When I spoke out on social media recently for the rights of sexual minorities in Sri Lanka, some wanted to know why I cared for these ‘deviants’ – one even asked if I was ‘also one of them’.
I didn’t want to dignify such questions with an immediate answer. However, in my mind, it is quite clear why I stand for the rights of the LGBTQ community and other minorities – who are marginalised, in some cases persecuted, for simply being different.
I stand with all left-handed persons, or ‘lefties’, not because I am one of them but because I support their right to be the way they were born.
I share the cause of the disabled, not because I am currently living with a disability, but because I support their right to accessibility and full productive lives.
I call for governmental and societal protection of all displaced persons – from wars, disasters or other causes – not because I am currently displaced, but because I believe in their right to such support with dignity.
I march with women from all walks of life not because I am a woman, but because I fully share their cause for equality and justice. In their case, they are not a minority but the majority – and yet, very often, oppressed.
Similarly, I raise my voice for all sexual minorities in the LGBTQ community not because I am one of them, but because I am outraged by the institutionalised discrimination against them in Sri Lanka. I uphold their right to equality and to lead normal lives with their own sexual orientations and identities.
How much longer do we have to wait for a Lankan state that treats ALL its citizens as equal?
How much further must we wait for a Lankan society that does not discriminate against some of its own members who just happen to be differently inclined or differently-abled?