We shall be the Butterflies for Democracy

The ‘First Citizen’ of our country who was elected by our vote and subsequently betrayed the public mandate, has resorted to using the term ‘Butterfly’, a derogatory term alluding to minority sexual orientations. He has done so to hurt, shame and insult his political opponents and the LGBTIQ+ community as a whole, in order to protect his waning popularity and to justify his anti-democratic acts. We stand here today in protest to the aforesaid act and in support of the continued protest by civil society to the ongoing attack on our democracy.

We weren’t hurt by the President’s Butterfly Speech. It made us stronger. A butterfly is a symbol of social change, hope, life, and diversity. But we are hurt that the politicians in the ‘current government’ led by him have betrayed the values of democracy. We are hurt because these politicians, who were elected through the public vote, have become marketable goods auctioned for offers worth millions.

Many of us supported Mr. Sirisena in 2015 to defeat the previous government which blatantly violated human rights, attacked and murdered journalists and social activists, and breached law and democracy. We condemn his repulsive act of reuniting with anti-democratic politicos of the previous government and conspiring to grab power for them, in the process, betraying the trust we placed upon him.

This is a reminder to him that he cannot use homophobia as armor to protect himself, and that he and every other public representative and political party should act to pave way for the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ+ community to live with dignity, respect, and equality of law and justice.

Furthermore, with utmost disgust, we vehemently condemn the blatantly one-sided media reportage and political interference in the media, which is apparent in the present context. Media Freedom is the foundation of democracy.

Homophobia is a concept introduced by the British, an imperialistic endowment born in the Victorian age of Morality. It has been 70 years since we gained independence. The contract adhered to by the British administrators of governance back then is continued by our own politicians. It will be a huge mistake on their part to believe that they could cling to power anti-democratically by sacrificing not just us, but the rights of all minorities, by spreading racism, religious disharmony and instigating ethnic conflicts.

We, as the ‘Butterfly’ community, vehemently condemn this ongoing conspiracy which is anti-democratic and power-hungry. We believe that human rights are protected in a democratic society. We ‘the butterflies’ will keep on fighting to protect it. The world can be changed, not by violence, but by the sound of a thousand butterfly wings rising for peace, justice and respect. Therefore, we shall be the Butterflies for Democracy. Every single insult and attack against us is an encouragement for us to continue our struggle.

Butterflies for Democracy

07th November 2018
Liberty Roundabout

Continue reading this…

EQUAL GROUND is hiring.

Organization Profile

EQUAL GROUND Sri Lanka works for the social, political, civil and economic rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) community of Sri Lanka. Our work revolves around raising awareness and engaging in high level advocacy work that takes place domestically and internationally. We are on the lookout for bright and dynamic individuals who would like a career in advocating for LGBTIQ rights.

During our hiring process we will be focusing on the following competencies.
• Valuing Diversity and Inclusion
• Decision Making
• Problem Solving
• Teamwork
• Motivation
• Work Ethic
• Integrity
• Adaptability/Flexibility

Remuneration will depend on qualifications/experience at industry standard with EPF & ETF.

Media & Communications Officer

Job Description
We are currently recruiting individuals with experience in the field of Media and Communications. The Media and Communications officer is expected to create and distribute communication material for EQUAL GROUND such as draft press releases, website copy, social media content, newsletters, and other copy, with a focus on clear, jargon-free messaging. They are also expected to manage EQUAL GROUND social media profiles and engage with other stakeholders in sourcing content and advertisements for the EQUALITY Magazine.

Qualifications & Requirements
• A combination of education and experience in Media and Communications is required. Sound knowledge about Social Media platforms
• Understand and follow oral and written instructions
• Excellent administrative and coordination skills, with experience of working in a similar role, in a busy and fast paced environment
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word and Excel in particular)
• Storing initiative and ability to work a minimum of supervision
• Ability to multitask, working with several jobs simultaneously and to agreed deadlines.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English proficiency a must

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Graphic Designer

Job Description
We are currently recruiting individuals with experience in the field of Graphic Design for our Media and Communications Unit. The Graphic Designer is expected to create communication material for EQUAL GROUND for Social Media, Publications and so on. They are also expected to manage EQUAL GROUND social media profiles and engage with other stakeholders in sourcing content and advertisements for the EQUALITY Magazine.

Qualifications & Requirements
• A combination of education and experience in Graphic Design is required.
• communication skills are critical to the job as Graphic designers communicate ideas through text and image
• Graphic designer need to be a creative thinker
• needs to be comfortable with design software, such as Quark, InDesign, and Adobe
• should be fluent in multiple programming languages (including HTML and CSS) as well as web design content management system platforms, such as WordPress
• strong time management skills – able to multitask, juggle multiple assignments over long periods, and meet all established deadlines
• need to know how to develop legible, well-designed type. Knowledge of color theory is critical
• Sound knowledge about Social Media platforms
• Understand and follow oral and written instructions
• Excellent administrative and coordination skills, with experience of working in a similar role, in a busy and fast paced environment
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word and Excel in particular) aswell as Design products such as AI, Photoshop, Quark, InDEsign etc.
• Storing initiative and ability to work under minimum of supervision
• Ability to multitask, working with several jobs simultaneously and to agreed deadlines.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English proficiency a must – Sinhala and/or Tamil also a necessity

