Last edited: July 16, 2004

Sri Lankan Gays Want Anti-Homosexual Law Scrapped

Reuters, August 19, 1998

COLOMBO — A Sri Lankan gay group, complaining of victimisation and harassment, said on Wednesday it had appealed to the government to make homosexuality legal.

"We have written to the government and are waiting for a reply," Sherman de Rose, director of Companions on a Journey, told a news conference.

Under a 130-year-old law, homosexuality is a punishable by up to 12 years’ jail in Sri Lanka.

De Rose said there were many cases of people being thrown out of their homes, jobs and physically assaulted for being gay.

"We cannot have evidence or conduct studies until we create an environment, atmosphere and space for people to come out and speak," he said.

He said the three-year-old group had 490 members. Some lesbian members planned to set up their own group because their issues differed from those affecting gay men, he added.

De Rose could not provide figures on the number of gays in Sri Lanka.

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