b e S e x u a l O r i e n t a t i o n i n S i n h a l a i s L i n g i k a N a m b u r u w a . H o w e v e r, t h i s t e r m h a d t o b e a b a n d o n e d v e r y o f t e n during the inter views as not many r espondents wer e aw ar e of its meaning. It w as mor e useful t o a v o i d for mal ter ms altogether and simply ask r e s p o n d e n t s whether they prefer red to have sexual and emotional relationships with either women or men or both. Gender Identity has been translated into S i n h a l a a s Sthree Pur usha Samajabhawaya matha padanam wu Ananyathaw aya. This for mal definition contr asted w i t h t h e c o l l o q u i a l S i n h a l a o f t h e i n t e r v i e w, and could not be used w i t h o u t s o m e explanation o f i t s m e a n i n g . To e x p l a i n , s o m e r e s e a r c h e r s asked the respondent to take her self as an example a n d s t a t e w h e t h e r s h e s a w herself as a girl or not while pr efer ring non-feminine/boyish/ masculine clothing. It has also been quite challenging to explore non-heteronor mative sexual and gender identities within a non-wester n context, as in the case of Sri Lanka. A good example is the identity of the tr ansman.

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Within a wester n context, a transman is usually defined as an individual who is biologically female and whose gender identity and gender expression are m a s c u l i n e ; w h i l e h e m a y / m a y n o t u n d e r g o s u r g e r y, he would carry on with his life as a man. However in Sri Lanka, although there have been a number of newspaper repor ts of women being disguised as men6 or imper sonating men, it is difficult to say whether gender expression in each case is legible as a t r a n s - l i k e g e n d e r i d e n t i t y. F o r i n s t a n c e , i n s o m e cases that have been documented by the WSG, the individual concerned said she preferred to accentuate her male per sona in order to avoid the kinds of sexual harassment that women face on a daily basis. An added complication is that if such individuals live and pass on a daily basis, questions about being biologically female might put them at risk. Within the past y e a r, h o w e v e r, t h e r e h a s b e e n a n i n c r e a s e i n a w a r e n e s s o n transgender issues, par ticularly amongst medi c a l professionals.7

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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6 Lankadeepa Boy Disguised as Gir l since the age of 18, 31 August2 0 1 0 ; Lankadeepa, Woman disguised as a Male Ar my Of ficer m a r r i e d t o a Wo m a n fo l l o w i n g m o b i l e p h o n e l o v e a f f a i r 2 3 A u g u s t 2 0 1 0 ; D i v a i n a , W o m e n D i s g u i s e d a s M e n ( a k a To m B o y s ) , 17 May 2009; Lankadee pa, Per son w ho had disguised himself a s a m a n fo r 2 0 ye a r s b e c o m e s a w o m a n a t t he p o lic e s t a t io n , 3 Januar y 2009; Lankadeepa, 16 year old nomadic/ gypsy gir l, disguised as a man, ar rested as a suspect for a murder case, 11 May 2005; L a n k a d e e p a , B o y b e c o m e s G i r l a t D a m b u l l a Te m p l e , 1 0 M a r c h 2 0 0 4 ; Lankadee pa, Female Cor por al ar r ested on c har ges of giving f ake ID to male ar my officer disguised as a female ar my officer, 18 Januar y 2003; S u n d a y L a n k a d e e p a , C a s e o f M a n D i s g u i s e d a s Wo m a n , 2 0 Ju ly 2 0 0 3 . Please see Appendix C for more details of archived media repor ts. 7 This infor mation is based on an infor mal discussion that was held with an indvidual who is cur rently transitioning (September 2013).

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #04 interviewee demographics ]


Sexual Orientation: Of the 33 LBT inter views conducted by the WSG, 22 inter vie ws wer e held with self-identified lesbians, t w o w i t h b i s e x u a l w o m e n , a n d one with a person who saw himself as a str aight g u y. T h e r e m a i n i n g e i g h t i n t e r v i e w e e s v a r i o u s l y d e f i n e d t h e i r s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n a s g a y, q u e e r, c e l i b a t e , o r unsure. Some prefer red to simply say they liked women while other s resisted labelling their sexual orientation.

Gender Identity or Expression: In ter ms of gender i d e n t i t y, t w o o f t h e i n t e r v i e w e e s i d e n t i f i e d a s m a l e ; t h r e e identified as neither male or female but prefer red to refer to themselves as being in the middle or androgynous; 15 identified as female, woman, and/or being feminine; and 13 identified as women, but were quick to qualify that they were either masculine, butch, soft butch, non-feminine, tomboyish, and/or had male qualities.

Age: Four teen inter vie wees fell into the age r ange of 20 - 29 year s; twelve inter viewees were between 30 - 39 year s; and seven were above 40 year s.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

E t h n i c i t y : In t er ms of et hnicit y, t he s amp le p o p ulat io n had a higher representation of Sinhala people (19); nine inter viewees of mixed ethnicity (Sinhala/ B u r g h e r o r S i n h a l a / Ta m i l ) ; t h r e e w h o i d e n t i f i e d a s B u r g h e r s ; a n d t w o Ta m i l s . S i m i l a r l y t h e n u m b e r o f Ta m i l i n t e r v i e w e e s w a s l o w, d e s p i t e r e c r u i t m e n t e f f o r t s .

Faith: Almost half of the number of inter viewees (16) had been bor n into Buddhist families, but only ten of the total sample claimed to be practicing B u d d h i s t s . S i m i l a r l y, o f t h e 1 3 i n t e r v i e w e e s w h o h a d been bor n into Christian families, only eight were practicing Christians. The other s were Hindus, atheists, agnostics, or did not identify with any religion. Recr uitment was unsuccessful in the cas e o f M u s l i m respondents.

Education: Four teen inter vie wees had only completed ter tiar y education, eight inter viewees held an undergraduate degree, and 11 had postgraduate qualifications.

Employment: Of the 33 respondents, three were unemployed while 30 were employed in the for mal s e c t o r. I n t e r m s o f m o n t h l y i n c o m e , f o u r i n t e r v i e w e e s ear ned below Rs. 27,500; nine ear ned between Rs. 27,500 45,000; seven ear ned between Rs. 45,000 91,000; and eight ear ned more than Rs. 91,000. Two inter viewees did not have a fixed income. Stakeholder Inter views: Of the 51 stakeholder inter views, seven were conducted with people who wor ked in state agencies; eleven with human rights advocates (inc luding lawyer s and womens rights activists); seven with ser vice providers (including

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mental health and medical health professionals); and 26 with employer s and representatives of media, religious and educational institutions. Time constraints per mitted the analysis of only 30 percent of all stakeholder inter views (i.e. 16 stakeholder inter views), and this limitation may affect the conclusions in this c h a p t e r. H o w e v e r, p a r t i c i p a n t r e c r u i t m e n t w a s d e s i g n e d t o capture a cross section of stakeholder s, including at least one per son from each sub-categor y (i. e . , educat ionis t s, employer s, med ia, r elig io us ). All stakeholder inter views were conducted in either E n g l i s h o r S i n h a l a , a s t h o s e o f Ta m i l e t h n i c i t y p r e f e r r e d to speak in English. The stakeholder inter views illuminated negative social attitudes and myths about homosexuality in Sri Lanka, providing useful insights for advocacy strategies and ser vice improvement. The most common response by stakeholders across the spectrum was the conflation of homosexuality with paedophilia, even in instances where such beliefs contravene professional training, as s t a t e d b y D r. L a k r u w a n , a m e d i c a l h e a l t h p r o f e s s i o n a l : A h o m o s e x u a l p e r s o n a l s o c a n n o t s a y w h o h e i s [ b e open about his sexuality] because it is looked upon with disgust. So all this happens in secret... [and as a r e s u l t ] t h e y [ g a y m e n ] a l s o g o a f t e r s m a l l c h i l d r e n . 8 Another common response was the associat i o n o f homosexuality with HIV/AIDS/STDs :God has made 100 percent sure that if such things exist between men or between women...unidentifiable diseases that have no medicine will be spread.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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8 I n t e r v i e w w i t h D r. L a k r u w a n , M e d i c a l H e a l t h P r o f e s s i o n a l , W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 1 3 A u g u s t 2 0 1 1 .

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

The Quran mentions that those who approve of such things will die of humiliation and blame says Mohomad, a Muslim Maulavi (religious leader of I s l a m ) .9 A third response was that homosexuality was inappropriate and ran counter to the existence of c u l t u r a l a n d r e l i g i o u s s e n s i t i v i t i e s i n t h e c o u n t r y. According to Menika, a school principal who says that she: ...cannot say that it is appropriate when we consider our surroundings (referring to Sinhala and Ta m i l c u l t u r e s ) 10. L B T p e o p l e w e r e a l s o v i e w e d a s people who have some kind of sexual or psychological d i s o r d e r, w h o c a n n o t l i v e i n a n o r m a l w a y. S i n c e t h e y h a v e n o o t h e r c h o i c e , t h e y b e h a v e a s h o m o s e x u a l s . 11

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H o w e v e r, t h e r e i s l i t t l e b a s i s f o r t h i s p e r c e p t i o n in the dominant cultur al scripts. For instance, in Buddhism, the countr ys of ficial r eligion w h i c h i s practised by a majority of Sri Lankans, t h e r e i s no d o c u m e n t e d e v i d e n c e o f t h e B u d d h a p r o f e s s i n g a n y v i e w s a g a i n s t h o m o s e x u a l i t y. 12 T he V i n a y a (monastic r ules for the r eligious order) h o l d s t h a t monks and nuns are not permitted t o p e n e t r a t e a n y bodily orifices with their sexual organs; it d o e s n o t m a k e a d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n h o m o s ex u a l a n d h e t e r o s ex u a l a c t i v i t i e s , a n d t h e r u l e i s o n l y f o r t h o s e who have taken religious vows.
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I n t e r v i e w w i t h M o h o m a d , M u s l i m M a u l a v i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i Lanka, 1 August 2011. 10 I n t e r v i e w w i t h M e n i k a , S c h o o l P r i n c i p a l , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i Lanka, 16 June 2011. 11 I n t e r v i e w w i t h S u d a t h , Re p r e s e n t a t i v e o f a m e d i a i n s t i t u t i o n , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 9 A u g u s t 2 0 1 2 . 12 Bellanvila Sudaththa T her o and Cecil J. Dunne http://gr oundvie ws. org/2007/08/28/homosexuality-buddhism-and-srilankan-society/

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #05 human rights context in Sri Lanka ]


Sri Lanka is a constitutional multipar ty republic, cur r ently gover ned by its Pr esident, Mahinda Rajapakse, who was re-elected to a second six-year ter m in Januar y 2010. Sri Lanka witnessed inter nal ar med conflict for over 30 year s in which the Gover nment of Sri Lanka (GOSL) engaged in a civil war with the Liberation Tiger s o f Ta m i l E e l a m ( L T T E ) w h o w e r e f i g h t i n g f o r a s e p a r a t e state in the Nor th and the East of the island. This conflict claimed the lives of more than 70,000 Sri Lankans and d i s p l a c e d t h o u s a n d s . 13 T h e e v e n t u a l m i l i t a r y d e f e a t o f t h e LT T E i n M ay 2 0 0 9 e n d e d i n a bl o o dy b a t t l e , r e s u l t i n g i n 4 0 , 0 0 0 Ta m i l c i v i l i a n d e a t h s a n d n e a r l y 6 0 , 0 0 0 Ta m i l civilians injured. The Lessons Lear nt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), appointed by the Pr esident in May 2010, is defined as a national accountability mechanism. H o w e v e r, t h e L L R C d o e s n o t m e e t i n t e r n a t i o n a l s t a n d a r d s , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e a r e a o f a c c o u n t a b i l i t y, a n d i s considered deeply flawed by international and intergover nmental human rights organizations for failing to investigate the systematic violations of human rights t h a t o c c u r r e d d u r i n g t h e i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t . 14 T h e f a i l u r e s of the LLRC are indicative of a deeper lack of political w i l l t o a d d r e s s h u m a n r i g h t s v i o l a t i o n s m o r e g e n e r a l l y.

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S e e h t t p : / / w w w. b b c . c o. u k / n e w s / w o r l d - s o u t h - a s i a - 1 1 3 9 3 4 5 8 S e e h t t p : / / w w w . o h c h r. o r g / D o c u m e n t s / H R B o d i e s / H R C o u n c i l / R e g u l a r S e s s i o n / S e s s i o n 2 2 / A - H R C - 2 2 - 3 8 _ e n . p d f a n d h t t p : / / w w w. h r w. o r g / news/2011/12/16/sri-lanka-repor t-fails-advance-accountability

In the aftermath of the conflict, the country still faces the challenge of building a just and peaceful society that recognizes and respects the identities and rights of all people, including women. There have been repor ts of major human rights violations - unlawful killings, disa ppear ances, arbit r ar y ar r es t s, t o r t ur e, and gend er-b as ed violence - committed against civilians, human rights defenders, media personnel and political figures. Such human rights violations, attributed to security forces and government-allied paramilitary groups, c o n t i n u e t o b e r e p o r t e d . 15 T h e n u m b e r o f p r o s e c u t i o n s r e m a i n s l o w a n d c o n v i c t i o n s a r e e v e n l o w e r, e s p e c i a l l y i n c a s e s w h e r e s t a t e o f f i c i a l s s t a n d a c c u s e d. This reflects an overall state of impunity in the countr y which is char acterized by lengthy pr e-trial detention, de nia l o f f air t rial, lac k of inde pend enc e o f t he jud ic iar y, l a c k of accountability measures for conflict-related crimes, l a c k o f a d m i n i s t r a t i o n o f t h e r u l e o f l a w, a n d l a c k o f political will. Repor ts also show restrictions of basic human rights, including the freedom of expression, f r e e d o m o f a s s e m b l y, a n d f r e e d o m o f a s s o c i a t i o n a n d m o v e m e n t . 16 Overall, the States reaction to any for m of dissention has been one of contempt or denial. For instance, during 2011 and immediately t h e r e a f t e r, when a United States r e s o l u t i o n o n S r i L a n k a w a s

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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US Depar tment of State (2011) Human Rights Repor t, Sri Lanka [ o n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : h t t p : / / w w w. s t a t e . g o v / j / d r l / r l s / h r r p t / 2 0 1 1 / sca/186475.html 16 S e e h t t p : / / w w w . o h c h r. o r g / D o c u m e n t s / H R B o d i e s / H R C o u n c i l / R e g u l a r Session/Session22/A-HRC-22-38_en.pdf

p e n d i n g b e f o r e t h e United Nations Human Rights Council scheduled for March 2012, Sri Lankan human rights defenders faced c o n s t a n t t h r e a t s and experienced severe h a r d s h i p .1 7 I n m a n y instances, jour nalists, human rights defender s a n d critics of the gover nment have been labelled as Tiger s (alleging that they suppor t the LTTE), ter rorists, separ atists or tr aitor s. This reaction has had a t r e m e n d o u s n e g a t i v e i m p a c t o n t h e w o r k o f h u m a n r i g h t s d e f e n d e r s. T h e y h a v e b e e n c o m p e l l e d to confine their w o r k t o t h o s e i s s u e s t h a t t h e g o v e r n m e n t d o e s n o t p e r c e i v e a s s e n s i t i v e. 1 8 In ter ms of a broad range of human rights concer ns, journalists face censorship and often life-threatening r i s k s .1 9 W i t h r e g a r d t o d e t e n t i o n , a l a r g e n u m b e r o f Ta m i l s r e m a i n i n r e m a n d w i t h o u t f o r m a l c h a r g e s b e i n g framed against them. In addition, there is a lack of d i s a g g r e g a t e d d a t a i n r e l a t i o n t o e t h n i c i t y, a s t h i s infor mation has not been provided by the authorities, and non-governmental organizations can merely provide varying estimates. A distressing development has been the emergence of extr emist r eligious intoler ance fuelled by a group

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[
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17 S e e J o i n t S t a t e m e n t b y S u n i l a A b e y s e k a r a , N i m a l k a F e r n a n d o and Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, 23 March 2012, Colombo Sri Lanka. Available online at: http:// w w w. s c r i b d . c o m / d o c / 8 6 4 4 0 2 0 3 / j o i n t -statement-sunila-abeysekara-nimalka-fer nando-and-dr-p a i k i a s o thy-saravanamuttu 18 For example, any issues dealing with the conflict or in r elation to p o s t c o n f l i c t h u m a n r i g h t s v i o l a t i o n s a g a i n s t t h e Ta m i l m i n o r i t y a r e deemed sensitive issues by the gover nment. 19 A d a D e r a n a ( Tr u t h F i r s t ) M a r c h 2 0 1 2 [ o n l i n e ] h t t p : / / w w w. a d a d e r a n a . l k / n e w s . p h p ? n i d = 1 7 4 7 3 & m o d e = b e a u t i (Accessed 25 Sept 2012)

o f m i l i t a n t B u d d h i s t s p r i e s t s . 20 N e w f o r m s o f m e d i a s u c h as Twitter and Facebook have been used to spr ead the gr o u p s i n t o l e r a n c e o f M u s l i m s a n d i n s t i l a f e a r psychosis among the greater population. Many speculate that the last concluded census in 2011 showed a rapid growth in the bir th rates of Muslims, and this is a reactionary measure. T h o u g h t h e i r a c t i v i s m h a s b e e n l a r g e l y t a r g e t e d at minority ethnicities and religions, they enjoy the tacit s u p p o r t o f t h e g o v e r n m e n t i n s p r e a d i n g m a j o r i t y Sinhala / Buddhist propaganda. In their effor ts to spread hatespeech against Muslims, they have called for Sri Lankan laws to be changed to per mit a Sinhalese man to wed five women in order to propagate the Sinhala race. This fear psychosis with regard to Muslims outnumbering Sinhalese has repor tedly lead to a government communiqu being issued to state hospitals preventing all for ms of voluntar y, ir rever sible family planning methods f r o m b e i n g a d m i n i s t e r e d u n l e s s d o n e f o r medical pur poses. NGOs wor king in the areas of contr ace ption, sexual health and family planning have repor ted being instr ucted by the gover nment to c e a s e t h e i r o u t r e a c h w o r k i n t h i s f i e l d .21 T he inde pendence of the Police Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Judiciar y was compromised by t h e p a s s a ge o f t h e 1 8 t h A m e n d m e n t t o t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n , which resulted in presidential appointments being made t o t h e r e l a t e d p u b l i c i n s t i t u t i o n s . P r e v i o u s l y, t h e 1 7 t h Amendment to the Constitution (and Section 2 of the

