Colombo PRIDE 2018 - Save the dates

Most of the dates are set for this years 14th edition of Colombo PRIDE! Please do keep checking this page from time to time for breaking news, updates on events and exciting happenings! Or, like our Facebook page – Colombo PRIDE 2018 and be informed of every event, every venue and other details!

4th June – Media Sensitising & conference

9th & 10th June 2018 – Youth Camp

12th June 2018 – FFLGBTIQ Forum (Family & Friends of LGBTIQ)

14th June 2018 – Music and Dance Festival

16th June 2018 – Rainbow Bus Parade

17th June – The ABHIMANI LGBTIQ FILM FESTIVAL

17th – 20th June – Abhimani LGBTIQ Film Festival
The ABHIMANI LGBTIQ FILM FESTIVAL is one of the oldest Queer Film Festivals in South Asia, inaugurated in 2006. It is also the only Queer Film Festival in Sri Lanka.

17th – 20th June – Rainbow Visions Art & Photo Exhibition

21st June – IDEA Junction/Addahas Mansala/Yosane Sandee

23rd June 2018 – Rainbow Pride Party

24th June The Rainbow Kite Festival

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The Convention on the Rights of the Child, recommends decriminalisation and non-discrimination

EQUAL GROUND welcomes the recommendations made to the Government of Sri Lanka by the Committee reviewing State obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), after its review at the CRC’s 77th Session last year. Based on the thematic report submitted by EQUAL GROUND at the 77th Session of the CRC in 2017, the Committee addressing the issues on discrimination recommended that the Government of Sri Lanka adopt proactive and comprehensive strategies and well-targeted actions to eliminate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) children. Furthermore, they recommended Sri Lanka combat discrimination against LGBTI children by decriminalising same-sex conduct, prohibiting harassment of transgender children by law enforcement personnel, and bringing the perpetrators of violence – including sexual abuse of LGBTI children – to justice.

The recommendations also call for the inclusion of mandatory teaching practices of non-discrimination and equality within the school curriculum and to train teachers accordingly.

Addressing issues of sexual exploitation and abuse, the committee notes their concern on the lack of legal recognition of male rape and the underreporting of sexual abuse of boys due to the criminalisation and stigmatisation of homosexuality and the shame associated with the “emasculation” that sexual abuse can cause for boys. The Committee recommends measures to be taken to criminalise statutory rape of boys by revising article 363 of the Penal Code of Sri Lanka. They further urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take the necessary actions to raise awareness regarding the matter, encourage reporting of violations by de-stigmatising and ensuring that accessible, confidential and child-friendly channels are made available for this purpose.

We would like to highlight the following CRC Committee recommendations pertaining to the LGBTI community.

Section C. General Principles
Non-Discrimination

16. The Committee urges the State party to take awareness-raising measures targeted at adults and children to overcome the prevalent perception about children as inferior to adults, and to treat children as rights-holders. Furthermore, the Committee recommends that the State party:

b) Adopt a proactive and comprehensive strategy containing specific and well-targeted actions, including affirmative social actions to eliminate discrimination against children in marginalized or vulnerable situations, including girls, children belonging to ethnic or ethno-religious or indigenous minority groups, children subjected to caste-based discrimination, children living in rural areas, refugee and internally displaced children, children in street situations, children of migrant workers abroad, children in institutional care, children with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) children;

© Combat discrimination against LGBTI children, including by decriminalising consensual same-sex acts, prohibit harassment of transgender children by law enforcement personnel, and bring perpetrators of violence, including of sexual abuse of LGBTI children, to justice;

(f) Include segments on non-discrimination and equality into the mandatory school curriculum for children of all ages, adapt teaching materials and regularly train teachers accordingly.

Section E. Violence against children
Sexual exploitation and abuse

23. The Committee, despite noting the efforts to combat sexual exploitation and abuse of children, is gravely concerned about:

(b) The lack of legal recognition of male rape and under-reporting of sexual abuse of boys because of stigmatisation, criminalisation of homosexuality, and feeling ashamed of so-called “emasculation”.

