A petition to repeal Sri Lanka’s colonial laws that are used to criminalize homosexual sex has been started by Equal Ground rights group.
Sections 365 and 365A of Sri Lanka’s penal code criminalize ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ and ‘gross indecency’ respectively. They have been historically used to penalize gay people but no one has been convicted by them for 50 years.
Equal Ground say in the letter to the government:
‘The criminalisation of same sex relationships and the resultant cultural and social stigmas attached to homosexuality and transgender means that the LGBT community of Sri Lanka faces all forms of discrimination, marginalisation and violence resulting in mental health issues, low self esteem and internalised homophobia.’
Neighboring India repealed this corresponding section of the criminal code in 2009. That decision is currently being examined by the Supreme Court in Delhi with an announcement pending.
Equal Ground are organizing Colombo Pride next week (18 to 24 June) with an art exhibition, film festival, Pride party and kite-flying festival.