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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20 F o r m o r e d e t a i l s s e e h t t p : / / g r o u n d v i e w s . o r g / 2 0 1 3 / 0 1 / 1 5 / bodu-bala-sena-and-buddhisms-militant-face-in-sri-lanka/and http://groundviews.org/2013/03/19/bodu-bala-sena-a-threat-tos r i - l a n k a s - f u t u r e / a n d h t t p : / / w w w. l a n k a s t a n d a r d . c o m / 2 0 1 3 / 0 1 / t h e muslims-are-the-new-tamils/ 21 For mor e details see: http://dbsjeyar aj.com/dbsj/ar c hives/15219

(Act) provided that the member s of the Human Rights Commission would be appointed by the Pr esident on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which came into effect on 9 Se pt ember 2010, es t a blis hed a Par liament ar y Co unc il c o m p r i s e d o f t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r, t h e S p e a k e r o f t h e Par liament, the Leader of the Opposition, a Member of P a r l i a m e n t n o m i n a t e d b y t h e P r i m e M i n i s t e r, a n d a Member of Par liament nominated by the Leader of the Opposition. The President now has to s e e k t h e obser vations of a Par liamentar y Council (not obtain its approval) in making appointments to the Human Rights Commission. This situation of general impunity and lack of judicial independence has made LBT people and sexual minorities in ge n e r a l b o t h m o r e v u l n e r a bl e a n d i nv i s i bl e . T h e i r v u l n e r a b i l i t y and invisibility ar e compounded when sexuality inter sects with membership in another disadvantaged grou p. Fo r e x a m p l e , m a ny l e s b i a n , g ay, b i s ex u a l a n d t r a n s ge n d e r ( L G B T ) g r o u p s r e p o r t a l a c k o f Ta m i l m e m b e r s h i p. I n shor t, it is clear that the human rights crisis facing the country creates a complex context in which sexual minorities find it even more difficult to effectively a d v o c a t e f o r t h e i r r i g h t s . 22
As in other South Asian countries, politicians and other public figures in Sri Lanka often dismiss same-sex r elations as a Wester n w ay of life in order to justify the continued criminalization of sexual activities between consenting adults even in private spaces. For example in August 2008, the Sri Lankan gover nment hosted the 8th Inter national Conference of AIDS in the Asia Pacific (ICAAP). In spite of the gover nment taking this initiative to host this event which included many s e s s i o n s o n s e x u a l i t y, s e x u a l h e a l t h a n d t h e r i g h t s o f s e x u a l m i n o r i t i e s , at the end of the conference in response to a comment raised on the unavailability of condoms for par ticipants of the conference by the I C A A P r a p p o r t e u r, t h e M i n i s t e r o f H e a l t h i s q u o t e d a s r e p l y i n g I d o n t want people to think I brought all of these people here to promote l e s b i a n i s m a n d h o m o s e x u a l i t y. T h e r e a r e m a n y n i c e w o m e n a n d h a n d s o m e men in Sri Lanka. People in South Asia pr actice good sexual behaviour with single par tner s. When the Wester n wor ld w as li ving in the jungles, we wer e leading a civilised life. See Fer nando, M. (2008) Va g r a n t Vo i c e s , H i m a l S o u t h A s i a , Vo l . 2 1 ( 3 ) , [ O n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : h t t p : / / w w w. h i m a l m a g . c o m / Va g r a n t - v o i c e s _ n w 2 1 3 8 . h t m l

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #06 violence and discrimination by non-state actors ]


a. E m o t i o n a l V i o l e n c e 23 All LBT people inter viewed for this study repor ted experiencing emotional violence. As mentioned in the introduction, LBT people experience this violence more intensely due to lack of suppor t systems. Given that it is customar y for Sri Lankans to live with their families until mar riage (and at times, even in the post-mar riage period), this domestic setup can add to the pressure on LBT per sons who are already facing emotional violence. It is not uncommon therefore for lesbians, bisexual women and tr ansgender people to use employment or education a s a r e a s o n t o l e a v e h o m e ( s e e C h a p t e r 9 ( c ) o n A c t i v e / Activist Responses for a more detailed account of this).

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Emotional Violence is defined as: a ter m often inter-changeably used with mental and psychological abuse. Some inter viewees might b e m o r e c o m f o r t a b l e c a l l i n g i t a v i o l a t i o n o f t h e i r s p i r i t o r d i g n i t y. What is impor tant in this research are the behaviours or actions that are experienced as emotionally / psychologically / mentally / spiritually violative. The types of actions or behaviours that constitute emotional abuse in this research are: verbal abuse (insults, taunts, swearing, put downs / personally demeaning comments, allegations of abnormality); threats (to harm self or other s, to abandon, evict, imprison, disclose sexual identity to other s, etc); controlling actions (for example, restricting socialising w i t h f a m i l y / f r i e n d s / n e i g h b o u r s ; i n v a d i n g p r i v a c y, e n t e r i n g per sonal space); silent hostility (for example non-verbal behaviour s t h a t e x p r e s s c o n t e m p t f o r, d e n i a l o f a n d / o r n o n - a c c e p t a n c e o f g e n d e r identity and sexual expression), neglect, (for example, withholding financial suppor t, denying human contact).

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

There are different trigger s to when emotional violence o c c u r s . H o w e v e r, e m o t i o n a l v i o l e n c e w a s a c o m m o n occur rence mostly in connection with the discover y of an individuals sexual orientation or gender identity or in relation to an individuals coming out experience (where a per son revealed her sexuality or gender identity). In a few cases, the violence was linked to the inter viewee being a woman, where the per petr ator had k n o w l e d ge o f t h e p e r s o n s s ex u a l o r i e n t a t i o n . Who per petr ates emotional violence varies. Often, the per petrator s were the respondents family member s or the respondents par tners family member s. In some cases, t h e v i o l e n c e w a s p e r p e t r a t e d by a n ex - p a r t n e r, a n ex - p a r t n e r o f a c u r r e n t p a r t n e r, o r a p e e r. A f e w i n t e r v i e w e e s h a d experienced violence or threat of violence from str anger s. T he ways that LBT individuals experience the har a s s m e n t , humiliation, power and control associated with emotional v i o l e n c e w e r e m a n y. This violence primarily involved an invasion of privacy (mor e than 3/4ths - r epor ted by 26 of the 33 r espondents); non-verbal or silent contempt and hostility (more than half - r epor ted by 19 of the r espondents); and emotional manipulation (mor e than half - r e por ted by 18 r espondents).

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M o r e t h a n h a l f, ( 1 8 r e s p o n d e n t s ) r e p o r t e d e x p e r i e n c i n g restrictions on socializing, such as their phone calls and letters being monitored; having curfews imposed on them when their sexuality became suspect; being chaperoned when leaving the house; and being confined to t h e h o u s e d u e t o t h e i r s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n o r g e n d e r i d e n t i t y. Approximately 1/3rd (13) had been forced to end their same-sex relationships, and 1/3rd (13) believed that their sexual orientation or gender identity was met with silent hostility or was invisiblized in one way or another (for example, they were treated as if they were not in the room and/or were spoken about in the third person). Inter viewees repor ted facing a high degree of peer teasing that often escalated into verbal h a r a s s m e n t a n d b u l l y i n g, i n a d d i t i o n t o i n t e n t i o n al emotional abuse from peer s, teacher s, wor k co l l e a g u e s , super visor s, friends, and state actor s. DKS, a 28-year-old feminine lesbian, lives with her soft bu t c h p a r t n e r i n a s u bu r b o f C o l o m b o. S h e s p o k e o f their experience of facing pr ying eyes and contempt at a p l a c e o f w o r s h i p. S h e s a i d , I g o t o c h u r c h a n d t h e n I s t a n d t h e r e a n d I t h i n k . . . y o u k n o w, a l l t h e s e p e o p l e a r e staring at us, they clear ly know that were a gay couple o r w e r e a l i t t l e o u t o f t h e o r d i n a r y, a n d I a m s u r e s o m e o f t h e m t h i n k , W h a t t h e h e l l a r e t h e y d o i n g h e r e ? 24

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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24 I n t e r v i e w w i t h D K S , W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 1 8 S e p t e m b e r 2010.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

One inter viewee spoke of the non-verbal contempt dir ected towards her by her pr evious par tners par ents. Chandani is 39 year s old, lives in Colombo, a n d identifies as a feminine/soft butch lesbian. She spoke a b o u t h e r e x - p a r t n e r s f a m i l y, w h o f e l t t h a t s he w a s s poiling (r uining) t heir d aug ht er and r es p o nd ed by r endering her invisible. She said, T hat has happened to me a lot The parents refused to acknowledge me at a l l , e v e n t h o u g h I h a d d i n n e r w i t h t h e m . 25 Twenty-one-year-old Dhammi, a Sinhala Buddhist and a r e s i d e n t o f a C o l o m b o s u bu r b, d o e s n o t w a n t t o u s e a s pecific t er m t o ident ify her s ex ual o rient at io n; inste a d, s h e p r e f e r s t o s t a y w i t h b o t h a n d d e s c r i b e s h e r gender identity as being in the middle. Dhammi spoke about how her brother had emotionally manipulated or blackmailed her once he found out that she was a lesbian. She said, He told me that he will not speak to me if I continued my relationship with my gir lfriend. He a l s o t h r e a t e n e d t o i n f o r m o u r p a r e n t s a b o u t i t . 26 Chamila is 36 year s old and lives with her parents i n a C o l o m b o s u b u r b. S h e i d e n t i f i e s a s a l e s b i a n a n d prefers dressing in masculine attire. She referred to an incident where her mother had taken her to a mental health professional to try and cure her gender non-confor mity and her lesbianism. She said, [My mother] said she was taking me to the doctors for my headache. I was wondering what headache I had I d i d n t s ay a ny t h i n g t h e n , bu t l a t e r I r e a l i z e d t h a t s h e h a d t a k e n m e t o a m e n t a l d o c t o r [ p s y c h o l o g i s t ] . 27
25 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a n d a n i , W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 17 November 2010. 26 I n t e r v i e w w i t h D h a m m i , W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 19 January 2011. 27 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a m i l a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 8 August 2011.

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i . Ve r b a l A b u s e
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Verbal a buse, a specific means of belittling and demeaning someone thr ough a bar r a ge o f i n s u l t s , derogator y comments and hate speech , w a s a c o m m o n e x p e r i e n c e a c r o s s a l l a g e g r o u p s . Pe r p e t r a t o r s o f v e r b a l abuse ranged from family member s to neighbour s, o t h e r m e m b e r s o f t h e L G B T c o m m u n i t y, e x - p a r t n e r s , employer s,a n d p r o s p e c t i v e employer s. K u m a i s 4 7 - y e a r s - o l d a n d l i v e s i n a s u b u r b o f C o l o m b o. S h e i d e n t i f i e s a s a l e s b i a n a n d s a y s s h e p r e f e r s m e n s c a s u a l w e a r. S h e s p o k e t o u s a b o u t t h e s t r e e t - b a s e d verbal harassment she faced as a result of her masculine gender expression. She said, Once when I was walking in Pettah with a gir l I w as holding her hand, honestly b e c a u s e s h e w a s m y f r i e n d a n d I d i d n t w a n t h e r t o get lost in the crowd. Then I heard one guy s a y, H e y m a c h a n g 2 8 , I h a v e n t h a d a n A a p p a 2 9 i n a l o n g t i m e , h o p e I g e t o n e t o d a y. 3 0 Chandani spoke about a specific incident where she and her par tner at the time wer e verbally abused by some neighbour s. She said, I was seeing this gir l, and I went to her house, and it was late at night, maybe eleven or twelve [midnight] and we went into her house. As soon as we shut the gate, some guys from the top of the road came and banged on her gate a n d s t a r t e d s h o u t i n g A a p p a , A a p p a a t u s . 3 1

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M a c h a n g C o l l o q u i a l S i n h a l a t e r m f o r m a t e / f r i e n d / b u d d y. Aappa Sinhala derogator y slang for lesbian. Also a bowl shaped pancake made of rice flour that is usually consumed for breakfast o r d i n n e r. 30 I n t e r v i e w w i t h K u m a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 1 0 M ay 2 0 1 1 31 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a n d a n i , W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 17 November 2010.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Some individuals inter viewed for this project repor ted that because of their sexual orientation of gender expression, they were perceived as sick and in need of a cure. For instance, Skinner is 34 year s old and li ves in Colombo. Biologically female, he describes his sexual orientation and gender identity in two words: straight g u y. H e s a i d , I f s o m e o n e f i n d s m e o d d , y o u k n o w, t h e y d s a y n a m e s . I v e b e e n c a l l e d p o n n a y a , 32 o r t h e y w o u l d s a y, i s t h i s a m a n o r w o m a n . His mother has been forcibly taking him to religious/ medical men. He said, Sri Lankan Buddhists are like 90 per cent Hindus, and they all go to these places - you know for tune teller s and horoscope and stuff like that, and they also have another per son, or the same per son, giving ayur vedic medicine [herbal medicine] at the same p l a c e . S o I w a s t a k e n t o t h a t p l a c e l a s t m o n t h a l s o. 3 3 Four teen inter vie wees said that their sexual orientation or gender identity was revealed without their consent to other people such as friends, families, the public-atlarge (i.e. through media), other students at education institutes, colleagues, and unknown bystander s, r esulting in their being made more vulner able to the possibility of losing employment, family suppor t, housing, and more. A total of 21 inter vie wees r e por ted being verbally threatened with personal harm or harm to loved ones. The verbal threats were communicated directly to the victims or to someone associated with the victims. Physical violence such as slapping and punching accompanied verbal threats in fifteen cases.

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32 Ponnaya - Sinhala slang for ef feminate man. 3 3 I n t e r v i e w w i t h S k i n n e r, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 7 O c t o b e r 2011.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

T w e n t y - n i n e - y e a r o l d A n u , a Ta m i l b i s e x u a l w o m a n , explained to us that she has experienced threats from people who say that they will castr ate [my] friends. That they would beat us up with hockey sticks, set u s o n f i r e , t h o s e k i n d s o f t h i n g s h a v e b e e n t o l d . 34 Chamila said that her par tners family had neither met her n o r s a i d a n y t h i n g d i r e c t l y t o h e r, bu t a p p a r e n t l y t h e y h a v e s a i d [ t o m y p a r t n e r ] t h a t i f t h e y m e e t m e t h e y w i l l s l a p m e . 35 I n J u l y 1 9 9 9 w h e n t h e Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p a n n o u n c e d its intention of holding a conference for lesbians, it was met with fierce public opposition. One of these p r o t e s t s c a m e i n t h e f o r m o f a L e t t e r t o t h e E d i t o r, published by the English language n e w s p a p e r, The Island, which went so far as to advocate the rape of women attending the confer ence by a team of convicted r a p i s t s . W h e n a c o m p l a i n t w a s f i l e d a g a i n s t t h e n e w s p a p e r, the Press Council of Sri Lanka defended the newspaper a n d c o n d e m n e d l e s b i a n i s m a s s a d i s t i c a n d s a l a c i o u s . 36

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3 4 I n t e r v i e w w i t h A n u , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 1 3 M ay 2 0 1 1 3 5 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a m i l a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 8 O c t o b e r 2011. 3 6 Fe r n a n d o M . ( 2 0 0 8 ) Va g r a n t v o i c e s , H i m a l S o u t h A s i a , Vo l , 2 1 ( 3 ) , [online].Available from : http://himalmag.com/component/content/ ar tic le/1010-v agr ant-voices.html (accessed Feb 2013)

ii.Violence of cultur al nor m/gender nor m enfor cement


Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Twelve out of 33 inter views highlighted the constant pressures that butch lesbians and transgender people face in having to perfor m and live according to culturally expected gender nor ms - from being forced t o m a r r y, t o h a v i n g t o w e a r p a r t i c u l a r c l o t h e s a n d maintaining cer tain hairstyles - all of w hic h wer e experienced as psyc holo gical and emotional v i o l e n c e . Cultural and gender norm enforcement was also experienced as violence when inter viewees were quizzed about their gender identity when using public t o i l e t s . S i m i l a r l y, s o m e i n t e r v i e w e e s w e r e f o r c e d t o keep their sense of self secret and not look too gay in order to keep the family reputation intact. Some interviewees also spoke of being denied jobs or promotions on the basis of their gender expression -not looking feminine enough - and losing employment because their identty cards did not match their appearance. b. Physical Violence

Inter view analysis established a cr ucial finding, c hief ly that the family and domestic space were two key (related) f a ctor s t hat , fir s t , s ha ped how LB T p eo p le v ie w ed p hys ical violence a g ainst them, and, second, whether or not they repor ted the violence. (For mor e infor mation about repor ting violence, see Chapter 08, Access to Redress). Twelve out of 33 inter viewees spoke of on-going p hy s i c a l v i o l e n c e i n t h e i r l i v e s . 37 T w e n t y - s i x o u t o f 3 3 i n t e r v i e w e e s shar ed stories of physical abuse. Of these 26 r epor t s o f batter y, twelve wer e mild incidents and four teen wer e se v e r e .

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3 7 During the inter views, if there were any inter viewees who were either experiencing ongoing violence or who were feeling troubled/ d e p r e s s e d a f t e r t h e i n t e r v i e w, t h e r e s e a r c h e r s c o n d u c t i n g t h e inter views were advised by the WSG to offer the name and number of a designated therapist who would be available to meet with any of the respondents.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Per petr ator s included immediate family member s, strangers, peers, par tners, ex-par tners, a n d n e i g h b o u r s . S i g n i f i c a n t l y, t w e l v e s u c h incidents were cases of partner violence. DKS recalled an incident where she was at a nightclub dancing with her p a r t n e r. S h e s a i d , Yo u k n o w p e o p l e g e n e r a l l y t e n d t o s t a r e a n y w a y, w h e n w e d a n c e t h e r e . . . a n d t h i s g u y a c t u a l l y, l i k e , c a m e , y o u k n o w , and stepped on my foot or rubbed shoulders with me...and I think he did it on purpose because I think he was quite tickled that I was dancing with a girl that looked like a guy I think he wanted to start a f i g h t , b e c a u s e m y p a r t n e r a n d I l o o k e d g a y. 38 Thir ty-four-year old Sandra identifies as a lesbian/dyke and views her self as a masculine female. She spoke about being accosted by a group of strangers at the car park of a popular nightclub in Colombo because they had noticed her dancing with a girl. She said, I r e m e m b e r t w o g u y s h o l d i n g m e f r o m m y s h o u l d e r, pinning me down from my shoulder against the wall and hitting me in my stomach. I remember breaking loose, hitting one guy in the face, and I cracked his lip and thats what g o t t h e m t o g o, W h o a ! Yo u k n o w, s h e s n o t gonna take it lying down.When they knew I was not going to stop fighting back, they r a n o f f a n d I j u s t g o t i n t o a t u k t u k . 39 Chamila spoke to us about how she was beaten b y her father at the age of 25, when her family found out that she was a lesbian.
38 39 Inter view with 18 September Inter view with 18 September DKS, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 2010. Sandr a, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 2010.

