Sri Lanka Brief
NewsSri Lankan LGBTQI+ community and allies condemn President Sirisena’s homophobic comments.

Sri Lankan LGBTQI+ community and allies condemn President Sirisena’s homophobic comments.

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Statement by the Sri Lankan LGBTQI+ community and allies on President Sirisena’s homophobic comments at the ‘Jana Mahima’ rally

The following is the text of a statement by members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Sri Lanka and allies on recent comments made by President Maithripala Sirisena at a public rally.

At the public ‘Jana Mahima’ rally held on Monday 5 November 2018, President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka made a series of homophobic comments. The President, who was in a Joint Government with the United National Front (UNF) led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, categorically stated that Mr Wickremesinghe rejected national values and had entered a “butterfly life” [‘samanala jeevithaya’ in Sinhala], which implies a queer lifestyle. Sirisena then commented that key decisions of government were made not by the President nor by party seniors but by Mr Wickremesinghe and his “butterfly caucus” [‘samanala rela’ in Sinhala]. These comments were met with laughter and applause by those gathered on stage beside Sirisena, including Mahinda Rajapaksa who was appointed as Prime Minister by Sirisena.

As members of the Sri Lankan LGBTQI+ community, we categorically condemn this homophobia openly promoted by the elected head of state of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. This statement makes it clear that President Sirisena has absolutely no notion or commitment whatsoever for the fundamental rights and human dignity of all Sri Lankans. It is particularly disappointing coming from a President elected on the votes of many members of the Sri Lankan LGBTQI+ community who saw his candidacy as a respite from the rampant homophobia of the preceding Rajapaksa presidency.

We also wish to reiterate that the accusation that the UNF was run by an LGBTQI+ agenda is wildly inaccurate. We have experienced the UNF’s own efforts to keep fundamental rights of LGBTQI+ Sri Lankans rights at bay, and to ignore the pleas of non-cisnormative and non-heteronormative Sri Lankan citizens to ensure their fundamental rights. The UNF’s Minister of Justice, to cite but one example, was reluctant to even provide a courtesy call appointment for a delegation of LGBTQI+ professionals, in the aftermath of the Indian Supreme Court’s progressive decision to repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Had the UNF actually been led by an LGBTQI+ agenda, Sections 365 and 365A of the Sri Lankan Penal Code would by now be repealed, and equality irrespective of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity/Expression and/or Sex Characteristics [SOGIESC] would have been enshrined in the Constitution.

President Sirisena’s statement is therefore a clear case of misinformation, and misleading his own party and supporters. We condemn his use of homophobia to amuse his political gallery. By trivialising homophobia in this fashion, President Sirisena should be held responsible for any homophobic incidents that Sri Lankan citizens may experience in the coming days.

We call upon all Sri Lankans who respect the fundamental rights of each and every Sri Lankan for equality, justice and dignity to join with us in categorically condemning President Sirisena’s homophobia and public incitement of homophobic hatred.

