The Status of Lesbians, Bisexual Women and Transgendered Persons in Sri Lanka

NGO Shadow Report to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

Prepared by the Women's Support Group, Sri Lanka

Executive Summary

The Mainstream NGO Shadow Report submitted to the Committee by the Women and Media Collective includes two references to sexuality: a) decriminalization of homosexuality and b) broadening the definition of 'family' to include same-sex partners. Issues relating to sexuality have also been raised in previous reports: In May 2008, the NGO submission made by the Women and Media Collective during the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka drew attention to "same-sex relationships being criminalized;" In September 2010 the Civil Society Report submitted by the Collective for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Sri Lanka on the Implementation of the International Covenant on the Economic Social and Cultural Rights also raised several critical issues pertaining to the LGBT community in Sri Lanka.

The 5th, 6th and 7th Combined Periodic Report submitted to the CEDAW Committee by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) makes no mention of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

This NGO Shadow Report on the Status of Lesbian, Bisexual Women and Transgender Persons in Sri Lanka will highlight key issues and critical concerns under Articles 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 16 of CEDAW and General Recommendation 19, 21 and 28 in relation to the sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression of Lesbians, Bisexual women and Transgendered persons (LBT) persons in Sri Lanka.

The definitions used for Sexual Orientation and Gender identity have been adopted from the Yogyakarta Principles. The rest of the definitions have been adopted from the IGLHRC guide for LBT activists titled Equal and Indivisible: Crafting Inclusive Shadow Reports for CEDAW.

For the purpose of this report we will include both transgender men and women. The acronym 'LBT' will be used as an abbreviation for Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender. This umbrella term is meant to include lesbians, bisexual women, transwomen (male-to-female transgender persons) and transmen (female-to-male transgender persons). Members of LBT communities experience discrimination, violence and violations of their human rights on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression.

This report was drafted by members of the Women's Support Group with assistance from The International Women's Rights Action Watch, Asia Pacific.

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