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c.
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Sexual Violence

Inter view data revealed that 18 out of 33 inter viewees had f a c ed s ome for m of s ex ual v io lenc e. Ex p eriences o f sexual v i o l e n c e r a n g e d f r o m r a p e t o s e x u a l a s s a u l t . Family member s, friends, employer s or superior s, unknown per sons, and colleagues wer e the per petr ator s. To t h r e a t e n s o m e o n e w i t h r a p e i s t o m a k e s o m e o n e f e e l u n s a f e i n t h e i r o w n b o dy, i n t h e i r m o s t f u n d a m e n t a l a n d i n t i m a t e s e n s e o f s e l f. F o r i n s t a n c e , R o s h m i i s a 39-year-old, lesbian-identified woman who cur r ently l i v e s w i t h h e r p a r t n e r i n a s u b u r b i n C o l o m b o. W h e n she and her par tner were living in the Nor th Central Province, she said, Even the neighbour s who were friendly towards us had said they would forcibly r ape us, once they found out that they were a lesbian c o u p l e . 40 E v e n t h o u g h t h i s t h r e a t w a s n o t c a r r i e d o u t , Roshmi and her par tner lived in constant fear and were e v e n t u a l l y f o r c e d t o m o v e t o C o l o m b o f o r t h e i r o w n s a f e t y. O n e w o m a n s b o y f r i e n d u s e d h e r p a s t l e s b i a n e x p e r i e n c e s t o h e l p j u s t i f y r e p e a t e d l y r a p i n g h e r. Twenty-eight-year-old Christy (identifies as a bisexual with a feminine gender expression) described how her boyfriend at the time forced her to have sex with him. She said,It was like 24/7 sex for him, and I felt that, y o u k n o w, h e w a s r a p i n g m e . H e f o r c e d m e t o h a v e s e x w i t h h i m . . . e v e n i f I s a i d n o t o t h a t , y o u k n o w, h e u s e d

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Inter vie w with Roshmi, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 6 January 2012.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

to push me into it and ask me Why? if I r efuse, and s a y t h i n g s l i k e , Yo u d o n t l i k e m e a n y m o r e , Yo u d o n t love me anymore, But I need it; something like that. He also used to tell me to imagine that I was with my gir lfriend. And he used to tell me Im going to do you so t h a t , y o u k n o w, s h e c a n w a t c h o r s o m e t h i n g l i k e t h a t . 4 1 Sri Lankan law specifically excludes marital r ape from criminal sanctions, contributing to a situation where rape in intimate relationships is considered less serious than stranger r ape. In this instance, Christys past erotic bonds with women wer e r eadily exploitable, objectified by the male gaze as lurid pornographic fantasies of two women t o g e t h e r. T h i s s h o u l d n o t b e f o r g o t t e n , j u s t a s m u c h as the physical violence, since what was manifest more than anything (according to her inter view) was his sense of unquestionable male and heterosexual prerogative over her-that he could asser t his desires and make her experiences and will, subordinate to his needs. H is 23 year s old and identifies as gay. Her gender expression is masculine. H spoke to us about an incident of unwanted sexual touching when she w a s o n h e r w a y h o m e f r o m a n i g h t c l u b. S h e s a i d , I was going home in a trishaw after par tying at A m u s e u m 42, a n d t h i s t r i s h a w d r i v e r s t a r t e d t a l k i n g t o m e . S i n c e I l o o k l i k e a b o y, u s u a l l y n o t h i n g h a p p e n s . But I think this time this guy kind of [may have] figured out that I was a gir l [but wanted to make sur e coz I didn t look like a gir l].

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h r i s t y, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , Sri Lanka, 16 Febr uar y 2011 A popular nightclub in Colombo.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

S o h e w a s b e i n g w e i r d . I g a v e h i m f i v e h u n d r e d r u p e e s , 43 and my house is ver y close to Amuseum, like walking distance. So it would have only cost like a hundred r upees or something. Maybe he thought I w as a gay boy or something like that. So it was pretty weird. And he was like, Malli katata gannawada, ethakota dennam ( Yo u n g e r b r o t h e r, g i v e m e a b l o w j o b, a n d I l l g i v e y o u y o u r c h a n g e ) . I w a s l i k e , P a n s e e y a a r a n y a n n a ( Ta k e the 500 r upees and leave). He just grabbed me from t h e h a n d a n d a l m o s t f e l t m e u p. I j u s t r a n a w a y. 4 4 This incident highlights the vulnerability to violence of those who do not fit into the nor mative binar y gender categories of male or female. Despite her subver sive gender presentation, Hs sense of safety also comes from being perceived to be one or the other - u s u a l l y male. This might not be so ironic in the light of this incident w her e it appear s that the uncer tainty of H s g e n d e r was made capital o f - i n f a c t m a d e t h e o c c a s i o n o f an a t t e m p t t o s e x u a l l y e x p l o i t h e r. T h e p r e c i s e m o t i v e s o f the tuk t uk dri ver ar e unc lear ( w h e t h e r p u r e l y c o m m e r c i a l o r sexual or both), but his behaviour is clear ly oppor tunistic. This illustr ates how it is possible to exploit gender ambiguity (quite profitably) in a societal context where the nor m is to confor m to demarcated categories of male and female. Those who are clear ly neither one nor the other are always already aware of their vulner ability to such exploitation, and of the fact that there is little or no recour se but escape.

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43 Approximately equal to USD $5. 44 Inter vie w with H, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 12 Febr uar y 2011.

A similar experience w as r ecounted by Indr ani, a 32 year o l d l e s b i a n r e s i d e n t o f a C o l o m b o s u b u r b. I n d r a n i v i e w s her gender identity as being in the middle-neither feminine nor masculine. She spoke to us about an incident where she had been subjected to sexual har assment a s a r e s u l t o f h e r g e n d e r n o n - c o n f o r m i t y. O n e d a y a m a n c a m e a n d s q u e e z e d m y b r e a s t s . We h a d gone to a car nival. A few boys were joking at us from a d i s t a n c e . We w e r e t h e r e w i t h l o t s o f o u r f r i e n d s [ w h e n t h i s h a p p e n e d ] . B u t w h e n I l o o k e d b a c k I d i d n t k n o w w h o h a d d o n e i t . We w e r e i n t h e m i d s t o f a c r o w d . Inter viewer : Do you think it happened because y o u l o o k e d d i f f e r e n t ? Indrani: Ye s ! T h e y c a n t b e a r u s . We w e a r s h o e s a n d j e a n s a n d w e s m o k e . 4 5 As in Hs case, Indr ani also faced sexual har assment because her gender expression was neither feminine nor masculine. She was groped sexually by a str anger who not only wished to e s t a bl i s h h e r ge n d e r i d e n t i t y, bu t a l s o w i s h e d t o c o nv ey t h e messa ge that she and her friends wer e being c losely w atc hed.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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Inter vie w with Indr ani, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 28 April 2011.

d.
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Intimate Par tner Violence

Intimate par tner violence (IPV) spanned emotional, physical and sexual violence. Because of the stigma associated with homosexuality and tr ansgenderism in Sri Lanka, intimate par tner violence in LBT relationships is enor mously difficult to gr apple with: when ones par tner becomes abusive, it can seem impossible to seek help. When one is bisexual and with an opposite-sex par tner, ones past homosexual experiences can be used against them. While 26 out of 33 inter viewees had faced physical violence from an intimate par tner, 11 out of the 26 had experienced emotional, physical and/or sexual violence at the hands of their par tner s. For some, intimate par tner violence happened on a single occasion, and the individual managed to br eak fr ee. Achini, 36, identifies as a lesbian and is a resident of a Colombo suburb. She spoke to us about how her br eak-up with her same-sex par tner led to her being subject to physical violence and being confined to a room for a couple of hour s. I was in a room, and [she] came in, and she locked the room so that I couldnt go out. Because I was not talking to her... she locked the room so that I couldnt go out. She thr ew me on the bed...she wasnt r ational. And I think she was also ver y dr unk. So my reply was that we would talk in the mor ning... but she wouldnt accept it. So then she wouldnt let me leave the room [and physically restr ained me]. And I had to be... r escued pr actically. The door had to be... opened forcibly by other s and she had to be forced [to let go of me]. 46 For other s, violence w as c hr onic. For instance, Sandr a spoke about the physical and emotional violence she faced in a

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Inter vie w with Ac hini, Women s suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 4 April 2011, The phr asing in square br ackets were requested by Achini because she felt more specific description would enable identification of people involved in the incident.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

thr ee-year relationship. She said, She w as mainly ver y jealous, ver y jealous, and ver y possessive, like I couldnt look at someone. Someone looked at me, [and] I d get slapped. If she w as having a bad time at home or at wor k and if I got like five minutes late to get home, she d accuse me of scr e wing ar ound. And she d get violent, she d thr ow things at me, she d c law me, she d bite me, she head-butted me and br oke my nose but I w as in that r elationship for thr ee and a half year s. 47 For other s, violence would er upt in conjunction with the abusers c hr onic s ubs t ance us e. K amala, a 59-year-o ld w o m an a n d a r esident of a Colombo suburb, describes her sexual orientation as something that moved from heterosexuality to lesbianism. K amala spoke to us about her second r elationship, which she described as being very abusive. She recalled, In my stupidity I had believed that alcoholism is something that you can c u r e by loving people ... and so... I was not able to stop the alcoholism... even though I tried, and the per son was a ver y violent alcoholic.... and tried to har m her self as well as me, as well as other s in the vicinity, and that was r eally disastrous. 48 Christy shared her experience of a r elationship with a guy who knew that she was bisexual. She said, Once I went out for this Ladys Night [themed par ty] and came home, and the fir st question that he asked was With whom did you sleep? And I said What do you mean? He was like Obviously you were with your friends, and you know no guys can get into that club. So with whom did you sleep? I said Nobody. T hen he slapped me, and that was it for the r elationship... it was mor e like a big slap on my face and he, you know, tried to choke me. 49

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Inter vie w with Sandr a, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 18 September 2010. 48 Inter vie w with K amala, Womens Suppor t Gr oup, Sri Lanka, 31 May 2011. 49 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h r i s t y, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 16 Fe br uar y 2011.

Although Section 23 of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act of 2005 50 allows for cohabiting par tner s to seek r edr ess through the Act, none of the above inter viewees r epor ted any of these incidents to the police due to the fact that they wer e all in same-sex relationships, and adult consensual same-sex sexual activity can be read as being criminalized under Section 365A of the Penal Code. 51 The Domestic Violence Act has not been tested against 365A, although 365A cover s a whole r ange of acts including sexual acts between heterosexuals. Historically, 365A tar geted gay men and men who have sex with men. Since the language of this law was amended to criminalize lesbianism in 1995, the ambiguity fur ther deter s women experiencing violence in same-sex relationships from filing complaints or seeking protection order s. e. Discrimination at the Workplace

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

For the pur pose of this research discrimination is consider ed as violence if the discriminator y acts result in violence. For example: as in the following instances: If the act of discrimination causes physical or psychological har m, or increases the severity or frequency of physical violence; If the discrimination compounds a situation that ends up causing or leading to violence; If the discrimination contributes to par ticular types of violence and / or invites cer tain types of violator s; If discrimination becomes the justification for violence by state and private actor s; and If discrimination ser ves as a r ationale for the states inaction when violence occur s; If discrimination results in institutional mistr eatment of

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T he Pr e vention of Domestic Violence Act No. 34 of 2005 is available online: h t t p : / / w w w. d o c u m e n t s . g o v. l k / A c t s / 2 0 0 5 / Prevention%20Act%20No.%2034%20of%202005/H%20 22927%20Prevention%20(E).pdf Section 3 65A of the Penal Code (Amendment) No. 22 of 2005 i s a v a i l a b l e o n l i n e : h t t p : / / w w w. a i d s c o n t r o l . g o v. l k / w e b / W e b % 2 0 uploads/Policy%20or%20Law/Penal%20Code%20(Amendment)%20Act,%20No.%2022%20of%201995.pdf

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Four inter viewees spoke about experiences of emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the wor kplace as a r e sult o f dis criminat ion a g ain s t t hem . Christy spoke about how her CEO had sexually har assed her and summoned her to his cubicle after wor k hour s, despite her r epeated refusals. This situation was exacerbated after one of her Director s had outed her to the CEO, who then invited her to perfor m sexual acts with other women for his viewing pleasure. Said Christy, He came up with this idea that he ll introduce me to another gir l and wanted to know whether he could watch while I had sex with her. And it was ver y sickening... and because of that r eason I wanted to leave my job. Because when he got to know that I love women more than men, then he always kept coming up with ideas such as these. Ever y time I see him... I just want to r un because I know that even he is just looking at me, he looks at me in a ver y odd way... And then sometimes, you know, since he has my mobile number, he would text me saying How is your gir lfriend? or Can you send pictures of her? and How ar e your private par ts? and things like that... I was so har assed and mentally down and I r eally didnt want to wor k. And you know, in my office, people just gossip and if you dont sleep with the manager, you dont get anything. You dont get salar y incr ements, you dont get promotions, nothing. So Im stuck in the same place as a customer car e per son; I wor k like a dog and I dont get salar y incr ements because of the r eason that I dont sleep around. And in my office, from the security guard to the management, they all want to know details about my per sonal life and the situation is so bad... I cant tell them or introduce my gir lfriend as my par tner because then they want to know if they can join or if they can watch. 52

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h r i s t y, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 16 Fe br uar y 2011.

Christys experience of sexual harassment at wor k is n o t u n c o m m o n f o r m a n y w o m e n . H o w e v e r, i t w a s c l e a r l y exacerbated by the fact of her being a bisexual woman who was at the time in a relationship with a woman. This made it all the more difficult for her to access any for mal redress without being subject to fur ther harassment and abuse simply because she was not a heterosexual woman.This was also compounded by the fact that most public and private wor k place sexual harassment policies do not include harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation. Indr ani, who views her gender identity as being in the middle neither feminine nor masculine is a 32-year o l d l e s b i a n r e s i d e n t i n a s u b u r b o f C o l o m b o. S h e r e p o r t e d t h a t she had faced discrimination at her previous wor kplace i n r e l a t i o n t o e m p l o y e e h o u s i n g . S h e s a i d , When we are wor king, boys and gir ls all wor k together. But when it comes to sleeping, bathing and reser ving rooms, the management separates us from the other gir ls, saying that we are abnor mal. They (the other gir ls) do not like to stay with us. Because they dont like us, we have been given separate places. 5 3 Skinner pointed out that, many times, his FTM (Femaleto-Male) status affects his chances of finding s u i t a b l e employment. He said, On all my documentation, my name is different [feminine] and my gender is different [masculine]. So when I appear in front of them [prospective employer s], its someone else they see. So some

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h I n d r a n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, Sri Lanka, 28 April 2011.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

p e o p l e f i n d b a d e x c u s e s s a y i n g , s o r r y w e c a n t h i r e y o u or we will let you know. But some have been really r udesaying things like, you can never get a job like [looking like] this! or why ar e you dr essing like a m a n ? o r w h y c a n t y o u b e n o r m a l ? 5 4 Chamila, a state sector employee spoke of discrimination and sexual harassment at the hands of her super visors on two separate occasions. In the fir st instance, one of her super visor s (approximately 59-year s-old) asked her to have sex with his wife, who he claimed was also a lesbian. He called me to be him that I was not a behind any old woman and fulfil each ones wish and with his wife. I told per son who would go that I was not ready to t h a t I d i d n t l i k e i t . 55

H e h a d a l s o o f f e r e d t o g r a n t h e r a j o b t r a n s f e r. Chamila was stationed out of Colombo at the time and w anted to be tr ansfer r ed to Colombo. Her super visor used this to demand sexual favour s, in this instance, using his wife to rationalize the sexual harassment. In this case, sexual harassment took the for m of being refused a job transfer as well as being overlooked for promotion, because she was unwilling to provide s e x u a l f a v o u r s t o h e r s u p e r v i s o r. Chamila also spoke of how another super visor had directed verbal abuse at her after someone at her workplace had outed her [to him].

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h S k i n n e r, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , Sri Lanka, 07 October 2011. 55 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a m i l a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, Sri Lanka, 08 August 2011.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

A p p a r e n t l y . . . s o m e o n e h a d t o l d s o m e t a l e a b o u t me. So he called me and scolded me in front of about four or five other s. He used some swear words and t h e w o r d A a p p a . 5 6 Gover nment authorities have not adopted any for mal policies on sexual harassment in the wor kplace. While there is no standardized sexual har rasment policy for t h e c o r p o r a t e s e c t o r e i t h e r, i t s s e e n a s a p r o g r e s s i v e mechanism which companies develop and adopt. N o n e o f t h e m h o w e v e r, e x p l i c i t l y h a v e p r o v i s i o n s that prevent harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a m i l a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, Sri Lanka, 8 August 2011.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #07 violence and discrimination by state actors]


The inter views revealed that 13 out of 33 inter viewees had experienced violence from state officials, mainly the s e c u r i t y f o r c e s a n d t h e p o l i c e . Vi o l e n c e c o m m i t t e d by s t a t e o f f i c i a l s r e n d e r s l e s b i a n s , b i s ex u a l w o m e n a n d t r a n s ge n d e r p e o p l e v u l n e r a bl e i n p a r t i c u l a r w ay s. Fo r i n s t a n c e , i n s u c h c a s e s, r e p o r t i n g t h e v i o l e n c e i s n o t a str aightforward option because of fear of reprisals i n c l u d i n g t h e p o t e n t i a l f o r b e i n g c h a r ge d w i t h h o m o s ex u a l i t y o r o t h e r w i s e c r i m i n a l i z e d f o r o n e s ge n d e r i d e n t i t y o r ge n d e r expression. I n d r a n i [ a l e s b i a n w i t h m a s c u l i n e ge n d e r ex p r e s s i o n ] d e s c r i b e d an encounter with the police on an occasion on w hic h she and her f e m a l e [ f e m i n i n e ge n d e r ex p r e s s i o n ] f r i e n d h a d d i n e d at a restaurant on the beachfront. The beachfront areas a r e w e l l k n o w n f o r p o l i c e r a i d s o n [ h e t e r o s ex u a l ] c o u p l e s w h o m e e t i n t h i s a r e a . 5 7 I n d r a n i s a i d , After having our dinner, my friend and I chatted till about 8pm and left the restaurant. When we came out, there were a few policemen outside and they were checking all the people on the beach. They were especially checking [straight] couples who were near the bushes.

