Sri Lankan gay community gather to raise awareness

Sri Lanka`s gay community gathered in the capital today to raise awareness about minority issues and seek acceptance in the country`s conservative society.

Last Updated: Nov 27, 2010, 21:13 PM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s gay community
gathered in the capital today to raise awareness about
minority issues and seek acceptance in the country`s
conservative society.

`Diversity Games` an event organised by Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender organisations held their annual
outing at Colombo`s Narahenpita area at a public park amid
enthusiastic participation.

"The annual event helps create awareness and build
solidarity among their minority group and conservative Sri
Lankan society " event organiser, Sherman de Rose said
De Rose, a former Roman Catholic brother-turned-gay
activist is leading a 15-year campaign demanding the
authorities to decriminalise homosexuality in conservative Sri
Lanka.

Homosexuality is a century old punishable offence in
Sri Lanka introduced by British colonial administration.

When the law was introduced in 1883 it did not
acknowledge that women could have sex with each other and
therefore lesbians could not be prosecuted.

However, with the government substituting the word
"males" with the gender-neutral "persons" in the 1995
amendment to the penal code, women too face anti-homosexual
regulations.

However, there have been no recent reports of anyone
being prosecuted for homosexuality, but hundreds of
heterosexual couples have been rounded up and taken to police
stations for causing a public nuisance for displaying their
affection for each other at public places such as parks and
beaches.

PTI