24. The Committee urges the State party to develop an effective and comprehensive policy for preventing the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, including through child pornography, and for promoting the recovery and social reintegration of child victims, taking into consideration the root causes that place children at risk. It further urges the State party to:
(b) Take prompt measures to revise article 363 of the Penal Code to criminalize statutory rape of boys, and take large-scale awareness raising measures to encourage the reporting of rape of boys, to eliminate stigma associated with it, and to ensure accessible, confidential, child-friendly and effective reporting channels for such violations;

Please find the complete concluding observations at the OHCHR website.

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Find peace of mind: free counseling service for LGBTIQ persons

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Zonta Women of Achievement 2017 – Award for Social Impact - Recognising the LGBTIQ community.

EQUAL GROUND is proud to announce that our Executive Director Rosanna Flamer-Caldera was awarded the Zonta Women of Achievement Award for Social Impact last Sunday night the 17th September 2017 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel. Since 1985, the Zonta Club 1 of Colombo has actively sought to celebrate women who have excelled in their respective fields and have contributed towards national development.

Upon receiving the award Rosanna acknowledged that “this is not simply a win for me and the past seventeen years of my work, but it is a milestone in my career to know that the LGBTIQ community has been recognised as an important part of society, solidifying that our communities’ issues are just as paramount as any other marginalised group in this country.”

With the work Rosanna and EQUAL GROUND has been doing, the LGBTIQ community has reached a point of recognition that would have been controversial ten years ago. We are now beginning to see slowly but surely, that the tides are changing. Businesses and mainstream society are beginning to see that it is time to accept and support the LGBTIQ community.

Rosanna’s had this message to share on receiving the award; “I am dedicating this award to every LGBTIQ person & any kid out there who has faced some form of verbal, physical or emotional harassment – stand tall, bow down to no one and know that you create the path you take. There are opportunities and options available, always. Even if it feels that your world is on fire and you feel helpless and cornered. It is up to you what you make of the situations that are presented to you. Take every stone that is thrown at you and build your castle, one stone at a time. It is what I have done and continue to do, every day!”

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Colombo PRIDE 2017

EQUAL GROUND is the only organisation in Sri Lanka to hold annual PRIDE celebrations – an important event in the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ calendar. EQUAL GROUND works very hard to provide for the needs of the community each year giving the LGBTIQ community of Sri Lanka the space to stand up tall and be proud of who and what they are. PRIDE in Sri Lanka is currently on a small scale and whilst we hope to one day march the streets demanding our rights, the current political climate coupled with the oppressive laws against LGBTIQ persons, impedes a peaceful march. Therefore, PRIDE celebrations take place as private, yet very public functions attended by persons from all over Sri Lanka. PRIDE has grown from strength to strength. Each year a diverse range of events are held to encourage the Queer community to come out and be proud. It is also an educational and sensitizing exercise where the message of diversity is addressed in a holistic way paving for better understanding and acceptance of the Queer community by the larger Sri Lankan citizenship. Events include workshops, dramas/shows/musicals, film festivals, art & photo exhibitions, parties, the kite festival and so on.

An interesting array of events are scheduled for this year’s biggest PRIDE celebration in Sri Lanka. For more details on each and every event, please check out our Colombo PRIDE Facebook page. Colombo PRIDE is one of the oldest PRIDE Festivals in South Asia launching in 2005 with a modest Pride Party. In 2006, for the first time, a week long schedule of events was planned to great success. Since then Colombo PRIDE has grown in strength, not only in numbers attending but also the number of varied events that have been presented over the years.

An integral part of Colombo PRIDE has always been the LGBTIQ Film Festival. Formally known as “Celluloid Rainbows”, Abhimani is the only International LGBTIQ film festival in Sri Lanka and the oldest LGBTIQ Film Festival in South Asia. It is held each year in conjunction with Colombo PRIDE and presents a collection of Queer short and feature length films from countries around the globe.

We thank our loyal sponsors and partners without who’s assistance this would not be possible!

Happy PRIDE!

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