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57 Since most Sri Lanka youth live with their families and since pre-marital sex is frowned upon, [heterosexual] young people who cannot afford to meet in private spaces meet on the beach. Near the bushes in the quote is a reference to [heterosexual] couples who take refuge in the shr ubber y in this area.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

We we r e w alk ing t ow ar ds t he r oa d fr o m t he b eac h. As w e we r e coming out fr om t he r es t aur ant , t w o p o lic emen s t o p p ed us a nd as k ed us w her e w e w er e go ing. We t o ld t hem w e had dinne r at t he r es t aur ant and w er e no w go i ng ho me. We e v en showe d t hem t he bill [fr om t he r es t aur ant ]. T hey s aid t hat we we r e loit ering on t he beac h and t o o k us t o t he p o lic e sta tion for fur t her ques t ioning. 5 8 As pe r t he Va gr ant s Or dinance o f 1842, 5 9 anyo ne d eemed to be loit ering in publ ic , as in I nd r anis ex p erienc e, ca n be ques t ioned by police. T his law is p ar t ic ular ly us ed to ta r get mas culine-look ing les bians and t r ans gend er p er s o ns of lower s ocio-economic s t at us w ho ar e t he m o s t vul ner a ble to pol ice a bus es. Suc h pol ice r aid s gener ally r es ult in de t ent ion (follow ed by phy s ical and s ex u al a bus e w hile in det ent ion) or r eleas e aft er b rib er y. 6 0 Tr a nsgen der per s ons and les b ians w it h a mas culine a ppe a r ance have als o r e por t ed har as s ment at s ec urit y c he c kpoint s fr om s ecurit y fo r ces p er s o nnel w ho ha ve been k now n t o as k i nsult ing q ues t io ns if t he photo g r a ph and name on ident it y car d s d o no t mat c h t he se cur ity of ficer s per ce pt ions of m as culinit y and fem ininit y. Sa ndr a s pok e a bout how s he w o u ld o ft en b e mis t ak en for a man at milit ar y c hec k point s in Co lo m b o.

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h I n d r a n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 2 8 April 2011. T h e Va g r a n t s O r d i n a n c e o f 1 8 4 2 i s a v a i l a bl e o n l i n e : http://www1.umn.edu/humanr ts/research/srilanka/statutes/ Va g r a n t s _ O r d i n a n c e . p d f For mor e details on police r aids a g ainst nac hc hi (tr ansgender) sex wor ker s in Sri Lanka see: Nichols, Andrea (2010) Dance Po n n ay a , D a n c e ! Po l i c e A bu s e s A g a i n s t Tr a n s ge n d e r S ex W o r k e r s i n S r i L a n k a , Fe m i n i s t C r i m i n o l o g y 2 0 1 0 5 : 1 9 5 , Available o n l i n e a t : h t t p : / / f c x . s a ge p u b. c o m / c o n t e n t / 5 / 2 / 1 9 5

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

I ve had a lot of guys c hec k my I D and as k m e w hy I have a gir l s name and t hen I t ur n ar o und and s ay Yes Of ficer, tha t s becaus e Im a gir l. Some g uys have s aid , Ar e you a Mis s or a Sir? and I t ur n it ar o u nd and s ay T he I D ca r d w ill t ell you w het her Im fem ale o r m ale, s o w hy don t you c hec k t hat fir s t . So t hat r eally p is s es m e o f f a nd I t r y t o s et t hem s t r aight rig ht fr o m t he b e g inning. 6 1 Some int er vie w ees als o s pok e of f ailed at t em p t s t o o b t ain sta te s er vices s uc h as pens io n s c hemes and b ank loa ns on t he bas is of a s har ed inco m e w it h t heir sa me - sex par t ner. T hey cons id er ed t his d enial t o b e a n inst ance of ins t it ut ionalised s t at e d is crim inat io n. Se ve n int er vie w ees r e por t ed f acing vio lenc e fr o m s t at e s ect o r se r vice pr ovider s inc luding me nt al healt h and med ic al pr of e ssionals. Some of t he v io lenc e t o o k t he fo r m of be in g for cibly t ak en t o r eligio us ins t it ut io ns, ho s p it als, me dical s er vices, and ment al heal t h s er v ices t o b e cur e d, oft en accompanied by a p ar ent . 6 2 One int er v ie w ee e ve n s t at ed t hat her par t ners f am ily had us ed e le ctr o-s hoc k t her a py on her par t ner in o r d er t o c ur e her. 6 3

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h S a n d r a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 18 September 2010. See inter view by Chamaila and Skinner for mor e details of how they were forcibly taken to religious and medical institutions to be cured.

6 3 I n t e r v i e w e w i t h Ro s h i n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 6 January 2012.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #08 access to redress]


I knew I couldnt go to the police. What was I going to say? You know they beat me up coz I danced with some girls? It was just going to get me into even more trouble, and I was alone ... So I just got into a tuk and went home. 64 Sandra, 34 years, butch lesbian A key is s ue f aced by all int er vie w ees is t hat t hey have no a cce ss t o r edr es s. As ment ioned a b ove,w hen d es crib ing t heir expe r iences of violence at t he hand s o f f amily memb er s, ma ny int er vie w ees had dif ficult y as s o c iat ing a f amily me mbe r w it h t he t er m per pet r at o r and w er e r eluc t ant t o r e por t t he violence t o t he police o r any o t her o r g aniz at io n, e spe cially w hen t he violence t o o k p lac e in t he p ri v at e spa ce of t he f amily home. So me int er vie w ees s aid tha t they w er e r eluct ant t o r e po r t vio lenc e in t he ho m e to police becaus e t his w ould en t ail p lac ing a f amily me mbe r in t he hands of t he law. Similar ly, int er v ie w ees did not w ant t he ris k of unw elc o m e p ublicit y o r the likelihood of expos ing t he f am ily t o s ham e and rid ic ule. Whe n they w er e t he vict ims of vio lenc e in a p ublic s p ace, suc h as on t he s t r eet , at communit y g at hering s, in p ublic tr a nspo r t , or at t he w or k place, and t ar get ed fo r t heir ge nde r non-confor mit y or s ex ua l o rient at io n, t her e w as r e luctance t o r e por t t he viole nc e fo r fear o f b eing pe r sonally ex pos ed as a Les bian B is ex ual o r Tr ans p er s o n. 6 5
64 I n t e r v i e w w i t h S a n d r a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 1 8 65 September 2010. Inter viewees feared being exposed for multiple reasons: some feared that their families would find out their sexual orientation, while other s feared that they would be opening themselves up for police harassment and /or ar rest under Section 365A of the Penal Code.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

T hus, int er vie w dat a s ug ges t s t hat incid ent s o f p hy s ical viole nc e, bot h in t he public and p ri v at e s p her es, r emain unde r- r e por t ed and undocumented , and t hat L B T p eo p le w ho experience phys ical violence r ar ely s eek c o m p ens at io n, r e dr e ss, or e ven couns ell ing fr o m m ent al healt h s er vice pr ovider s w ho w or k w it h w omen w ho hav e ex p erienced vio lenc e suc h as domes t ic violence pr o g r ams o r s up p o r t g r o up s. T he se findings s hould be jux t a p o s ed w it h w hat is k no w n a bout LB T per s ons gener al ca p ac it y and p r o p ens it y t o r e por t crimes, becaus e t her e ar e s p ecific co ns id er at io ns tha t a ris e for t hem, e ven w hen the c rim e is no t r elat ed t o the ir s exualit y or gender ident it y. I n p ar t ic ul ar, L B T indi viduals ar e made vulner a ble by t he ex is t enc e o f a Penal C ode p r ovis ion t hat can be r ead t o crim inaliz e ad ult conse ns ual s ame-s ex s exual act i vit y. T ho s e w e s p o k e t o c it ed both Sect ion 365A of t he Pena l Co d e and t he Va g r ant s Or dina nce as bei ng us ed t o t ar get t hem fo r ar r es t and ha r a ssm ent . T he LB T communit y p er c ei v e t h e p o lic e t o be a n ins t it ut ion t hat us es blac km ail and vio lenc e a g ains t pe ople per cei ved t o be homos ex ua l, b is ex ual o r t r ans gend er. Additio n ally, t he cour t s ys t em in Sri L ank a is gener ally no t victim- friendly, and t he f act that c o ur t hearing s ar e ope n to t he public det er s mos t pe o p le fr o m r e p o r t ing t o t he police becaus e t hey w ant t o k ee p t heir s ex ual o rient at io n or ge nder ident i t y aw ay fr om t he p ublic eye. Fur t her mo r e, the Human Right s Commis s ion, t he Po lice Co mm is s io n, t he Public Ser vices Commis s ion, and t he Jud ic ial Ser v ices C ommiss ion ar e not t r us t ed t o funct io n ind e p end ent ly s ince the se commis s ions ar e made up o f p r es id ent ial a p p o int ees. I n this cont ex t , int er vie w dat a r e vealed t hat L B T p er s o ns f e lt t hat t he pos s ibilit y of get t ing r ed r es s fo r viole nc e fr om a s t at e of ficial w as d o ub t ful.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #09 reacting, coping and fighting back]


T his r e sear c h als o ex amin ed how les b ians, b is ex ual w o m en and tr a nsgender people r es ponded t o vio lenc e. W hile s o m e L B T inte r vie w ees felt t hat t he bes t w ay t o d eal w it h a d if fic ult situa tion w as t o leave / ignor e t he d is crim inat o r y s it uat io n or site of violence, ot her s r eact ed by co nfr o nt ing t he s it uat io n a t ha nd . For t he pur pos e of t his r esear c h, w e hav e cat e go riz ed thr e e dis t inct r es pons es t ha t w er e us ed by L B T r e spondent s : 1) Af fect i ve Res pons e; 2) Pas s i ve Res p o ns e; a nd 3 ) Act i ve / Act i vis t Res pons e.

a .

Af fe c ti v e Re sp o nses

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All inte r vie w ees s uf fer ed dr as t ic and las t ing em o t io nal ef fec t s because of the violence and discrimination they had experienced. All but t w o int er vie w ees s aid t hat t he v io lenc e had ne g at i vely impa cted t heir ment al healt h. T hey r e p o r t ed ex p erienc ing de pr e ss ion, anxiet y, and emot ions o f anger, fr us t r at io n and f e a r. T hey oft en felt ex t r emely lo w [Maya], ment ally ver y down [Ros hmi], and w ant ing t o cr y, w ant ing t o hamm er the w a lls, fr us t r at ed [ Chandani]. Chris t y s aid s he o ft en had de pr e s s ing at t ac k s, and w ould t ak e w hat e ver p ills t he doctor pr es cribed for her and j us t b e hig h s o met im es s o a s not t o feel t he r ealit y . Maya als o s aid s he b r o k e o ut in psyc hos omat ic s ympt oms c hief ly ec z ema, as a ner v o us r e a ction aft er s he w as for cibly o u t ed t o her p ar ent s. 6 6
66 Inter view with Maya (22/012011); Roshmi (6/012012); C h a n d a n i ( 1 7 / 1 1 / 2 0 1 1 ) ; C h r i s t y ( 1 6 / 0 2 / 2 0 1 1 ) - Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a .

Twe nty of t hos e int er vie w ed c ho s e t o hid e t heir s ex ual or ie ntat ion for fear of r eject ion fr o m s o c iet y, friend s and f a mily. A f ur t her 18 felt r es igned t o t heir f at e, m inimiz ed the se veri t y of t he violence, no r maliz ed t he v io lenc e, or inter nali zed t he violence. Alm o s t t w o -t hir d s o f t he inte r vie w ees blamed t hems elves fo r t he vio lenc e t hey had expe r ienced. T hey felt s elf-hat r ed b ecaus e o f t heir gend er ide ntity and s ex ual orient at ion, and eng a ged in s elf-har m ing be ha viour lik e cut t ing or s k in-bur ning. Jenny s t at ed , Nor mally I do not li k e t o hit or s co ld anyo ne. So in o r d er t o contr ol my s adnes s I do it , I c ut my s elf and s uf fer in or de r to get r elief fr om my s ad feeling s. 6 7 Jenny is 28 year s o ld a nd gr e w up in t he Nor t h Cen t r al P r ovinc e but c ur r ent ly li ves in a suburb of Colombo. She ident ifies as a but c h les b ian. Ele ve n int er vie w ees s aid t hat t hey had t ho ug ht s o f c o m m it t ing suicide or had at t empt ed s uicide at s o m e s t a ge in t heir li ve s a s a coping mec hanis m. 6 8 Chamila s t at ed , I at t em p t ed it once becaus e I couldn t t ak e t he p ain anym o r e. I w as ver y disa ppo int ed w it h life and it t ook m e a v er y lo ng t ime t o get o v e r i t . 6 9 A n o t h e r r e s p o n d e n t , S k i n n e r, e v e n a d m i t t e d t o f a n t a s i z i n g a b o u t p e r i s h i n g i n a b u s b o m b b l a s t . 70
67 I n t e r v i e w w i t h J e n n y, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 1 5 November 2011 6 8 A c c o r d i n g t o a 2 0 1 1 W H O s t u d y, s u i c i d e r a t e s i n S r i L a n k a a r e the second highest in the world, in relation to both female a n d m a l e s u i c i d e r a t e s. S e e Wo r l d H e a l t h O r g a n i z a t i o n ( 2 0 1 1 ) S u i c i d e r a t e s p e r 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 b y c o u n t r y, y e a r a n d s e x . [ o n l i n e ] A v a i l a b l e f r o m : h t t p : / / w w w. w h o . i n t / m e n t a l _ h e a l t h / p r e v e n t i o n / suicide_rates/en/ (Accessed 11 Oct 2012). Suicide is no longer a crime in Sri Lanka, although there was rigorous punishm e n t fo r i t u p t o 1 9 9 8 . S e e Wo r l d H e a l t h O r g a n i z a t i o n ( 2 0 0 4 ) Suicide Prevention: Emerging from Dar kness [online] Available f r o m : h t t p : / / w w w. s e a r o . w h o . i n t / e n / S e c t i o n 1 1 7 4 / S e c t i o n 1 1 9 9 / Section1567/Section1824_8089.html (Accessed 11 Oct 2012) 69 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a m i l a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 8 August 2011. 70 A reference to a period in the conflict between the Government o f S r i L a n k a ( G O S L ) a n d t h e L i b e r a t i o n T i g e r s o f Ta m i l E e l a m (LTTE), w hen the LTTE tar geted ci vilians by bombing buses. I n t e r v i e w w i t h S k i n n e r, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , 7 O c t o b e r.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

A smaller number (5) of the sample population repor ted that substance abuse (alcohol, cigarettes and dr ugs) and clubbing were coping mechanisms. Roshmi said that when she was severely mentally down in the past, she had smoked 15-20 packets of cigar ettes: I used to chain smoke without br eathing. T hen I g o t s i c k . 71 Discrimination in emploment was also an aspect that affected mental health. Skinner said he often felt ver y depressed because employment oppor tunities w e r e d e n i e d h i m o n t h e b a s i s o f h i s g e n d e r i d e n t i t y. H e s a i d , I j u s t w a n t t o, yo u k n o w, e a r n a l i v i n g. . . I m e a n like Im not asking for charity! Its like I have this skill... a n d l i k e , l e t m e w o r k a n d g e t p a i d f o r i t - t h a t s a l l . 72 Disclosing their sexual orientation or gender identity to friends (coming out) often made inter viewees feel rejected. DKS said she felt rejected when all of a sudden.they kinda treated me as if I w a s . . . s o m e o ne d if f e r e nt w he n I w a s n t I w a s t he s a m e p e r s o n . . . but s o m e ho w . . . I d o n t k n o w, t h e y j u s t r e f u s e d t o b e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h m e . 73 Anu, a bis exual w oman, s aid s he felt ver y s ad w hen a f r ie nd w as bi-phobic. She said, I w as ver y ang r y and ve r y fr us t r at ed, jus t not bein g a ble t o und er s t and w hy this w as done t o people w ho w er e r eally jus t tr ying t o li ve t heir li ves and lov e w ho t hey lov ed . 74

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7 1 I n t e r v i e w w i t h Ro s h m i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 6 January 2012. 72 I n t e r v i e w w i t h S k i n n e r, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 7 October 2011. 7 3 I n t e r v i e w w i t h D K S, Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 18 September 2010. 7 4 I n t e r v i e w w i t h A n u , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 13 May 2011.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

T hir ty-one i nt er vie w ees s aid t hat t hey o ft en felt d e p r es s ed a nd guilt y w hile t hey s t r ug gled t o co m e t o t er m s w it h and a cce pt t heir non-confor ming s exualit y o r gend er id ent it y. Howe ver, des pit e enduri ng ne g at i v e s o cial and p s yc ho lo g ic al e f f e cts, t he v as t majorit y of int er vie w ees s p o k e o f p o s it i ve f e e lings aris ing fr om t he s uppor t o f friend s, p ar t ner s, f am ily me mbe r s, LGB T or g anizat ions, r elig io us lead er s, and wor kplace collea gu es. Dha r shi, a 46-year-old w oman w ho li ves in Co lo mb o, de te sts la bels, and pr efer s t o s ay s he s lee p s w it h wome n. She s aid t hat s he c o uld no t d eal w it h her sexua l orient at ion for a ver y lo ng t ime, but t hen I me t people w ho w er e cool a bout it and s lo w ly it b ec ame a coole r t hing t o me and I w as ha ppy and c o m fo r t a ble. 7 5 I ndr a ni, t oo, s pok e t o us a bout a s im ilar ex p erience. She sa id, Even t hough I don t have p eo p le w ho und er s t and me a t home, I met friends w ho under st o o d me. T hey had p ar t ies. Eve r yone s pok e t o me. No one laug hed at m e. N o o ne as k ed me w hy I don t w ear ear rings. I w as v er y c o m fo r t a ble t her e. I don t car e w hat s ociet y t hink s a b o ut m e. T her e ar e a lo t o f pe ople w ho acce pt me. So I felt go o d . 7 6 I t must be not ed t hat alt hough a num b er o f int er v ie w ees r e por ted get t ing s uppor t fr om dif fer ent s o ur ces and feeling suppor t ed in many w ays, only a t h ir d o f t he p o p ul at io n expr e ssed feelings of pride and s t r eng t h in t hem s elv es.