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Senior Project Officer

Job Description
We are seeking bright and enthusiastic individuals with excellent administrative and organisational skills to lead our Project Implementation Team. Minimum 2 years experience in project and budget management is highly desirable.
Working closely with the Executive Director, the Senior Project Officer will be responsible for:

• Full administration and coordination of projects throughout the planning, implementation and dissemination cycle.
• Planning, organising and facilitating meetings, workshops and training programs with a strong attention to detail. (all Trainings provided in this area)

Qualifications & Requirements
• Sociology/Human Rights, or Social Sciences degree level of education or equivalent experience.
• Excellent administrative and coordination skills, with experience of working in a similar role, in a busy and fast paced environment
• Experience of working with multiple stakeholders, internal and external, ability to deal with people at all levels
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word and Excel in particular)
• Familiarity with basic financial documents (e.g. invoices, order forms, timesheets) to high level of numeracy and in-depth knowledge of financial documents, budget management or accounting experience for the senior role
• Ideally some line management experience is required for the senior role
• Accuracy and attention to detail
• Storing initiative and ability to work a minimum of supervision
• Ability to multitask, working with several jobs simultaneously and to agreed deadlines.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English proficiency a must – Additional language skills in Sinhalese and or Tamil desirable.

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Legal/Advocacy Officer

Job Description
Working closely with the Executive Director the Advocacy Officer will play a key role in conceptualizing and executing Domestic and International policy advocacy strategies to implement EQUAL GROUNDs strategy goals for 2018-2020. The Officer will actively contribute to EQUAL GROUNDs global and country-level advocacy strategies, building awareness and support for LGBTIQ rights while engaging with domestic and international stakeholders.

Qualifications & Requirements
• Lead and support the development of compelling advocacy products (policy briefs, presentations, speaking notes, etc).
• Support the development of background materials to support policy advocacy (briefing notes, meeting frameworks, concept notes, etc).
• Attend high level advocacy meetings with stakeholders.
• Ability to work in a fast paced environment and delivering high-quality work under tight deadlines.
• Exceptional skills in analyzing and communicating complex information in an accessible way for a non-technical audience.
• Bachelors or Masters degree in International Development, Public Affairs, Law, Political Science, or a similar field with a minimum of 3 years’ experience.
• Background in gender studies, human rights and/or law is an asset.
• Excellent English and Sinhala or Tamil writing and presentation skills essential.

Some domestic and/or international travel may be required.

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Office Manager

Job Description
The Office Manager will be responsible for providing a wide-range of support to the Executive Director and the Project and Media & Communications Staff. This includes, but is not limited to calendar management, handling personal logistics, coordinating with stakeholders and other types of administrative support. The office manager will work independently and with a deep sense of urgency to ensure that the director’s needs are supported in a professional and confidential manner.
They will also be responsible for the upkeep of office premises and human resources management.

Qualifications & Requirements

• Ensure office-based team’s needs are met regarding supplies.
• Manage and maintain director’s schedules, requiring interaction with both internal and external and coordinate a variety of meetings and trips.
• Provide collaborative professional support using independent judgment and discretion to ensure optimal work, confidentiality and information flow.
• Manage logistics, timelines and calendars to ensure the most effective use of the director’s attention and focus.
• File and retrieve corporate documents, record, and reports.
• 2+ years of progressive responsibilities providing high level administrative support.
• Demonstrated proficiency in Google Suite applications with the ability to learn other technology as needed.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills, along with editing and proofreading aptitude.
• Ability to manage multiple priorities, projects and display flexibility in a fast-paced and changing work environment.
• Must demonstrate a high level of responsiveness in communicating with employees of all levels and other external constituents using all forms of communication.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English and or additional language skills in Sinhalese or Tamil.

We are an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY employer.

Continue reading this…

Find peace of mind: free counseling service for LGBTIQ persons

LEARN MORE

Celebrating International Women's Day 2018

Breaking the barriers and rising above the cacophony of patriarchy and heteronormativity should be every woman’s mantra, whether young or old. While we celebrate the women of today that are shattering the glass ceilings, we need to give a thought to all those women who are bound and gagged by societal and cultural ‘norms’ indoctrinated by patriarchy and heteronormativity, clipped of their wings and their desire to fly. These women are a silent, forgotten and shunned minority – the lesbians, bisexual and transgender women in this country.

Women in Sri Lanka, despite the unfair societal value assigned to them, contribute greatly, not only to uplift the economy of the country but also to build a vibrant and just society. They are our mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and wives. They are doctors, engineers, pilots and so much more. Being women and queer; lesbian, bisexual and trans women are further devalued, marginalized and stigmatized on a daily basis and we, as a society, unfortunately, remains nonchalant and uncaring of their fates.
On this International Women’s Day, we should remind ourselves that a society without women is a society incomplete. We must all stand up for the women in our lives, whether lesbian, heterosexual, Transgender or gender queer. We must celebrate their journeys, their achievements, their stories. As women of all sexual orientations we must make ourselves heard, we must make ourselves count.

In celebration of International Women’s Day today we are proud to post the first 2 of our series of successful women’s stories. Despite the hardships and the issues Radika and Rosanna have faced throughout their lives, they have made careers for themselves and successfully negotiated the crater filled road of patriarchy, homophobia and sexism to emerge on the other side as truly Women on Top!

Continue reading this…

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

Continue reading this…

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.

Continue reading this…