The report focuses on Sri Lanka’s commitments under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). It also points out the government’s disregard for non-heterosexual women. Furthermore, it explains the discrimination faced by LBT persons, including:
- The Constitution of Sri Lanka places a blanket ban on discrimination done on certain grounds. However, this list of grounds does not include “gender identity”, “gender expression” or “sexual orientation”.
- Section 365(a) of Sri Lanka’s penal code criminalises consensual homosexuality in public and private spaces. The State and vigilantes often use this to persecute LBT community members and activists.
- Sri Lankan society is predominantly hetero-patriarchal. The report notes that this contributes to the stigmatisation of same-sex relations and LBT persons. Further, it recognises that these social attitudes contribute to tendencies of self-harm and suicide within the LBT community.
- Police often arrest transgender persons under the pretext of arresting sex workers. Often, they also persecute persons who do not conform to heteronormative codes of gender expression. This is more likely to affect persons from lower socio-economic groups.
- There are no policies which address discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity when accessing employment. As a result, transgender persons face very low employment rates.
- Same-sex partners cannot register their marriage.
- Transgender persons face numerous hurdles in changing their documents to reflect their gender. In some cases, changing identity documents have been used as a prerequisite to accessing sex-reassignment surgeries.
- Transgender persons are overlooked when designing healthcare services. In fact, transgender persons are invariably subject to medical “treatment” to “correct” their gender/sexual identity.
- No practitioners perform sex-reassignment surgeries.
- The transgender community continues to be vulnerable to HIV.
- The State has not constituted any government development programmes or other initiatives to recognise the economic and social needs of the community.
- Same-sex couples cannot access a range of social, economic and cultural rights because they cannot register their marriage.
- Same-sex couples cannot legally adopt children.
The report urges the Sri Lankan authority to decriminalise homosexuality. It also advocates for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Constitution of Sri Lanka. Finally, it suggests policies to protect equality LBT persons in the workplace.
READ FULL REPORT HERE.