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75

I n t e r v i e w w i t h D h a r s h i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 30 October 2010. 76 I n t e r v i e w w i t h I n d r a n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 28 April 2011.

b.
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Passive Responses

M ost of t he people w e s pok e t o did no t verb ally o r p hy s ically f ight bac k in r es pons e t o v io lenc e, d is crim inat io n or a bus e. Tw ent y-fi ve int er vie w ees avo id ed any fo r m of confr ont at ion, s aying t hat t hey had felt p ar alyz ed a nd decided n ot t o t ak e actio n d uring, and in t he a f te r mat h of, t he violence. Said I nd r ani, Onc e at t h e pla ce I w or k , I had an ar gument w it h t w o b oy s. Aft er tha t, w hile I w as having my lunc h t hey s ho ut ed in fr o nt of e ver ybody and s aid Ah t o d ay t he Aa p p a p an ha s been bur ned. I s t ayed s ilent as if it w as no t s aid to me . 7 7 Some inter vie wees pr acticed self-r estr aint, especially with f amily a nd r e lat i ves. For in s t ance, Sk inne r s aid , I t s b et t er o f f t hat w ay [ la ughs ]... I t r y not t o t hink of tho s e t hing s mo s t o f t he t ime a nd bot t le it up as muc h as pos s ible ... w hat els e ... t o d o .... 7 8 Our inter vie w s als o r e vealed t hat les b ians i n p ar t ic ular av o id ed public spaces t o s t eer c lear of potent ial ho m o p ho b ic vio lenc e a nd / or a bus e dir ect ed at t hem b ec aus e o f t heir s ex ual or ie ntat ion or gender ident it y. Sc ho lar s hav e no t ed t hat M a ny places inha bit ed by les bians and g ay men ar e c o nt es t ed site s , w her e t he for ces of homopho b ia c hallenge t he s ur v i v al a nd for mat ion of communit ies of s ex ual m ino rit ies. 7 9 Anishka is 25 year s old, li ves in Co lo mb o, and id ent ifies as bi or les bian but 80 per cent les bian . H er gend er id ent it y is f e minine. She s pok e t o us a bout ho w s he and her p ar t ner

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77

I n t e r v i e w w i t h I n d r a n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 28 April 2011. 78 I n t e r v i e w w i t h S k i n n e r, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 7 October 2011. 79 I n g r a m , G o r d o n B r e n t , A n n e - M a r i e B o u t h i l e t t e , Yo l a n d a R e t t e r (Eds) (1997). Queer s in Space: Communities / Public Places / Sites of Resistance, Bay Press, USA.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

would deliber at ely avoid public s p aces : We ar e v er y conscious of w her e w e go... w e k no w o ur s p o t s the sma ll lit t le juice bar s, or w e eat at ho me, w e hang out a t friends places. We don t d o p ublic p lac es. 8 0 Socio- e co nomic bac k gr ound played a v it al r o le in d et er m ining how le sbians, bis exual w omen and t r ans gend er p eo p le s hield ed the mse lves fr om vi olence. T he r es ear c h fo und t hat if L B T p eo p le ha d the f inances t hey could af for d t o buy s afet y by no t ex p o s ing the mse lves t o envir onment s t hat w er e uns af e. As Maya s ay s, s he will pic k and c hoos e places s he go es t o. She s aid , T her e ar e ce r ta in a c t i vit ies I ve cur t ailed as a r es ult , cer t ain p ar t s o f t o w n I won t go t o. I don t w alk on t he s t r ee t s, I go e v er yw her e by car, I don t ta ke public t r ans por t , not e ven t r ains, t hat k ind o f t hing. 8 1 Inter vie wees also had to safe guar d their pri v ac y at their wor kplace a s a w ay t o minimize any pot ent ial ho mo p ho b ic c o m m ent s. Soma is 40 year s old and w as bor n in Co lo mb o but p r es ent ly li ve s ove r s eas w it h her par t ner. S he s ay s her gend er id ent it y is f e minine and her s ex ual orient at io n is les b ian. At her cur r ent wor kpla ce, s he is ver y caut ious a b o ut r e vealing t he gend er of he r par t ner. She s aid, I go t o ex t r em e leng t hs t o d is g uis e it [ my sex ual orient at ion] at w or k . I d o m ent io n my p ar t ner but I do not ment ion t he gender of my p ar t ner. 8 2

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I n t e r v i e w w i t h A n i s h k a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 7 October 2010. 81 I n t e r v i e w w i t h M ay a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 22 January 2011. 82 I n t e r v i e w w i t h S o m a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 12 December 2011.

c.
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Active / Activist Response

Responses in this category included leaving ones family, city, region or country; passing as straight or adhering to normative gender roles; seeking suppor t through LGBT community or groups; seeking solace outside the home (such as by playing spor ts, going to the gym / library and spending time away from home); and physically and verbally fighting back. 83 Six inter viewees said they had left, or expressed a desire to leave, their family, city, or country, in response to facing discrimination and violence. As Christy pointed out, Its really hard to live my life. There are times that I just want to leave without a trace just leave the country sometimes or maybe just die. 84 Not all those who expressed a desire to leave were able to do so for varying reasons, the most pressing being lack of financial resources. Others stated that they had left their parental home or their place of residence as a result of familial violence or, in some cases, due to violence and mistreatment from landlords who viewed lesbianism as immoral. Passing in different forms is an interesting and useful strategy adopted by seven of the lesbian and transgender inter viewees in order to avoid violence, abuse, and mistreatment in their daily lives. Just as masculine clothing or style of dressing made lesbian identity visible, it also afforded safety in male-dominated public spaces. For instance, one lesbian inter viewee claimed that, for reasons of safety, she preferred to pass as a boy when riding her motorcycle at night. 85

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83

The use of passing here means convincingly appearing in public as confor ming to nor ms related to gender and/or sexual orientation. 84 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h r i s t y, W o m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p , S r i L a n k a , 16 Fe br uar y 2011. 8 5 I n t e r v i e w w i t h I n d r a n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 28 April 2011.

While some inter viewees chose to pass by adhering to nor mative gender roles (masculine, if bor n male/feminine, if bor n female), other s passed either in their self-identified (tr ans)gender role or in their socially misrecognized gender role (masculine, although bor n female, and feminine, although bor n male) 86 . For instance, H stated that she often passed as a boy due to being misrecognized, and that it was, therefore, more convenient for her to continue as such. She said, public toilets ever y time you walk into the bathroom, its like Malli Malli wer adila anith eka (Younger brother, you ve got it wrong, its the other one), and Im like Oh God! And then Im like, Oh Shit! I went into the wrong one, and I go to the guys one ... coz ever yone thinks Im a boy. 87 For Maya, on the other hand, passing as a feminine woman was a str ategy she tried out for a shor t period of time in order to avoid having to deal with being stared at in public on a daily basis. Maya is a 37-year-old, lesbian-identified androgynous woman who lives in Colombo. She said, I changed my gender appear ance, I grew my hair out, I put on a bit of weight as well. I looked much more feminine and at that point, you wouldnt believe it, I faded, no one paid any attention to me at all. I could go into banks you know, any institution, whereas previously I would get so many stares, [but this time] absolutely nothing. So it was refreshing but at the same time I felt really at odds with the per son that I was at the time. I felt that how I looked didnt really reflect my subjectivity. 88

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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86

Ruth Rubinstein (1995) notes that signs and symbols are useful to analyse the language of clothing. She defines signs as that which conveys a single, clear-cut meaning, in contrast to symbols which have multiple meanings. Fashion and clothing images can, ther efor e, be an effective means of communication only if the signs and symbols are recognized and inter pr eted by a knowing audience. Failur e to do so would r esult in misr e pr esentation or misinter pr etation. For example in Sr i L a nk a , a but c h le s b ia n w o ul d o nly b e id e nt if ie d a s a but c h le s b ia n w it hin a s o c i a l s p a c e t ha t r e c o g ni z e d t he style of clothing associated with being butch. In contrast, in a r ur a l v i lla ge in Sr i L a nk a , a but c h le s b ia n w o uld s im p ly b e (m is ) recognized either as a boy or a gir l pretending to be a boy. 8 7 I n t e r v i e w w i t h H , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 12 Fe br uar y 2011. 88 I n t e r v i e w w i t h M ay a , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 22 January 2011.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Twenty inter viewees repor ted that they had actively sought solace or guidance from suppor t groups, individuals or institutions, either within the queer or feminist community / movement. As Maya has rightly pointed out, its amazing, you know, these suppor t groups (refer ring to the Womens Suppor t Group), you can have ten million activities, but really just having the space and hanging out there and having lunch, thats suppor t enough. 89 Chandani explained that for many year s she actively sought suppor t from her chosen family (friends she relied on) as opposed to being dependent on her biological family. 90 Eleven of the inter viewees said that their solace from violence, abuse, and mistreatment came from activities that gave some mental stimulus and could be conducted outside the home, such as listening to music, watching movies, and going to the libr ar y. Other s tur ned to more physically demanding activities, such as wor kouts in the gymnasium and jogging. For most lesbians and tr ansgender people, verbal resistance was the most common for m of fighting back and dealing with discrimination and violence. Twenty-two of the 33 inter viewees said that the only way to deal with emotional har assment from parents was to fight back by arguing whenever possible. Thir ty-six-year old Hothead is a lesbian-identified soft butch woman, living in Colombo. She said, My mother wanted me to get mar ried and then she kept proposing these friends sons as being the ideal husbands. And I [said] you know I think you better give up because I dont really fancy me n I pr efer w omen. 9 1

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89 Ibid. 9 0 I n t e r v i e w w i t h C h a n d a n i , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 17 November 2010. 9 1 I n t e r v i e w w i t h H o t h e a d , Wo m e n s S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , 18 September 2010.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #10 laws that affect LBT people in Sri Lanka ]


a . Se c tio n 36 5A - Penal Cod e - G r o ss In d e c e n c y Se ction 365A of t he Sri Lank an Penal Co d e Amend m ent Ac t No. 2 2 of 1995 is us ed t o criminaliz e ad ult co ns ens ual same-sex sexual r elations . 92 Prior to the 1995 amendment of the Sr i L ank an Penal Code, S ect io n 365A w as r ead as cr iminalizing s ex bet w een men o nly I n an ill-co ncei v ed bid t o mak e t he pr ovis ion gend er neu t r al and non- discriminat or y, 365A w as a mend ed t o r ead as an a ct commit t ed bet w een per s ons, and t his am end m ent br ought s ex bet w een w omen und er it s p ur vie w. 9 3 G r oss indecenc y is not defined, a nd it is unc lear w het her t he a bse nc e of a definit ion means t hat t he p r ov is io n c o uld b e r ead a s a lso a pplying t o het er os ex ual sex ual r elat io ns. I n a s o cial context w her e polit ical and ot h er public lead er s r o ut inely d ir ect hostile r emar k s at LGB T communit ies, it is lik ely t hat g r o s s

92 It

r e a d s : A n y p e r s o n w h o , i n p u b l i c o r p r i v a t e c o m m i t s , o r i s a p a r t y t o t h e c o m m i s s i o n o f, o r p r o c u r e s o r a t t e m p t s t o p r o c u r e t h e c o m m i s s i o n by a ny p e r s o n o f, a ny a c t of gross indecency with another person, shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description, for a ter m which may extend to two year s or with fine or with both and wher e the offence is committed by a per son over eighteen year s of age in respect of any per son under sixteen year s of age shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a ter m not less than ten year s and not exceeding twenty year s and with fine and shall also be ordered to pay compensation of an amount deter mined by cour t to the per son in r espect of whom the offence was committed for the injuries caused to such per son. 93 F o r m o r e d e t a i l s s e e : Ta m b i a h , Y. ( 2 0 0 4 ) ( I m ) m o r a l C i t i z e n s : Sexuality and the Penal Code in Sri Lanka. In A. J. Cana g ar atna (Ed.), Neelan Tir uchelvam Commemoration Conference Paper s ( p p. 1 0 7 1 4 1 ) C o l o m b o, I C E S.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

inde ce nc y is as s ociat ed w it h s ame -s ex r elat io ns in t he p ubl ic ima ginat ion. T hough Sect i on 3 65A has s eld o m b een te ste d in a cour t of law, t he m er e f act t hat suc h a v a gue v alue-bas ed p r ov is io n is o n t he books mak es s ex ual mino rit ies vulner a ble to police a bus e andext or t ion fr om o t her s, no t o nly in t heir lif e c hoices or s ex u al pr act ices, but als o in t heir ac t i vis m a r ound s ex ual right s. 9 4 T her e have al s o b een ins t anc es w her e pr i v a te cit izens t hr eat ened t o us e it a g ains t o t her s, us ually f a mily member s, and r oped in t he a gent s o f t he law. 9 5 T he criminalizat ion of homos exual s ex ual act i vit y p aves the w ay for police and ant i-g ay g r o up s t o b r and all le sbia n, bis exu al w omen, and t r ans gend er p eo p le a s per ver t s and criminals. T he fear o f b eing a p p r ehend ed a nd ident ified as non-het er os exual lead s t o a c yc le o f s ilence involving LB T people, t heir f amilie s, friend s, and t he s o ciet y a s a w hole. T his leaves LB T people vuln er a ble t o a r ange o f human r ights violat ions, inc ludin g ext or t io n, int im id at io n, unlaw ful a r r e st and det ent ion, phys ical and s ex ual har as s m ent and bullying, t or t ur e, r a pe, e ven mur d er o n t he b as is o f s ex ual or ie ntat ion, gender ident it y or gend er ex p r es s io n by
94

T w o m e n f i n e d f o r g r o s s i n d e c e n c y , D a i l y M i r r o r, 1 6 , 2 0 1 2 , S r i L a n k a . O n l i n e , A v a i l a b l e a t : h t t p : / / w w w. d a i l y m i r r o r. l k / n e w s / 2 3 5 4 6 - t w o - m e n f i n e d - f o r - g r o s s - i n d e c e n c y - . h t m l A C o l o m b o C o u r t t o d a y i m p o s e d a fine of Rs.1,500 each on two men who pleaded guilty to the charge of eng a ging in homosexual acts inside a public lav ator y at the For t R ailw ay Station. T he For t Police ar r ested the two men, one a ged 40 and the other 50, while they were engaging in oral sex. One of them was identified as a state institution employee. In the charge sheet filed befor e Colombo For t Ma gistr ate K anishka Wijer atne, the prosecutor s said the suspects had committed a punishable of fence w hic h came under section 365 (A) of the Penal Code. Police c har ged that the suspects had eng a ged in activities of g r o s s i n d e c e n c y a t a p u b l i c l a v a t o r y. D e f e n c e C o u n s e l J a y a n t h a Pathirana told Cour t that his clients would plead guilty to the charges. 95 F o r m o r e d e t a i l s s e e : Ta m b i a h , Y. ( 2 0 0 3 ) M a n - m a d e L a w s a n d F e m i n i n e Fe e l i n g s : A L e s b i a n E n c o u n t e r w i t h t h e L a w i n S r i L a n k a , L i n e s , 2 ( 1 ) M a y 2 0 0 3

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b.
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Section 399 - Penal Code - Cheating by Personation

Se ction 399 of t he Sri Lank an Penal Co d e, Cheat ing by Pe r s onat ion i s oft en us ed a g ains t t r ans gend er p eo p le. 9 6 T he r e have been s e ver al cas es o f im p er s o nat io n and misr e pr es ent at ion br ough t t o c o ur t , w her e w o m en we r e d is cover ed t o be dis guis ed as m en and t heir t r ue sexua l ident it y ex pos ed t o t he public . Sim ilar ly, t r ans w o m en ha ve als o been ar r es t ed for m is lead ing t he p ublic. 9 7

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I t r e a d s : A p e r s o n i s s a i d t o c h e a t b y p e r s o n a t i o n i f h e c h e a t s by pr etending to be some other per son or by knowingly substituting o n e p e r s o n f o r a n o t h e r, o r r e p r e s e n t i n g t h a t h e o r a n y o t h e r person is a per son other than he or such other per son really is. Explanation - the offence is committed whether the individual per sonated is a real or imaginar y per son. Whoever is convicted of this offence will have to face a punishment of imprisonment of either description for a ter m which may extend to three year s, or with fine or with both. 97 See Lankadeepa, Boy Disguised as Girl since the age of 18, 31 August 2010; Lankadeepa, Wo m a n d i s g u i s e d a s a M a l e A r my O f f i c e r m a r r i e d t o a Wo m a n fo l l o w i n g m o b i l e p h o n e l o v e a f f a i r , 2 3 A u g u s t 2 0 1 0 ; D i v a i n a , Wo m e n D i s g u i s e d a s M e n ( a k a To m B o y s ) , 1 7 M a y 2 0 0 9 ; L a n k a d e e p a , Per son who had disguised himself as a man for 20 year s becomes a woman at the police s t a t io n , 3 Januar y 2009; Lankadeepa, 16 year old nomadic/ gypsy gir l, disguised as a man, ar rested as a suspect for a murder case, 11 May 2005; L a n k a d e e p a , B o y b e c o m e s G i r l a t D a m b u l l a Te m p l e , 1 0 M a r c h 2 0 0 4 ; Lankadee pa, Female Cor por al ar r ested on c har ges of giving f ake ID to male ar my officer disguised as a female ar my officer, 18 Januar y 2003; S u n d ay L a n k a d e e p a , C a s e o f M a n D i s g u i s e d a s Wo m a n , 2 0 Ju ly 2 0 0 3 .

