Sri Lanka: 72% oppose criminalisation of LGBT people


Sri Lanka

A recent island-wide survey reveals that 72% of people in Sri Lanka do not support laws that punish or criminalise LGBT people. Additionally, 51.4% of people surveyed support enhanced rights for LGBT people.

Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reports that the Westminster Forum for Democracy conducted the survey last year across all 25 districts of the island nation.

Since then, the country endured an extended period of unrest following the collapse of the Sri Lankan economy. Protestors called for the ousting of the powerful and wealthy Rajapaksa family from government.

Members of the family eventually bowed to the demands by resigning from government office. The last to go, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned after fleeing into exile. However, many protestors were ultimately disappointed when a political ally of the family, Ranil Wickremesinghe, managed to take over the presidency.

The survey

The Daily Mirror reported that 48% of respondents said they would be unashamed to have a transgender President.

Sri Lankans who identified as Buddhist and Hindu overwhelmingly supported LGBT people. Christians showed less support although still reasonably high.

In June 2022, Sajith Premadasa became the first opposition leader to openly support LGBT rights. While the opposition remains largely ineffective, there has also been movement on the government side. A government MP has submitted a Private Members Bill seeking to decriminalise homosexuality and address discrimination.

President Wickremesinghe recently confirmed his government will not oppose the bill and will allow a free vote. In July, pro bono legal organisation iProbono launched a campaign to highlight discrimination faced by the LGBT community and demand changes. Popular former national cricket captain, Mahela Jayawardena, took part in the Better Together campaign and spoke out in support of reform.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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