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2017: Watershed Year For LGBTQI+ Rights In Sri Lanka?

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A new year often dawns with new resolves and wishes, and this especially appears to be the case with the LGBTQI+ community in Sri Lanka. As dialogue on a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI)-related equality clause in the proposed new constitution continues, an absolute priority is that of raising awareness on SOGI-related fundamental rights among policymakers, senior government officials, the judiciary and law enforcement officials. This is due to an extremely worrying lack of awareness and understanding that pervades government circles. The attitudes of many policymakers and officials towards SOGI issues are shaped by prejudices and colonially imposed Victorian [im]moralities, which, contrary to what many of us assume, are also deeply ingrained in what could be described as the ‘Sinhala-Buddhist establishment’. In a land nurtured by Buddhist philosophy along the logic of Sabbé satta bavantu sukhi thattha, ensuring the protection of the basic human rights of all citizens fall well within Sri Lankan, if not Sri Lankan-Buddhist traditions of tolerance and acceptance. Indeed, this reading categorically…read more here.

Published: 1 January 2017.

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This refereed article focuses on an eventful episode of politics of Labour Representation in Northern Ireland. Writing about politics of the left in Ulster was indeed a very exciting experience. It was an effort, albeit incomplete and parsimonious, to document a time of much political excitement among party members and some of Northern Ireland Labour's most committed activists. This article is also one that provides testimony to the commitment of a group of people in Northern Ireland to genuinely work towards cross-community consensus, and move beyond zero-sum sectarian politicking [which has for many months brought Stormont to a standstill]. Writing this article began during a very busy time, right in the middle of my mandate as Northern Ireland Labour's LGBT+ Officer/EC Member. Its completion marks my own 'moving on' within politics of the left and advocacy of social and very especially gender justice, developing further critical perspectives on what could be broadly termed 'politics of the left'. This article, needless to say, is also an example of what I call 'reverse' area studies - as in, a person with their roots in the global South immersing herself in the politics of a deeply divided society in the global North. My thanks go to the many friends in the Labour Party in Northern Ireland and in the province's Labour mouvement for their friendship, critical discussions, arguments, disagreements and wisdom. Very special thanks go to a distinguished party senior, Comrade Sam R. Gibson, Chair of the Labour Party's North Down Branch, and a co-convenor of Save Our Services Northern Ireland, for his insight, wit, and decades-long commitment to inclusive politics in Northern Ireland. All errors and shortcomings remain mine. #PoliticsOfTheLeft #NorthernIreland #Ulster #NorthOfIreland #Labour_Representation_in_Northern_Ireland #LPNI #NILRC #RightToStand #CLRNI #SamGibson #lka #PoliticalParties
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