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Vagrancy Ordinance of 1842

Sr i L a nk as Va gr an c y O r dinance o f 1842 c o nt inues t o g i v e a uthor it ies t h e pow er t o det ain p eo p le w ho m t hey c o ns id er t o b e l o i t e r i n g i n p u b l i c . 98 The police have the discretion to inter pret mala fide of the idle per son to that of a vagr ant and thereby enforce the law. This often leads to a wrongful application and misuse of the Vagr ancy Ordinance, which results in wrongful detention of non-heteronor mative women, tr ansgender men and people from the nachchi 99 community because they look different. The Vagr ancy Ordinance is especially used to target tr ansgender people of lower socio-economic status who are the most vulner able to police abuses. 100 Their manner of dress (different from their biological sex) is often the basis for the assumption that they are sex wor ker s the Vagr ancy Ordinance justifies the har assment, ar rest and prosecution of sex wor ker s. 101 The law requires the police to present the alleged offender (taken into custody without a war r ant) before a magistr ate within 24 hour s. In Januar y 2013, the Code of Criminal Procedure was amended to extend this period to 48 hour s.
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It reads: Section 3 (1)(b) specifies that every common prostitute wandering in the public street or highway or in any place of public resor t and behaving in a riotous manner or indecent manner ... shall be deemed an idle and disorder ly per son and shall be liable upon fir st conviction to be imprisoned with or without hard labour for any ter m not exceeding 14 days or to a fine. Sec 3(2) specifies that such a person can be arrested without a warrant. 99 T h e S i n h a l a t e r m n a c h c h i , i s a c a t e g o r y t h a t i s u s e d b y t h e n a c h c h i community who view themselves as male bodied persons who embraced female subjectivity but with no interest in abandoning key facets of their maleness, and are also unwavering in their ardent sexual desire for men (Miller & Nichols, 2012: 555). 100 For mor e details r ead: Nic hols A. (2010) Dance Ponnaya Dance Feminist C r i m i n o l o g y A p r i l 2 0 1 0 , Vo l u m e 5 , N o . 2 h t t p : / / f c x . s a g e p u b . c o m / c o n t e n t / 5/2/195 101 Nic hols A. (2010) Dance Ponnaya Dance Feminist Criminolo g y A pril 58 2 0 1 0 , Vo l u m e 5 , N o . 2 h t t p : / / f c x . s a g e p u b . c o m / c o n t e n t / 5 / 2 / 1 9 5

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

However, if the offender is apprehended on a Friday, he or she could remain in detention for over 48 hour s, because magistrates do not wor k over the weekend. Repor ts of victimization and abuse have emerged in some cases when ar rests were made at night and the alleged offender s were detained in police s t at ions over night . 1 0 2 d. Fundamental Rights

The rights of the Sri Lankan citizen are spelled out in Chapter 3 of the Sri Lanka Constitution. 103 The Constitution does not explicitly guarantee protection on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. It can be argued that these guarantees would fall under provisions that address non-discrimination, and equality before the law to all per sons. The constitution also does not give any indication that the ter m sex refer s to anything other than the system of biological classification used to distinguish sex at bir th as male or female. However, the provision covering discrimination prohibits distinctions made on any such grounds which, to be compatible with inter national human rights law, must be inter preted to include a prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, although this is not so in practice, given the existence of a law that can be read to criminalize same-sex sexual activity. The Constitutions lack of specific anti-discrimination language related to sexual orientation and gender identity has an immense impact on sexual minorities, chiefly because it places sexual minorities at a severe disadvantage in accessing rights, protections and legal guarantees. Section 17 of the Sri Lanka Constitution spells out remedies that are available to a per son whose constitutionally guar anteed
102 ibid 103 Ar ticle 12 of the same chapter spells out that no citizen shall be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of bir th or any such grounds.

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rights are infringed or threatened with imminent infringement by executive or administr ative action. The remedies gr anted have included seeking redress through the cour ts, receiving compensation or restitution, reinstitution and promotions in employment. Many cases have been filed with the Cour ts, including the Supreme Cour t, using the Fundamental Rights Application, which is a grievance mechanism for Sri Lankans wanting justice from the countr ys highest cour t. However, these remedies offered by the law were only infrequently accessed by individuals who experienced discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Sri Lankas National Human Rights Commission investigates complaints of human rights violations and thus is an impor tant mechanism for pur suing remedial action. However a scan of the Human Rights Commissions Act will reveal that the enabling law restricts its scope of investigations and inquiries to fundamental rights alone-in shor t, to those human rights that are entrenched in the Constitution and therefore justiciable. This leaves out discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which contr avenes Sri Lankas commitment to respect, protect and fulfil all human rights under inter national law. 104 The Human Rights Commission Act also empower s the National Human Rights Commission to make recommendations to the Gover nment on measures to be taken to ensure that national laws and administr ative pr actices are in accordance with inter national human rights nor ms and standards. 105 However, there have been no known initiatives taken by the Human Rights Commission towards striking down the discriminator y laws that affect lesbians, bisexual women, tr ansgender people and other sexual minorities.
1 0 4 S e e L a w a n d S o c i e t y Tr u s t ( 2 0 1 0 ) S r i L a n k a A t r o p hy a n d S u bv e r s i o n of the Human Rights Commission, ANNI Re por t on the Perfor mance and Esta blishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia, Colombo, Sri Lanka. 105 Section 10 (d) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Act No. 21 of 1996

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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e.
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

International Treaties

Sri Lanka has r atified the major United Nations human rights treaties and most optional protocols. 106 Sri Lanka has yet to amend any of its national laws and policies and bring them in line with inter national human rights law with regard to protecting the rights of lesbians, bisexual women, tr ansgender people and other sexual minorities.

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1 0 6 T he Inter national Convention on the Elimination of All For ms of Racial Discrimination; The International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultur al Rights; T he Inter national Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; T he Convention on the Elimination of All For ms of Discrimination Ag ainst W o m e n ; T h e C o n v e n t i o n A g a i n s t To r t u r e a n d o t h e r C r u e l I n h u m a n o r D e g r a d i n g Tr e a t m e n t o r P u n i s h m e n t ; C o nv e n t i o n o n t h e R i g h t s o f t h e Child; Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Childr en, Child Pr ostitution and Child Por no gr a phy; and the Inter national Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migr ant Wo r k e r s a n d M e m b e r s o f T h e i r Fa m i l i e s.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ #11 recommendations]
I n or d er t o addr es s t he violence and d is c rim inat io n tha t has been high li ght ed in t his s t udy, t he fo llo w ing r e commendat ions have been ident ified fo r p o lic y m ak er s, gover nment institutions, educational institutions, the cor por ate se ctor, ci vil s ociet y and ot her r ele v ant s t ak eho ld er s : I mple ment t he Conc luding O bser v at io ns o f t he CEDAW (C onve n t ion on t he Eliminat ion of all fo r ms o f D is crim inat io n Ag a inst Women) Commit t ee w hic h w er e p r es ent ed d uring the r e vie w of t he Sri Lank an gov er nm ent r e p o r t in Fe br ua r y 2011, follow ing t he 48t h s es s io n o f t he CEDAW C ommitt ee. In it s Conc luding O b s er v at io ns, t he CEDAW C ommitt ee u r ges t he Sri L ank an gover nm ent t o de cr iminalize s ex ual r elat ions hip b et w een c o ns ent ing a dults of s ame s ex, and a b id e by t he o blig at io n of non-dis criminat ion under t he Co nv ent io n . I mple ment t he Conc lus ions and Rec o m m end at io ns o f t he Re por t of t h e Unit ed Nat io ns H ig h Co m m is s io ner for Human R ight s on dis criminat o r y law s and p r ac t ices and a cts of violence a g ains t indi viduals b as ed o n t heir s ex ual or ie ntat ion and gender ident it y. Re pe a l Sect ion 365A of t he Penal Co d e w hic h is r ead t o cr iminalize cons ens ual s ame-s ex s ex ual r elat io ns b et w een a dults in public and pri v at e s paces. Ta ke meas ur es t o pr e vent t he Va gr anc y Or d inance fr o m b eing a r bitr a rily us ed a g ai ns t non- het er o no r mat i v e w o m en, tr a nsgender people and t he nac hc hi c o m m unit y in Sri L ank a. Ta ke meas ur es t o pr e vent t he p o lic e fr o m arb it r arily using Section 399 of the Penal Code ( C he a ting by Pe r so na tio n ) a g a inst t r ans gender people.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Amend Ar ticle 12 (2) of the Constitution which deals with non-discrimination, so that it explicitly includes sexual orientation and gender identity among the prohibited grounds for disc riminat ion Adopt measures to protect the right to privacy as a Constitutional guarantee. Privacy is not a fundamental right in our constitution unlike other constitutions, such as in India. LGBT per sons are frequently being outed against their will and they have no remedies available to them. The inter net foster s the violation of the right to privacy. 107 Encourage the state sector and the cor porate sector to develop and implement unifor m policies on Sexual Harassment at the Wor kplace to enshrine principles of non-discrimination, explicitly ta king in t o account har as s ment bas ed o n s ex ual o rient a t i o n , ge nde r ident it y and gender ex pr es s io n. Engage with organizations wor king with lesbians, bisexual women, transgender people and other sexual minorities with a view to developing and implementing policies that are sensitive to issues faced by lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people. Implement sex education in schools in accordance with the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education.

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107

I n a d d i t i o n , w i t h o u t a C o n s t i t u t i o n a l r i g h t t o p r i v a c y, t h e s t a t e a d o p t s sur veillance measures on the grounds of national security and uses technology to intr ude into private lives.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

[ references ]
Aizura, Aren, Jenny Walsh, Ash Pike, Roz Ward and Jak (2011) Gender Questioning: A Joint Project of Trans Melbourne Gender Project, Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and Rainbow Network Victoria, Melbourne, Australia. Ada Derana (Truth First) March 2012 [online] Available from: http://www.adader ana.lk/ne ws.php?nid=17473&mode=beauti BBC News (2012) Q & A Post War Sri Lanka, 13 November 2012. Av a ila ble online at : ht t p://w w w.b bc .co.uk /ne w s /w o r ld - s o u t h asia-11393458

Bastians, Dharisha (2013) Bodhu Bala Sena Wants Law Changed to Per mit a Sinhalese Man to Mar r y Five Wives to Propagate the Sinhala Race, 23 January 2013, www.dbsjeyaraj.com Av aila ble online at: http://dbsjeyar aj.com/dbsj/archives/15219 Bellanvila Sudaththa Thero and Dunne, C. J., (2007) Homosexuality, Buddhism and Sri Lankan Society, Groundviews 28 August 2007: Colombo [online] Available from: http://groundviews. org/2007/08/28/homosexuality-buddhism-and-sri-lankan-society/ Bruce-Jones E., & Itaborahy L., (2011) State Sponsored Homophobia: A World Sur vey of Laws Criminalizing Same Sex Sexual Activity between Consenting Adults, An ILGA Repor t, The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Organization. Colombage, Dinouk (2013) Bodu Bala Sena: A Threat to Sri Lankas Future, Groundviews, 19 March 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Available online at: http://groundviews.org/ 2013/03/19/bodu-bala-sena-a-threat-to-sri-lankas-future/ Daily Mirror, Two men fined for gross indecency, 16 November 2012, Sri Lanka. Av aila ble online at: http://www. dailymir ror.lk/news/23546-two-men-fined-for-gross-indecency-. html

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Fernando, M. (2008) Vagrant Voices, Himal S o u t h A s i a , Vo l . 2 1 ( 3 ) , A v a i l a b l e o n l i n e a t : ht t p://w ww.him alm a g.c o m /Va g r an t voice s_nw 2138.ht ml Gunasekara, Tisaranee (2013) The Muslims are the new Tamils, Lanka Standard, 27 Jauar y 2013, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Available online at: http://www.lankastandard.com/2013/01/themuslims-are-the-new-tamils/ Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 21 of 1996 Human Rights Watch (2011) Sri Lanka: Repor t Fails to Advance Accountability, 16 December 2011, New York. Available online at: h t t p : / / w w w. h r w. o r g / n e w s / 2 0 1 1 / 1 2 / 1 6 / s r i - l a n k a r e por t-f ails -adv ance-account a bility H u m a n R i g h t s Wa t c h ( 2 0 0 8 ) T h i s A l i e n L e g a c y : T h e O r i g i n s of Sodomy Laws in British Colonialism. w w w. h r w. o r g / s i t e s / default/files /r e por t s /lgbt 1208_w e b w cov er.p d f. Ingr am, Gor don Br ent, Anne-Marie Bouthilette, Yolanda Retter (Eds) (1997). Queers in Space: Communities / Public Places / Sites of Resistance, Bay Press, USA. Law and Society Trust (2010) Sri Lanka Atrophy and Subversion of the Human Rights Commission, ANNI Repor t on the Performance and Establishment of National Human Rights Institutions in Asia, Law and Society Trust: Colombo. Miller, J and Nichols, A (2012) Identity, sexuality and commercial sex among Sri Lankan nachchi. Sexualities, Special Section, 15 (5/6) pp.554 569, Sage Publications, Available online at: DOI: 10.1177/1363460712446120 Nichols, Andrea (2010) Dance Ponnaya, Dance! Police Abuses Against Transgender Sex Workers in Sri Lanka, Feminist Criminology 2010 5: 195, Sage Publications, A v a i l a b l e o n l i n e a t : http://fcx.sagepub.com/content/5/2/195 Section 10 (d) Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Act No. 2 1 of 1996

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The Sunday Leader, Dont Abandon the Gay Men, 6 June 2010.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Section 365A, Sri Lanka Penal Code (Amendment) Act No.22 o f 1995, 31 October 1995 Section 399, Cheating by Personation, Sri Lanka Penal Code 1 8 8 3 Tambiah, Y. (2004) (Im)moral Citizens: Sexuality and the Penal Code in Sri Lanka. In A.J. Canagaratna (Ed.), Neelan Tiruchelvam Commemoration Conference Papers (pp. 107 141) Colombo, ICES Tambiah, Y. (2003 May). Man-made Laws and Feminine Feelings: A Lesbian Encounter with the Law in Sri Lanka, Lines, 2(1) 2003 US Depar tment of State (2011) Human Rights Repor t, Sri Lanka, Available online at: http://www.state.gov/j/dr l/r ls/hr r pt/2011/sca/ 1 8 6 4 7 5.ht ml UNOHCHR (2013) Repor t of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on advice and technical assistance for the Government of Sri Lanka on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Council, 22nd Session, United Nations General Assembly, 11 Febr uar y 2013. Av ailable online at: http:// w w w. o h c h r. o r g / Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/AH R C - 22-38_en.pdf Vagr ants Ordinance No.20 of 1942 Wor ld Health Or g a n i z a t i o n ( 2 0 0 4 ) S u i c i d e P r e v e n t i o n : Emerging from Dar kness, Available online a t : h t t p : / / w w w. s e a r o. w h o. i n t / e n / S e t i o n 1 1 7 4 / S e c t i o n 1199/Setion1567/Section1824_8089.html World Health Organization (2011) Suicide rates per 100,000 by country, year and sex. [online] Available from: http://www.who.int/mental_health/pr evention/suicide_r ates/en/ (2012) Joint Statement by Sunila Abeysekara, Nimalka Fernando and Pakiasothy Saravanamuttu, 23 March 2012, Colombo Sri Lanka. Available online at: http://www.scribd.com /doc/86440203/joint-statement-sunilaabeysekara-nimalka-fer nando-and-dr-paikiasothy-saravanamuttu

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(2007) Yogyakar ta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

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[ appendices]

APPENDIX A: Profiles
Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Reproduced below are two profiles from the 33 qualitative inter views conducted with LBT indviduals. Profile 1: Christy 28-year-old Christy was born in Kandy, but currently lives in Colombo with her girlfriend. Ethnically Sinhalese, she was born into a Roman Catholic family but says that she hardly goes to church and practises her religion in her own way. Christy currently works in Colombo as a Customer Care Executive at a private company. Her perception of her gender identity is that it is 75 percent feminine and 25 percent tomboyish. She does not use a specific term to describe her sexual orientation, but says she is 100 percent happy with a woman rather than being with a man. Four years ago, when Christy was 24 years old, she told her brother that she preferred women over men as sexual par tners. Although at first he did not take it seriously and did not want to talk about it, eventually he was in suppor t of her preferences and asked her to make her own choices when her parents were trying to force her into marriage. When Christy came out to her aunt at age 21, she met with an unexpected reaction. Instead of being suppor tive of Christys choices, her aunt made sexual advances towards her. A couple of years after this incident, when Christys uncle found out that Christy had a girlfriend instead of a boyfriend, he tried to forcibly show her porn and stalked her on Facebook by making rude comments on her page. Apar t from these experiences of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, Christy also faced physical and sexual abuse from her ex-boyfriend who shoved, pushed, and throttled her, and constantly forced sex on her after he found out about her past experiences with women. At her workplace, the then CEO would constantly harass her with crude SMS messages asking her how her private par ts were and whether he could join or watch when she was having sex with her girlfriend.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

As a result of this physical, sexual and emotional abuse, Christy began to exhibit self-harming behaviour which included cutting herself and burning herself with cigarette butts. She even notes that, to date, even though she thinks about committing suicide when its really hard, she is unable to trust anyone to talk about it after her abusive experiences with he r a unt and unc le. Profile 2: Chamila Chamila is 36 years old, single, and lives in a suburb of Colombo, Sri Lanka, with her parents. She is ethnically Sinhalese, and a Buddhist, and has completed ter tiary education. She works for the State Security Forces and earns less than approximately US$300 a month. Chamila identifies as lesbian and butch. She realised that she was a lesbian at the age of 22 when she was attracted to women. She had a close friendship with one woman, which developed into a sexual experience after a year. She disclosed her sexual orientation to a few selected friends and to her boss at the age of 25. Chamila was outed publicly when a jilted lover made a scene outside her house, exposing Chamilas sexuality and their relationship to the neighbourhood. Her family were extremely disturbed by this incident, and Chamila was given a beating by her father. Chamilas mother made her visit a psychologist on the pretext of getting her a headache remedy. In addition, Chamila faced intimate par tner violence at the age of 30. She has also experienced discrimination and sexual harassment at her workplace, but never filed a complaint because she did not feel she would be protected by the law. She has been overlooked in selections for a spor ts team, and has twice been approached by seniors at her office to perform sexual favours with their wives and girlfriends. She has also been approached for sex by a senior colleague. She has been the object of her seniors taunts at the workplace. Chamila counts on her lesbian friends, an LBT organization, and a colleague at work for suppor t.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

APPENDIX B: Glossary of Terms

Aappa: slang (derogatory) for lesbian in the Sinhala language Bisexual: a person who is emotionally and/or physically attr acted
to me mber s of bot h t he s ame and t he o p p o s it e s ex .