Signatories:
1. A.M.M.Safran
2. Abinaya Rajasekaran
3. Adil Suraj
4. Aji V.Y
5. Akila Dias
6. Aloka Wijesinghe
7. Amalini De Sayrah
8. Amarasiri Abegunawarena
9. Amila Sampath Wijegunaratne
10. Ammaarah Zuhry
11. AMS Gunawardene
12. Amy Hunter
13. Anonymous
14. Aritha Wickramasinghe
15. Arun Welandawe-Prematilleke
16. Asiri Ekanayake
17. Bashya Ratnayake
18. Benjamin Subasinghe
19. Bunty Burah
20. Camryn S. Kingsley
21. Chamath
22. Chameli Karunathilake
23. Chandana Gunarathne
24. Chanuka Kaluthanthri
25. Charith Silva
26. Chathu Dhamsara
27. Chathurya Silva
28. Chathushka Perera
29. Chethana Daniels
30. Chethika Hapugalle
31. Chiranthi Rajapakse
32. Christos Perera
33. Damiru Siriwardana
34. Danuja Perera
35. Dasanayaka
36. Dasun Wijewardena
37. Dave Hunter
38. Devin Hewage
39. Devindani Saranga
40. Diani Dodamgoda
41. Dilvi
42. Dimuthu Ranasinghe
43. Dinesh Perera
44. Dinesh Rajawasam
45. Dinuka perera (Firon Seshon)
46. Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana
47. Dr Fiona Kumari Campbell
48. Dr Neshantha Harischandra
49. Dushan Kumaravel
50. Eema
51. Eesha Coswatte
52. Ephraim Shadrach
53. Erica
54. Eshanthi
55. Farah Macan Markar
56. Fatema
57. Gayan sanjeewa
58. Gayathri Abeywickrama
59. Gihan Alwis
60. Haleema Iftikar
61. Hans Billimoria
62. Hansi Deshapriya
63. Harini
64. Harini Perera
65. Dhanushaka Thilina
66. Hashan Komasaru
67. Hasna Farouk
68. Imaad Majeed
69. Imap ukey
70. Infaz
71. Inoka Priyadarshani
72. Inshira
73. Inura Kadawatha Arachchi
74. Ishan Ali Marikar
75. Ishan Jalill
76. Isuru Gunasekara
77. J Fernandez
78. Janindu de Zoysa
79. Janith Weerasinghe
80. Jerad Perera
81. Joel Pett
82. K.S Gihan
83. Kanchana Nanayakkara
84. Karthiga
85. Kasro Turai
86. Kasun Ehelapola
87. Kasun Rajapaksa
88. Kaushalya Ariyarathne
89. Kaushalya Perera
90. Parami Anuththara
91. Kavindya
92. Kisal
93. Kuma Chandrathilake
94. Kumeli Iddamalgoda
95. Kumudini Samuel
96. Kumudu
97. Kushan Thrimahavithana
98. L M S Wijetunga
99. Lahiru
100. Lakkitha Samarakone
101. Lakshan Seneviratne
102. Lakshani Godage
103. Lashan
104. Leana Pieris
105. Lishani Ramanayake
106. M. Maisan
107. Mahela Gamage
108. Suranga Chamdima
109. Manisha Jayasinghe
110. Manoj
111. Marshan Murugathass
112. Maura Nisantha
113. Maureen Ernest
114. Melisha
115. Meneka Galgamuwa
116. Miara
117. Michael Mendis
118. Minadi Gunawardena
119. Miriam Alphonsus
120. Moditha Maduranga
121. Mohamed Shammakh
122. Mohan
123. Muqaddasa Wahid
124. mx.MIRA
125. Nadeeru Gannoruwa
126. Nadeesh Jayasinghe
127. Natalie Soysa
128. Nelie
129. Nemindi Rathnayake
130. Nethmi Udugama Koralalage
131. Nick Tillekeratne
132. Nicole Alan
133. Nilu rupasinghe
134. Nimesh Fernando
135. Nora Deemer
136. Osura Rathnayake
137. Palitha vijaya bandara
138. Pasan Jayasinghe
139. Pathum Chamara
140. Pawara Nilanga
141. Prabha Manuratne
142. Prabhashana M.
143. Pramodha Weerasekera
144. Rabiah Roshen
145. Rabiah Roshen
146. Raisa Wickrematunge
147. Ramudi Samarasekera
148. Randimal Tisara
149. Raveen Perera
150. Ravi Tissera
151. Ravindu Jaysinghe
152. Riffan
153. Rimaza Hassan
154. Rishan
155. Rulzmith
156. Ruqaiya
157. S M R Sameera
158. Saakya Rajawasan
159. Saarah A
160. Sachii
161. Sahan Indeewara Guruge
162. Sahan Jayamanna
163. Sakuni
164. Sam Roxanne
165. Samank
166. Sampath Amarasekara
167. Sandamal Weerasinghe
168. Sandeepa Perera
169. Sanjeewa
170. Sanjeewa T. P
171. Sathya Amaratunge
172. Savini Ganhewa
173. Senel Wanniarachchi
174. Shabbeer
175. Shakeel
176. Shamala Kumar
177. Shanelle Jayawardena
178. Shazana Zarook
179. Shehara Gunaratne
180. Shenella I
181. Shermal Wijewardene
182. Soysa W.D.A
183. Sudath rohana
184. Supul Amarakoon
185. Supun Thrikawala
186. Suren Weerasekera
187. Talya Cassim
188. Taniya
189. Taniya Pillai
190. Tharinda Mallawaarachchi
191. Thilini Perera
192. Thisara
193. Thiyagaraja Waradas
194. Thushara Manoj
195. Tony Ouyang
196. Tulana Ariyaratne
197. Thanuja Wijewardena
198. Upul Kumara Wickramasinghe
199. Ursula Bastiansz
200. Venura kasun
201. Vidarshana Dominic Fernando
202. Vinidu Jayasekera
203. Vishane Herath
204. W.P. Eran
205. Wijith Rohan
206. Yamuna Guruge
207. Yasheera Fernando
208. Young Out Here Sri Lanka
209. Zahrah
210. Zahrah Rizwan
211. Zarha

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