Home » Uncategorized » Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ Equality Stalemate & Victorian Hangovers: Reflections On A Decolonizing Approach To Sexual And Gender Justice

Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ Equality Stalemate & Victorian Hangovers: Reflections On A Decolonizing Approach To Sexual And Gender Justice

The week of the 16th of January 2017 carried bad news for Sri Lanka’s LGBTIQ community. At the weekly meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, a number of ministers had vehemently opposed the abrogation of Articles 365 and 365A of the Penal Code. This also implies vehement opposition to the inclusion of a constitutional clause on equality to all Sri Lankan citizens, irrespective of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation. In other words, this cabinet decision, reached by a cabinet of ministers that describes itself as advocates of ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance) does not recognize the fundamental rights of Sri Lankan citizens who are not heterosexual in terms of their sexual orientation. Although regulations have been slightly altered with regards to the tedious process of ‘correcting’ the civil service documentation of Transgender citizens, this cabinet decision also amounts to a rejection of Transgender (and indeed other gender-plural) Sri Lankan citizens, as it clearly hints at a reluctance at the highest levels of government to ensure the fundamental rights of citizens irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. In other words, the government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and its President, whose election was described as the dawn of an era of good governance, does not recognize non-heterosexual and non-cis-hetero-normative Sri Lankans. Despite the tremendous contributions they make to society home and abroad, the highest levels of government have concluded that LGBTIQ people, due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, as a second, if not third class, pariah category. This writer, for instance, a Sri Lankan citizen and a multilingual Trans woman with a Franco-British education plus an International Politics PhD, is, to go by the cabinet decision… [Read more at Colombo Telegraph).