Butch: a masculine lesbian. Her masculinity could be expressed


through masculine mannerisms, male clothing and/or haircuts. She is very comfor table with her female body and identity as a w o m a n .

Cisgender: a cisgender person is someone who identifies as the


gender/sex they were assigned at bir th. For example, if your bir th cer tificate says female and you identify as a female woman, you are a cisgendered person (as opposed to a transgendered person).

Femme: a feminine lesbian. Her femininity may or may not be

expressed through makeup, high heeled shoes and dresses. She could either be soft spoken, sweet and passive, or bold and aggressive. She is very comfor table with her female body and identity as a woman.

Gay: A person who is emotionally and/or physically attracted to


members of the same sex. Although all-encompassing, this term r efer s mainly to men.

Gender: is a socially constructed concept, or social classification,

of cer tain sets of behaviours, character traits and roles as feminine or masculine. Though the specifics of what may constitute feminine/female and masculine/male behaviours can vary across cultures, they uniformly impose a set of restrictions and rules on how each man or woman should behave in all areas of life.

Gender Binary: is the classification of sex and gender into two


separate categories of masculine and feminine. Most societies divide people into these two distinct categories which exclude many people who dont fit neatly into either category.
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Gender Identity: refers to each persons deeply felt internal and


Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at bir th, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.

Gender Expression: refers to the external manifestation of ones


gender, usually expressed through masculine, feminine or gender variant dress, appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, and behaviour. Gender expression is not necessarily an indication of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Heteronormativity: a view implying that all people fall into only


one of two genders (ie: male or female), that there are par ticular roles that men and women should follow, and that heterosexuality (ie: attraction to the opposite sex/gender) is the only normal sexuality.

Heterosexism: refers to the belief that heterosexuality

is the only normal and legitimate expression of sexual desire, intimacy and family life. It is institutionalized in societies around the world through laws, practices and cultural traditions.

Heterosexual: a person who is sexually, emotionally, and/or


romantically attracted to the opposite sex.

Homosexual: a person who is sexually, emotionally, and/or


r oma nti cally at t r act ed t o t he s ame s ex .

Homophobia: ir r ational fear, hatred, or prejudice towards


homosexuals.

Intersex: a person who is born with external genitalia, or internal

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reproductive systems that are determined to be neither exclusively male nor female. Intersex people often have biological characteristics of both the male and female sexes. Intersex variations describe a large variety of conditions where a body varies from the male or female standard in areas such as chromosomes,

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

hormonal makeup and genitalia. Intersex variations may be noticeable at bir th or develop later in life. The word intersex replaces hermaphrodite, which is generally considered impolite and/or derogatory.

LGBTIQ: an acronym which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,


Transgender, Intersex, Questioning and Queer. (Although more recently, with an increasing number of identity categories and labels this has expanded to LGBBHHTTQQI to include Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Bi-curious, Heterosexual, Homosexual, Transgender, Tr anssexual, Queer, Questioning and Inter sex).

Lesbian: a woman who is emotionally and/or physically attracted


to other women.

Non-Heteronormative Women / Men: is a term


used to describe women / men who choose to live outside the heterosexist and heteronor mative framewor k.

Ponnaya: derogatory slang in the Sinhala language, used to refer

to a gay / effeminate man. It also has multilayered meanings, and is used as a scornful characterization of men who have failed to meet Sri Lankas hegemonic standards of masculinity: a cuckolded husband, a man who fails to provide for his family, a man who is effeminate, a man whose sexual desire is for men (Miller & Nichols, 2012: 557).

Queer: a person who transgresses established gender and/

or sexual norms. Queer refers to LGBTIs as well as heterosexual persons who live outside heteronormative / heterosexist norms.

Sex: is the biological classification of bodies as male or female.

At bir th, infants are assigned a sex based on the socially constructed understanding of a cer tain combination of biological characteristics as representative of either male or female. These characteristics include chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, and genitals.

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Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Sexual Orientation: refers to each persons capacity for profound


emotional, affectional and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender.

Transgender: is an umbrella term for people, whose gender identity,

expression or behaviour is different from that typically associated with their assigned sex at bir th, including but not limited to transsexuals, travestis, transvestites, transgenderists, cross-dressers, and gender non-conforming people. Transgender people may be heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Transgender, as it is used in western societies, has limited resonance in many other countries. The term does not convey the multiple and diverse expressions of gender identity or the intersecting expressions of sexual desire, intimacy and gender nonconformity. For example, Metis in Nepal, like Zananas in Pakistan and Travesti in Argentina are effeminate men who have not surgically altered their bodies or transitioned to being women. Hijra in India may or may not be castrated and have sex with straight men but not gay men. In many cultures, the terms third gender or other gender are frequently preferred over transgender. In Sri Lanka, the Nachchi are best characterized as both transgender and homosexual: they embrace a feminine gendered subjectivity, but with no interest in abandoning key facets of their maleness, and are also unwavering in their ardent sexual desire for men (Miller & Nichols, 2012: 555).

Trans*: (with the asterisk) is a term that is used as an umbrella


term to include all the identities within the gender identities spectrum. This can mean many experiences of sex and gender: tr ans, tr anssexual, tr ansgender, gender queer.

Transgender Man (Female-to-Male/FTM): refers to a person


who identifies as male or masculine, but was assigned the female sex a t bir t h and may or may not hav e b een r ais ed as a g i r l . Also know n as Tr ans man, FTM or F 2M (fem ale-t o -male).

Transgender Woman (Male-to-Female/MTF): refers to a p e r s o n


73

who identifies as female or feminine, but was assigned the male s e x at bir th and may or may not have been raised as a boy. Also known

Transphobia: prejudice against, and/or fear of trans* people,


Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

or anyone thought to be trans*. Transphobia can include violence, harassment and discrimination as well as the general idea that says everyone must fit into being male or female. Transphobia can be built into the way things work - for example being forced to use either a male or female bathroom or having to continually tick male or female when filling in forms. Homophobia works in the same way but is aimed at anyone seen as being outside heterosexuality.

Transsexual: refers to a person whose gender identity


is different from their assigned sex at bir th. Often transsexual people alter or wish to alter their bodies through hormones or surgery in order to make it match their gender identity.

Transition: transitioning often consists of a change in style of

dress, selection of a new name, and a request that people use the correct pronoun. This may or may not include medical care like hor mone ther apy, counselling, and/or surger y.

Transvestite: a person, usually a man, who derives pleasure


from dressing in clothes usually worn by the opposite sex. Transvestites, like anyone else, may be gay, lesbian, bisexual, heterosexual, queer, or something else.

74

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

APPENDIX C: Archive of English and Sinhala Media Reports (1999 2013) referring to Sexuality 109

Theme

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description

About Homophobia 07.09.2013 Gay Star News Sri Lanka begins systematic targeting of gays http://www.gaystarnews.com/ article/sri-lanka-begins- %E2%80%98systematic- targeting%E2%80%99- gays070913 General 20.11.2012 Daily Mirror Legalize Prostitution Provicial Councillor http://www.dailymirror.lk/ news/23626-legalize-prostitu tion-provincial-councillor.html Gay 16.11.2012 Daily Mirror Two Men Fined for Gross Indecency http://www.dailymirror.lk/ news/23546-two-men-fined- for-gross-indecency-.html Gay 14.10.2012 Daily Mirror Alleged Gay Brothel Raided in Nugegoda http://www.dailymirror.lk/ news/22679-alleged-gay- brothel-raided-in-nugegoda. General 29.01.2012 Sunday Times 3 5 children raped daily http://www.sundaytimes. lk/120129/News/nws_12.html General 29.06.2011 BBC South Asia Sri Lanka mosques exonerate pornography girls http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/ world-south-asia-13959901? print=true#story_contiues_1

109

75

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Since the organization w a s s e n t u p i n 1 9 9 9 , t h e Wo m e n S u p p o r t G r o u p, S r i L a n k a , s c r e e n e d the English and Sinhala media (mostly print media) and collected paper c u t t i n g s o f a r t i c l e s d e a l i n g w i t h s e x u a l i t y. Ta m i l m e d i a r e p o r t s w e r e n o t s c r e e n e d h o w e v e r, a s w e d i d n o t h a v e a s t a f f m e m b e r c o n v e r s a n t i n Ta m i l . S c a n n e d c o p i e s o f s o m e o f t h e s e m e d i a r e p o r t s c a n b e m a d e available upon request.

(+) Denotes positively


Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
General

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Lakbima News

Description
Human Rights Action Plan. Nice Try But,....http://www.lakbimanews. lk/index.php?option=com_ content&view=article&id=3953: human-rights-action-plan--nice- try-but&catid=35:news- features&Itemid= Asylum News http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=WCiPgrozz- E&feature=player_embedded Asylum News http://madikazemi.blogspot. com/2011/10/sri-lankan-gay man-granted-asylum-in.html http://madikazemi.blogspot. com/2012/01/video-persecution -of-gay-people-in-sri.html

19.02.2012


Gay 26.06.2007 LGBT Gay 27.10.2011 LGBT - Gay 18.01.2012 LGBT

Gay

26.11.2011

LGBT

http://madikazemi.blogspot. com/2011/11/video-sri-lankan-gay -activist-speaks.html Where do we stand on Gay Rights http://www.dailymirror.lk/ opinion/14644-where-do-westand-on-gay-rights.html Camerons Threat What Sri Lanka has to Say (Scanned copy available) Sri Lanka among anti-gay nations of Camerons Aid cut list http://www.dailymirror.lk/ news/14463-sl-among-anti-gaynations-on-camerons-aid-cut-list. html#comments

General (+)

09.11.2011

Daily Mirror

General General

04. 11.2011 03.11.2011

Daily Mirror Daily Mirror

76

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
General

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

30.10.2011

Newspaper/ Media Institution


The Guardian

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Countries that ban homosexuality risk losing aid, warns David Cameron http://www.guardian.co.uk/ politics/2011/oct/30/banhomosexuality-lose-aid-cameron Number of Homosexuals increased in Sri Lanka http://eng.lankasri.com/view.php?2 2BmSac3CA34e4Y5203lOKdd3Oln 20T5Y3e4SMMca3mB52 Sri Lanka faces increase in Homosexuals http://www.adaderana.lk/ news.php?nid=15105&utm_ source=twitterfeed&utm_ medium=twitter Sri Lanka faces Homosexuals Increase http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx ?articleId=729496&publicationSub CategoryId=200 Survey:40,000 prostitutes, 35,000 Homosexuals and unaccounted Lesbians http://www.lankapuvath.lk/index. php/home/behind-the-curtain/ behind-the-curtain-2/18389survey-40000-prostitutes35000-homosexuals-a-unaccounted-lesbiansMR vetoes Gay Rights http://www.sundaytimes.lk/110911/ Columns/cafe.html Loitering Woman Remanded http://print.dailymirror.lk/news/ news/52088.html Woman posing as man arrested http://www.island.lk/index. php?page_cat=articledetails&page=articledetails&code_title=22479

Homophobic

22.09.2011

www.lankasri.com

Homophobic

21.09.2011

www.adaderana.lk

Homophobic

21.09.2011

www.philstar.com

Homophobic

14.09.2011 www.lankapuvath.lk

General Times Vagrants FTM

11.09.2011 04.08.2011 05.04.2011

The Sunday The Daily Mirror The Island

77

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Intersex

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

25.08.2011 LankaNewspapers.com Over 500 female births with male organs in Sri Lanka http://www.lankanewspapers.com/ news/2011/8/70079.html General (+) 15.05.2011 The Sunday Leader The Life Journey of a Sexual Rights Activist, Upeksha http://www.thesundayleader. lk/2011/05/15/the-life-journey-ofa-sexual-rights-activist-upeksha/ General (+) 08.05.2011 The Sunday Leader My Story by Sherman Anthony de Rose http://www.thesundayleader. lk/2011/05/08/my-story/ Homophobic 29.07.2010 The Daily Mirror A Tide Against the Natural - Editorial Written by Champika Liyanaarachchi (scanned copy available) also appeared in the Online Edition: http://www. dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/ editorial/106-editorial/16941.html General (+) 25.06.2010 The Daily Mirror Lanka for dialogue with gays (see also both positive and negative comments on news article) http://www.dailymirror.lk/ index.php/news/4626-lanka-fordialogue-with-gays.html Citizenship (+) 16.06.2010 Cats Eye Citizenship, Homosexuality and Equal Opportunities http://catseyesrilanka.wordpress. com/2010/06/16/citizenshiphomosexuality-and-equal -opportunities/ FTM 23.08.2010 The Daily Mirror The Truth Is In There.. (Online) by Matara Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk http://print.dailymirror.lk/news/ front-page-news/19277.html Article about a 23-year-old girl who suddenly discovered that her husband was a woman and reports it to the police.

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description

78

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

08.12.2010

Newspaper/ Media Institution


The Daily Mirror (Online)

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Woman posing as a Man Released on Bail by Matara Krishan Jeewaka Jayaruk http://print.dailymirror.lk/news/news/29338.html Follow up article on how the alleged imposters gender was examined by a Judicial Medical Officer while in remand and released on bail since the complaint against her was baseless. Further hearing postponed. Citizenship, Pride and Prejudice - Cats Eye Column http://www.island.lk/index. php?page_cat=articledetails&page=articledetails&code_title=1777 Dont Abandon the Gay Men by Ranee Mohamed. Sympathetic to the cause. Narratives of violence against cross dressing men who identify as MSM Celebrating PRIDE in Sri Lanka http://www.groundviews. org/2010/07/09/celebratingpride-in-sri-lanka/ Celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning in Sri Lanka http://www.groundviews. org/2010/07/07/celebratinga-lesbian-gay-bisexualtransgender-inquiring-and-queersri-lanka/ A Homophobic Editorial: Professional Negligence or genuine belief? http://www.groundviews. org/2010/08/03/a-homophobiceditorial-professional-negligence-or-genuine-belief/ Lesbian suicides, lesbian woes: Are these people pariahs? http://sundaytimes.lk/030209/ plus/13.html (scroll down to second article)

Legal (+)

11.07.2010

The Sunday Island

Sexuality / MTF (+) 06.06.2010 The Sunday Leader (Online Edition)

PRIDE (+)

09.07.2010

Groundviews

General (+)

07.072010

Homophobic

03.08.2010

General (+)

03.02.2009

The Sunday Times

79

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Legal (+)

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

March 2008

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Himal South Asia

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Vagrant Voices http://www.himalmag.com/ Vagrant-voices_nw2138.html

Legal (+) 28.12.2008 The Sunday Leader Gays are People Too - Editorial In response to the fact that SL (Online Edition) abstained from adopting the UN Declaration on SOGI. General (+) 21.07.2008 Pink News Bishop calls on church to embrace gays at make or break conference http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/ articles/2005-8427.html Legal (+) 08.03.2008 Daily Mirror Sri Lanka wanting in Sexual Rights Concerns by Marini Fernando. First appeared in Himal South Asia titled Vagrant Voices March 2008 Issue, Cover Feature. Very positive article which looks at legal situation in SL for LGBT General 15.08.1999 The Sunday Leader The Streetwalk Column by Bandula Jayasekera Karu will save us from Less-BeAnns Extremely homophobic article in response to an earlier news article that the first Lesbian group in Sri Lanka was planning to hold a South Asian Lesbian Conference in Colombo. The article refers to Lesbians as chain-smoking not so females and calls for road blocks on all roads leading to girls schools to protect our children from these l-bians Article ends on a threatening note, claiming that the ASP of Police, who is also the Director of the Presidential Security Division will take care of them. (scanned copy available) General 16.08.1999 The Sunday Leader Lesbians on the run after threatening calls, by Amantha Perera (scanned copy available)

80

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
General

English Media (1999 2013)

Date

20.08.1999 The Sunday Island

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Letters to the Editor titled Lesbian Conference in Colombo? written by P. Alles. (scanned copy available) Homophobic letter in response to the proposed lesbian conference in Colombo The letter states: Lesbianism in my opinion is a despicable, irreligious, and profane crime against nature and all things undefileds [sic] and hence, perpetrators of this cursed cult do not deserve to be tolerated in decent society. They are social outcasts and should be treated as such. The letter concludes: If by some chance those lesbians manage to get the necessary approval to hold their convocation, I request the police authorities to round up a sizeable collection of convicted rapists and let them loose among the jubilant but jaded jezebels when their assembly is in full swing, so that those wanton and misguided wretches may get a taste of the zest and relish of the real thing. See related article on IGLHRC website: http://iglhrc.org/cgi-bin/iowa/ article/takeaction/globalactionalerts/769.html

81

(+) Denotes positively


Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Homophobic

Sinhala Media (2001 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Neth FM (Radio)

Description
Balumgala Radio Talk Show Programme: Homosex and NGO https://www.youtube.com/ watch?feature=player_ embedded&v=5cUTT9UjFe0 Smear campaign against Homosexuality continues with interviews with religious leaders (Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu and Islam) who spoke against homosexuality. Also refers to some NGOs spreading homosexuality. The presenters argued that homosexuality does not lead to procreation and is therefore only based on desire; this was similar to the desire to rape someone or murder someone. Homosexuality was discussed as a mental issue; spreads STDs; conflated with paedophilia. Attacks on womens organisations as well. Some NGOs in Sri Lanka are working to abolish the laws against homosexuality. They should be stopped. Parents should protect their children. Lawyer spoke about the law being against homosexuality. From the frying pan to the fire (media) - http://www.vikalpa. org/?p=17678 Positive response to Neth FM Radio Talk Show on Homosexual Marriage Child Abuse, AIDS and Homosexuality should not be conflated(Right of Reply to Balumgala Radio Talk Show aired on 19 Aug 2013) https://www.facebook.com/photo.php ?fbid=707944952555117&set=a.1 63900603626224.39614.1472039 48629223&type=1&theater (Lakbima Newspaper edited this article since most of what was written could not be published in mainstream media due to socio-cultural reasons according to the newspaper. The unedited version can be read here: http://www.vikalpa.

25.09.2013

Positive (+)

14.09.2013

Vikalpa

Positive (+)

07.09.2013

Lakbima

82

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Positive (+)

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

09.09.2013

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Vikalpa

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Homosexuals http://www.vikalpa.org/?p=17589 Positive response to Neth FM Radio Talk Show on Homosexual Marriage Balumgala Radio Talk Show Programme on Homosexual Marriage http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=vkhwORxsa5E#t=505 Smear campaign on homosexuality by undercover radio journalist who befriended a 17-year-old transgender youth for 3 months, secretly recorded all phone conversations and reported the incident, by conflating homosexuality with paedophilia.

