Dreaming of a Truly Civilised Society in Sri Lanka…where everyone’s dignity is ensured!

Gay Rights are Human Rights!

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?

Advertisements

Sri Lanka Everest Expedition 2016: Taking Lanka to the Top of the World

Sri Lankan Everest Expedition 2016 - logo

Sri Lankan Everest Expedition 2016 – logo

In February 2013, I interviewed Imalka de Silva, the first Lankan woman to visit Antarctica. She accomplished this feat in March 2010 when she joined an international team who spent two weeks on an expedition to the frozen continent.

I have just interviewed an experienced Lankan mountaineering duo, Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries, who plan to be the first Sri Lankans to reach the summit of Mt. Everest in the forthcoming Spring mountaineering season.

Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries: Aiming it real high...

Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala and Johann Peries: Aiming it real high…

They have both individually and as a team successfully completed some of the world’s most challenging treks in Asia, Africa and Latin America – not to mention all key peaks in Sri Lanka.

Mount Everest is located in the Mahalangur mountain range in Nepal and Tibet, and its peak is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) above sea level. It has so far been reached by over 4,000 people from many countries.

Professionally, Jayanthi is a women’s rights and gender expert while Johann is a hair and make-up designer and performing artist. They are dedicating this climb to their families, to the causes they advocate (conservation, gender equality and healthy living), and to every child, woman and man of Sri Lanka.

They plan to be part of a larger team led by International Mountain Guides (IMG), a globally renowned mountaineering company which has led several successful Mt. Everest expeditions over the past 30 years.

Read my full interview in The Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka), 28 Feb 2016:

Taking Sri Lanka to the Top of the World

At the Summit of Kilimanjaro, highest peak in Africa - Johann Peries on extreme left Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala 3rd from left

At the Summit of Kilimanjaro, highest peak in Africa – Johann Peries on extreme left Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala 3rd from left