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The day after. It was very hard to sit down to write anything this morning. But I managed to pen this down - the entire tragedy has been caused by national security négligences, weak governance and bad management of foreign policy. Link to the article: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-day-after/ #lka #srilankaattacks #eastersundayattackslk #foreignpolicy #nationalsecurity #governance #srilanka #terrorism #ProudSriLankan
Love, love, lots and lots of love to my people. It’s time to hold each other close, and embrace our ethnic, religious, linguistic and all other diversities. We are strongest in our diversity. These attacks are nothing but a concerted effort to destabilise #SriLanka, and adversely affect our hard-earned peace, and make us another failed state in the global South, so that big powers can have a field day in using our beautiful island for their strategic advantages. We need to resist, stand tall, and stand proudly together in our Sri Lankan identity. We must NOT let any external interests sabotage our democratic tradition, our national security, our path towards peace and coexistence. My heart weeps for each and every one of the precious lives lost. #resist #lka #srilanka #democracy #NoCoupsInSriLanka #ProudPeople 🇱🇰✊🏾🌹
You are invited! #decoloniality #decolonialpolitics #lka #ireland #globalsouth #unlearning #knowledgeproduction #decoloniseCurricula #genderjustice #socialjustice #queerpolitics #intersectionalfeminism #transpolitics #internationalrelations #baileathacliath
Our collaborative event ‘Decolonial Dialogues’ took place this morning at Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. This was a combined event, with two panels proposals being squeezed into a single panel. Myself and my dear colleague Thiagaraja Waradas submitted a panel proposal entitled ‘Decolonial School: Bringing the ‘Decolonial’ to mainstream LGBT+ activism’. Two other colleagues, Ainan and Daisey, had submitted another proposal entitled ‘Decolonising Higher Education, Institutional Cultures and Programmes to Advocate for SOGIESC Indigenous Students’. Initially, when we received the news of these two absolutely vital panels being merged, we had our concerns re space and logistics. In the event, not many of us could come, due to immigration and funding-related constraints. The man who was to coordinate the session on our end and collaborate with our colleagues from Turtle Island, Thiagaraja Waradas, had his much-deserved ILGA scholarship snatched from him the morning of the day before his planned trip to Aotearoa. This really botched a lot of our plans and advocacy initiatives, and it is with a heavy heart that I am leaving the shores of this beautiful land – with a feeling of not having achieved the full extent of what we had originally planned. However, on the positive side of things, we have achieved quite a bit, close friendships between our colleagues from Turtle Island being one. In this panel, we followed a template of a circle and group activities, making it as informal as possible, and enabling people to delve into complex issues in relation to decolonial approaches and praxes, through basic questions and ensuing dialogues. Despite acute time constraints, we did succeed in bringing together a multitude of perspectives on decolonial work from Indigenous advocacy in white-settler contexts, to decolonial insights on SOGIESC advocacy in the global South/s. A big thank you to our colleagues from many countries who attended this panel, and helped us make it a success. A big thank you also to Kassie and Teina for ensuring that we were able to have the Tino rangatiratanga National Flag during this event. The end of the event included a visit by Daisy, myself, Teina and Kassie to
Our event ‘Decolonising SOGIESC advocacy in South and Southeast Asia: An Activist Conversation’ took place this morning in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara. Months of painstaking work went into the organising of this event, involving one of the senior-most community leaders of the region, Bubli Malik Sahiba, and it was a beautiful collaboration between #Venasa and #Wajood. Venasa is a grassroots trans rights advocacy group founded by the excellent Thenu Ranketh, a leader and role model to us all. Wajood is a leading trans rights body based in Islamabad, which has broken new ground in claiming space in governmental and judicial circles. The workings of neoliberal NGO-industrial LGBT+ rights work is such that Thenu could not join us, and yet another major resource person, Nada Chiayajit, also could not join us. To our greatest regret, our dearly beloved colleague and decolonial queer trailblazer Thiagaraja Waradas @waradas could not join us, as a result of an extremely questionable act of censure and erasure by ILGA World on the day before his planned trip to Aotearoa. However, and despite all those challenges, we managed to host this event. We had clearly outlined the necessity of a one-and-half-hour session, to do the minimum justice possible to the absolutely vital issues being discussed. However, we were only given a mere 45 minutes, which was barely sufficient for our excellent panellists to make their opening statements. This in itself is a reminder of the importance of looking beyond the NGO-industrial complex when working for SOGIESC advocacy, within our respective countries as well as internationally. It was our greatest pleasure to display the Tino rangatiratanga flag, and pay respects to the rightful owners of the land we are standing on. My heartfelt thanks go to my sister Kassie who opened the session with traditional Māori greetings and welcomed us to Aotearoa. #DecolonialAdvocacy #DecoloniseSOGIESC #SOGIESC #GINSOGI #ILGANZ2019 #TeWhanganuiaTara #GenderJustice #Lka #SriLanka #Pakistan #Venasa #VTN #Wajood #TransPolitics #SouthAsia #ClaimingSpace #DecolonialPolitics #DecoloniseILGA
This morning, I had the great pleasure of gifting a copy of my book ‘Decolonising Peacebuilding: Managing Conflict from Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka and Beyond’ [2018], to UN Secretary General’s Special Expert on SOGIESC issues, Victor Madrigal-Borloz. This book is all about challenging established assumptions, perspectives and understandings in relation to the study of politics of deeply divided places, and of developing new, if not innovative strategies of addressing shared challenges. It is also about recognising knowledge systems and analytical approaches that are from non-Western parts of the world, and of ‘de-centring’ the West in our ways of understanding the politics of peace and conflict. It is also about the agency and voice/s of people, especially women, very especially queer women, from the global South/s. The issues discussed in this book share a great deal in common with global challenges involved in working towards SOGIESC rights, especially in the global South/s. #InternationalAdvocacy #DecolonisingPeacebuilding #UnitedNations #VictorMadrigalBorloz #GINSOGIE #SOGIESC #LGBTQIA #Peacebuilding #ConflictResolution #DeeplyDividedPlaces #SriLanka #NorthernIReland #Tamil #Sinhala #Nationalisms #EthnicConflict #DecolonialPolitics #DecolonialEpistemologies #GlobalSouths #ChamindraWeerawardhana #Venasa #Chathra #CWDF #LKA #SriLankanPolitics #RepresentationMatters #PoliticalLeadership #MiExistirEsResistir

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