Homophobic

19.08.2013

Neth FM (Radio)

Homophobic

Homophobic

Trans (FTM) Positive (+)

Homophobic

Views of public persons regarding David Camerons statement on decriminalization as a condition for British Aid. (Scanned copy available / English Translation available) 06.11.2011 www.rivira.lk Editorial regarding David Camerons statement on decriminalization as a condition for British Aid. (Scanned copy available/ English Translation available) 29.10.2011 Lankadeepa Young woman disguised as a man remanded (Scanned copy available) 30.09.2011 www.samabima.info Are there homosexuals in Sri Lanka? Why are we ashamed to say the word condom? (this article was written in response to the spate of homophobic articles being written by Rivira.) http:// www.samabima.info/?p=826 25. 09.2011 www.rivira.lk An NGO Attempt to Discredit the Army by Levelling Accusations of Homosexuality (Against It) http://www.rivira.lk/2011/09/25/ vimarshana.html (Scanned copy available / English Translation available)

06.11.2011

www.rivira.lk

83

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Homophobic

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

18.09.2011

Newspaper/ Media Institution


www.rivira.lk

(+) Denotes positively

Description
The Unseen Aspect of the Secretly Mushrooming Gay Culture http://www.rivira.lk/2011/09/18/ vimarshana.html (Scanned copy available / English Translation available) On Homosexual Organizations: A special order from the President following the Rivira news story http://www.rivira.lk/2011/09/18/ puwath9.html (Scanned copy available / English Translation available) The country raises a voice about Homosexual Centres http://www.rivira.lk/2011/09/18/ vishesha1.html 35,000 Male Homosexuals in Sri Lanka National STD/AIDS Control Unit http://www.dinamina.lk/ epaper/art.asp?id=2011/09/14/ pg09_4&pt=p&h 24 Homosexual Centres have opened! Same article that appeared online on Rivira on 10.09.2011 (Scanned copy available / English Translation available) Short article with Photograph http://www.rivira.lk/2011/09/11/ puwath15.html (English Translation available)

Homophobic

18.09.2011

www.rivira.lk

Homophobic

18.09.2011

www.rivira.lk

Homophobic

14.09.2011

www.dinamina.lk

Homophobic

11.09.2011

www.rivira.lk

Homophobic

11.09.2011

www.rivira.lk

Homophobic

84

11.09.2011 www.puvathlanka.com Rivira homophobic, smear campaign on homosexuality http://www.puvathlanka.com/NEWS/ img/rivira/samalingika/samalinga. html (this site has been removed as of 27 Sept 2011) Extremely homophobic article exposing Companions on a Journey. The author visits the group pretending to be a gay man and then writes this article, in order to warn parents about it and requesting that they protect their sons from this disease. (English Translation available)

(+) Denotes positively


Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Butch

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Divaina

Description
Students arrested....... A 17-year-old student and 2 other younger students were arrested for being involved in petty thefts. The leader of the gang, was the older female student, who had had her hair cut short like a boys. New lives for 2 children after operation The news article talks about an 8-year-old child who underwent Hypostadias Intersex Correction Surgery (her sexual /reproductive organs were corrected). The Director of the Lady Ridgeway Hospital said that although the child could be identified externally as a girl, it was difficult to determine her sexual organs. By doing the surgery therefore she was made into a complete female. According to the doctor, there are about 500 such cases throughout the island. (scanned copy available) Father of two, disguised as a woman arrested The woman was arrested while she was riding her motorbike, clad in womens clothing. After being interrogate, the police discovered that he was a father of two children. When he was asked why he did this, his response was that he enjoyed doing this in the evening (he did it for fun). The police also say that he was connected to some petty thefts (theft of gold chains from women) that had occurred in the area. (Scanned copy available) Feature article about how homosexuality ought to be / can be cured (in 3 months!) Gossip Column Kellan Kollan Bala Ganivi.Regarding National Womens Netball Team and how parents whose children are in the team ought to protect their daughters not from men but from women. (Scanned copy available)

28.05.2011

Intersex

25.08.2011

Lankadeepa

MTF

30.05.2011

Lankadeepa

General Lesbian

08.05.2011 14.03.2010

Irida Lakbima Lankadeepa

85

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
General

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

02.05.2010

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Sunday Divaina

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Pudding Boarding, Sardine Boarding saha Chamari Boarding by Mithra Shri Karunanayaka Article about womens hostels. Includes one para on how womens hostels are notorious for lesbiansm. The author says this should be nipped in the bud before its too late. Same sex activity within girls hostels are much less today, when compared with the 80s and 90s and this is because society is more aware and because we keep a check on our children and make sure they do not engage in such unnatural acts. (Scanned copy available) Boardingwala Thahanam Gedi Kana Ilandhari by Mithra Shri Karunanayaka Article about boys hostels. Includes one para about a seemingly gay hostel owner who rents out rooms to girlyboys (keli kollo) (Scanned copy available) Boy disguised as girl since age 18 discovered at age 27 due a street fight that broke out. (Scanned copy available) Boy Disguised as Girl Since the Age of 18 The boy (27) was arrested along with other young men for being involved in a fight that broke out between them in Wariyapola. He was presented to the Judicial Medical Officer for further examination. Woman disguised as a Male Army Officer married to a Woman following mobile phone love affair (Scanned copy available) A 30-yr-old young woman, disguised herself as a male army officer, and began a mobile phone love affair with a girl. The accused had married her wife on 29 Nov 2009. Before marrying her, the accused had presented her girl friend with pictures of an army

General / MTF

09.05.2010

Sunday Divaina

MTF

21.08.2010

Lankadeepa

MTF

31.08.2010

Lankadeepa

FTM

23.08.2010

Lankadeepa

86

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
soldier, claiming they were photographs of herself. A recent incident where the accused had returned home to her wife after a drunken night, revealed the fact that she was actually a woman and not a man. Police investigations also revealed that the accused has been married previously and is the mother of 2 children. Admitted to the Male Ward due to indistinguishable clothing Case from Balapitiya. Even though she looks like a man, shes actually a woman. She even prefers to behave like a man. Wore short hair, trousers and a t-shirt. Shes the mother of 4 daughters and she works at an Insurance Company and rides a motorcycle. While on her way to work, she met with an accident. The locals in the neighbourhood who witnessed this, rushed her to hospital, where she was admitted to the male ward. While dressing her wounds, the nurses suddenly realised that she was a woman and not a man, and was immediately transferred to the female ward. The nurses pointed out that this mistake would not have happened if she wore appropriate womens clothing instead of mens clothes. Case of suspicious death of two young girls from tea estate working as domestics in Colombo : Creative writing Column about two girls (names changed) who grew up together in a tea estate, moved to Colombo due to poverty, worked as domestics in adjoining houses, committed suicide because they could not be together every night. News feature about suspicious death of two young girls (aged 14 & 13) whose bodies were found in the Canal down Bauddhaloka Mawatha on 15 August 2009.

Gender

17.08.2010

Divaina

Double Suicide/ Suspicious Death

24.08.2009

Lankadeepa

28.08.2009 Divaina

87

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Both girls were from a tea estate, and were employed as domestic workers at two houses (which were in close proximity to each other). Names of the girls are: Letchchami Sumathi (14) and Madhuraveeran Jeevarani (13). Parents find their death very suspicious. News article about the above case.

15.09.2009

Lankdeepa

Employers have been taken in for questioning. Investigations on this case are underway. Case of school girl in Colombo school committing suicide as a result of her mobile phone been confiscated by school prefects. News article about attempted suicide by hanging with uniform tie in the school toilet News article about death of girl while in hospital News article about Magistrates Inquiry into the death News article about Education Ministry demanding a statement from school Principal. News article about witnesses being called to court. News article about witnesses being called to court. Feature Story referring to rumours that were being spread about the deceased school girl, which included the following: she had a bad character; the mobile phone that was confiscated had porn video in it; the deceased girl was in the porn video/photos; she lived an unusual life and was not interested in her studies. Follow Up articles

Suicide

23.07.2009

Lankadeepa

27.07.2009 Lankadeepa 27.07.2009 Lankadeepa 29.07.2009 Lankadeepa

29.07.2009 Divaina 02.08.2009 Ravaya

02.08.2009 Lakbima 25.08.2009 Lankadeepa 03.09.2009 Lankadeepa Divaina 88 16.09.2009

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

30.06.2009 Divaina

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Woman who abused girl child arrested Case of 14 year old girl being abused and abducted by 20 year old girl News article about 14 year old girl sexually abused by 20 year old girl in Katunayake. This case was reported to the Women and Childrens Bureau of the Police Department. The 20 yr old is a friend of the 14 yr olds sibling. The older girl stayed overnight at the other girls house during a death commemorative service for her (the latterss) father. Thereafter, the older girl abducted the younger one and went to Anuradhapura, where she found her job at a Yoghurt factory. Woman who abused young girl in Remand News article about 24 yr old girl who sexually abused 14 year old girl. The older girl had met the younger one at her (latters) home when she had attended a death commemoration service for her father. They both shared the same bed for a couple of days. One day, the younger girl, had said she was on her way to school, but instead had left for Anuradhapura with the older girl. For about a month, they stayed secretly in Anuradhapura. Investigations had revealed that the older girl had at first been indulging in lesbian activities with a friend of hers. Prior to that she had a male lover, but was heartbroken by the male lover which in turn had resulted her engaging in lesbian activities. Such a case has never before been reported at the Women and Childrens Bureau. Women dressed as Men (aka Tom Boys) Women disguised as Men by Mithra Shri Karunanayeka. Extremely homophobic article

Kidnapped / Abducted

02.07.2009

Lakbima

FTM 89

17.05.2009

Sunday Divaina

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
about butch lesbians/tomboys. The writer calls it a mental and psychological disease. He claims to be an anthropologist and has closely studied some butch lesbians and their way of life. Links them all to chain-smoking thugs who are employed by underworld mobs. Advises all parents to keep an eye on their daughters who display signs of tomboyish behaviour at a young age, and advises them to nip it in the bud before its too late. Person who had disguised himself as a man for 20 years becomes a woman at the police station News article about a woman who had disguised herself as a man for more than 20 years. He had been arrested on charges of minor theft and it was then discovered that shes a woman. Her male clothes were immediately stripped and she was converted into a woman by being made to wear womens clothes, while at the police station. Investigations revealed that the woman had not had any sexual problems and had been born a complete woman. Addiction to Homosexuality (Scanned copy available) Are you addicted to homosexuality? Are you not attracted to the opposite sex? Are you suffering as a result of this? Do you wish to be free of this? Homosexuality can be cured completely. We are the only clinic in the entire island skilled to do this. All diagnosis will be given by registered doctors and psychiatrists. Shri Seth Clinic 0718 303030 Increase in Unnatural Acts due to Internet Usage News Feature about the fact that

FTM

03.01.2009

Lankadeepa

Advertisement

28.12.2008

Lakbima

General 90

05.09.2005

Sunday Lakbima

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
increasingly a larger number of people are arrested under charges of being engaged in unnatural acts. This has been defined to include unnatural sexual activities between two men, two women, or between a man, a woman and an animal. In some cases the acts have included the use of the following items: knives; other sharp instruments; wooden poles; blunt instruments; guns; pistols; T56 machine guns; explosive devices. Between 1995 and 2003, 11 people have died, and 23 faced major injuries as a result of unnatural sexual activities. Double Suicide of two school girls in Gampaha: Deepika Priyadharshani Alwis (15) and Chanika Chathurangi Fernando (15). Both girls hugged each other and jumped in front of an oncoming train. When she died, Deepika was wearing Chanikas clothes. They had both left their school uniform, tie, shoes and bag by the side of the rail track. After school both girls had gone to Chanikas house, and changed their clothes. Since Deepika did not have a change of clothes, she wore Chanikas clothes. Both childrens parents had no idea as to how or why this had happened. Follow Up Feature Story 16 year old nomadic/ gypsy girl, disguised as a man, arrested as a suspect for a murder case. Case of suicide by poisoning, two friends (both girls) from the same village. One was 24, the other 20. Boy becomes Girl at Dambulla TempleA boy was arrested on charges of sexual harassment. Later discovered that shes a girl and had been disguised as a

Double Suicide

22.07.2005

Lankadeepa

FTM Suicide MTF

24.07.2005 11.05.2005 19.05.2005 10.03.2004

Sunday Lakbima Lankadeepa Lankadeepa Lankadeepa

91

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
boy for two years. The person is 18 yrs old and has been handed over to the Salvation Army. Positive full page feature about Sexual Rights written by the WSG. Female Corporal arrested on charges of giving fake ID to male army officer disguised as a female army officer. Boy disguised as female army officer, managed to get ID stating his fake sex as F due to his friendship with the Female Army Cooporal. It was also discovered that this Female Army officer had a relationship with another male army officer in Kurunegala and lived with him as his wife. She has even taken part in the village new year festivities, (ie: ladies cycle race, planting rice in the paddy fields). Case of man disguised as woman. Rohini/Nimal was arrested in a heroin drug deal. At the police station, during interrogation, they stripped her and searched her on a hunch that he was not really a woman. It was then discovered that she was a man. Immediately made to wear mens clothing. His story: as a young child, he always felt different and that he was a victim to a sexual crisis. Hes home town is Avissawella. But at the age of 14, with the help of a friend he came to Colombo, adopting a female guise and using his sisters name Rohini. In order to earn money he became a male sex worker and got addicted to heroin. On a previous occasion he had been arrested and imprisoned on charges of drug abuse and distribution and was sentenced to 4 years in prison. At that time he was in the womens prison, and he managed to keep his guise quite well. The police have now decided to get him checked by a doctor and find out his actual sex.

Sexuality (+) MTF

12.12.2004 18.01.2003

Ravaya Lankadeepa

MTF

20.07.2003 Sunday Lankadeepa

92

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
MTF

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

31.05.2003 08.06.2003

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Lankadeepa Sunday Lakbima

(+) Denotes positively

Description
News feature about her sex change and attempt to change sex in national ID card. Feature Story on MTF Case of Dr. Subash Neminda Samarasinghe becoming Dr. (Mrs) Subashini Nemindi Samarasinghe As a young child, he studied at local school in Colombo, entered Colombo University and did medicine. Went on to become a member of the Edinburgh Royal Medical Committee. He says he was fortunate to study medicine. Specialized in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (He is a doctor at Badulla General Hospital). Studied at Oxford Uni as well. Had a sex change operation in UK. Presented his case to the SL Govt and managed to change his ID to reflect his transformed sex, which was Female. The article also had a small column on the side giving basic details about how and why sex changes happen. This column is written by a Dr. R.N.P. Rajapakse (Obs & Gynae specialist in the plantation sector). Double Suicide of two young girls: Sujani Handapangoda (18) from Pathinigolla, Matale; and Idamgedara Tharaka (aka Anoma) (16) from Miriswala, Matale. About 6 months ago, Sujani had been married off to a man. The husband claims she never came close to him during their marriage. On the 2nd of August both girls had left their respective homes, and had hanged themselves in a Rubber Estate by the use of a saree on the 21st night. The note left behind found in the bag that one of them had been carrying said: Since we cant live together, we will die together.

Double Suicide

23.08.2002

Divaina

93

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme
Double Suicide

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date
23.08.2002

Newspaper/ Media Institution


Lankadeepa

(+) Denotes positively

Description
Same news story. However no mention of Suicide Note. Names also slightly different: Sunitha Handapangoda 20 yrs old & I.G.Anoma 16 yrs old. Very positive full page article on Lesbianism and Homosexuality within a Rights Framework. WSG, IGLHRC, COJ have been mentioned. Written by Mr. Sunil Gamini. Woman disguised herself as a Man in order to search for her father who had left her and her family before she had been given birth to Case from Galagedara (Kurunegala District) At the age of 23, she had expressed her desire to go in search of her father that she never met. When she mentioned this need to her mother, she had also stated that she would have to disguise herself as a man to undertake this search. Thereafter she had left her hometown and began working at a garment factory. While working she shared a flat with two other girls, who began remarking on her masculine appearance. Thereafter, her initial wish to disguise herself as man was rekindled and she began to dress and behave like a man. She went back home to her hometown and explained to her mom that she was a man suffering from a sexual crisis. Since that day onwards, she began hanging out with the boys, playing cricket, climbed trees, smoked cigarettes. After some time, when she began her search for her father, she met a caretaker at a religious institution and began living with him. While living with him, she did many things that were unfeminine. When she could no longer hide it from her friend, she disclosed her sexual identity to him, asking him to swear by her not to mention it

General (+)

28.04.2002

Dinakara

FTM

26.03.2001

Lankadeepa

94

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
to anyone and if he did threatened to commit suicide. When this news reached her mother, the mother made a complaint at the police station, about her son who had a sexual crisis and who had fallen prey to a homosexual man. Following this, both her son and the caretaker were produced at the police station. The police then proceeded to medically examine the womans son only to find that she was not suffering from any sexual crisis but instead found that she had been raped. Mysterious Death of two young women aged 21 and 30. Feature Story The bodies of Nandani (30) and Shanika (21), hands tied together by a piece of cloth, were found washed up on the beach at Dodangduwa, in the Galle District. Their death has been a mystery to the police and to their families. There have no signs of murder, rape or sexual abuse. On 16th October, both women had informed their respective families that they would be going on a trip to Matara. After about 4 days when the parents did not hear from either of them, a complaint was brought to the police station about the missing women. Their bodies were found a couple of days later. Both women were employed at a garment factory. Nandani worked as a supervisor. Their work colleagues had pointed out that they were very very close friends. If one of them was sick, the other would look after her and care for her and feed her etc. The police also discovered letters they had written to each other and had noted that these letters were the sort of letters one would write to ones lover. Shanikas parents noted that their daughter

Suicide / 05.11.2001 Mysterious Death

Lankadeepa

95

Womens Support Group, Sri Lanka.

Theme

Sinhala Media (1999 2013)

Date

Newspaper/ Media Institution

(+) Denotes positively

Description
would always wear shorts. They had also received a proposal for a potential groom for Shanikas wedding. The article ends with a request to the public for more information on the death of these two women. Woman who disguised herself as a Man lived with her wife for 1 years At age 25 Devinda married Buddhima (aged 13). Though not legally registered, their union was recognised as a marriage by the neighbourhood and family members. Follow Up Full Page Feature Story

FTM

28.01.2001

Sunday Lakbima

04.02.2001 11.02.2001

Sunday Lakbima Sunday Lakbima

96