Ricky Simms/Majority World/Universal Images Group/Getty Images
Following the Supreme Court’s groundbreaking decision recognizing the rights and equality of LGBT+ Sri Lankans, the community’s 1.5 million vote base is now eagerly waiting for their Parliamentarians to take action.
In a recent island wide survey, 12% of those surveyed admitted to being part of the LGBT+ community. This puts the total countrywide population of LGBT+ people at about 2.6 million – with 1.5 million of them estimated to be registered voters. These figures tally with global surveys done on determining the natural occurrence of the LGBT+ population in different countries.
The LGBT+ population in Sri Lanka is higher than the island’s Muslim, Christian, Sri Lankan Tamil, Hill Country Tamil, Malay and Burgher populations (when measured separately) and therefore command a significant and critical vote base.
The community is also found proportionately within all of Sri Lanka’s religious and ethnic communities, thereby becoming a key floating vote that can sway elections.
However, despite the size of the community, LGBT+ voters have been ignored for decades by the political establishment and often subject to discrimination and humiliation for the way they are born.
Parliamentarians and political parties have increasingly recognised the issues faced by the LGBT+ community and its voting base. Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), National People’s Power (NPP) and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) have all adopted party-wide policy decisions to support the rights of the community and end decades of violence and discrimination.
Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision was unprecedented in Sri Lankan history. The apex Court went beyond a simple determination on the proposed two-page law.
The 44-page decision spoke extensively of the rights, equality and dignity of LGBT+ people and emphasized that the Constitutional obligation to ensure the Right to Equality and freedom from discrimination also applied to the LGBT community.
Sri Lanka Supreme Court clears path to decriminalize homosexuality
College of Community Physicians of SL stands in solidarity with LGBTQI community
Sections of the Penal Code used for forced anal and vaginal examinations of LGBT people
Letter to President Wickremesinghe calling for an end to discrimination against LGBT Sri Lankans
Decriminalisation of homosexuality : Rights advocates challenge “false and fictitious” petition of SLPP political activists
Proposed laws to protect LGBTQI community challenged
72% of Lankans say being LGBT is no reason for punishment
Jeevan joins in multi-party demand to repeal laws that discriminate against LGBT+ people
Ahead of a UN team visit, Sri Lanka repeals anti-LGBT+ laws in ER
Private member’s bill gazetted to decriminalize homosexuality
LGBT+ rights activists express grave concern over newly passed emergency regulations
Mahela calls to repeal laws that discriminate against LGBT+ people