In Sri Lanka, homosexuality (same-sex sexual activity) is illegal under a broad provision dealing with, "gross indecency", and no national legislation exists to protect LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) people from harassment or discrimination. However the penal provision dealing with "gross indecency" has never been applied there by the courts against LGBT people.
Article 365A prohibits anyone, irrespective of gender, engaging in "gross indecency", which is not explicitly defined, although stiffer sanctions apply if one person is under the age of 16 or if any sort of injury was caused as a result.
There is no special law to protect LGBT rights in Sri Lanka. In 2001, a gay right activist named Sherman de Rose was ordered to pay the "Island" newspaper legal fees for his rejected complaint against the publication to the Sri Lankan Press Council. The newspaper had printed a letter to the editor, which advocated submitting lesbians to convicted rapists in an effort to 'cure' them. In rejecting Rose's complaint against the newspaper, the Council stated that lesbianism is, "an act of sadism" itself, that homosexuality is an immoral and abnormal crime and that, as a man, Rose had no grounds to complain.
The government has abstained from signing a proposed United Nations document that called for nations to respect LGBT rights.
The government of Sri Lanka has no official program to educate the public regarding homosexuality or to aid individuals with Ego-dystonic sexual orientation. The WHO's ICD.10 diagnoses Ego-dystonic sexual orientation as thus ; The gender identity or sexual preference (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or prepubertal) is not in doubt, but the individual wishes it were different because of associated psychological and behavioural disorders, and may seek treatment in order to change it. (F66.1)
Family and marriage
Sri Lanka law does not recognize same-sex marriages or any similar civil union. There remains significant social pressure within Sri Lanka families to find a suitable partner of the opposite sex, marry and start a family.Template:Citation needed LGBT people who have come out to their family, often report being verbally or physically harassed.
While there are some traditional transgender practices associated with certain rituals, transgender people are victims of harassment and discrimination. The term ponnaya is a negative word often used against transgender people or effeminate men.
Media & popular entertainment
- Flying with one Wing (2002) – Asoka Handagama wrote and directed this film about a Sri Lankan woman who passes for a man in the society and in her personal relationships.
While AIDS–HIV is predominantly a problem for LGBT people and intravenous drug abusers, it has helped to open up a more public debate about gender roles and human sexuality. The high levels of poverty, combined with the stigma associated with the disease and conservative cultural mores has made it difficult to implement comprehensive prevention programs and to offer life saving treatment to those people already infected. In the late 1980s – 1990s, efforts to draft a national AIDS-HIV policy failed to pass and the subsequent political instability contributed to a tendenacy of the government to ignore the pandemic. Now a National AIDS Council has been established, the government formally recognize the United Nations World AIDS Day, more public education about the disease is available and efforts are being made to combat the prejudice people living with AIDS-HIV face in the workplace.