2021 Jun 8
Though things are a little bit different this year, usually, very June is marked with parades, rallies, gatherings and demonstrations held all across the globe to celebrate and recognise the need for equal rights for people of all genders and sexual orientations. Sri Lanka still has a long way to go, but our island too has made significant progress in breaking stigmas and shattering stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community. In recent years, there has been a growing pool of activist groups and community organisations with the sole purpose of spreading awareness, supporting and becoming a beacon for those who need a voice.
There are various groups here in Sri Lanka that focus on specific gender identities and the broader LGBTQ+ spectrum. Whether you are well-versed with the community or are keen on simply breaking the ice, here are some organisations you can reach out to and get involved with.
EQUAL GROUND is a non-profit organisation founded in 2004 by LGBTQ+ rights activist Rosanna Flamer-Caldera. The organisation works tirelessly towards establishing an ethos that ensures equal economic, social, political, cultural and civil rights for the LGBTQ+ community in Sri Lanka. EQUAL GROUND works by creating opportunities for self-help; building awareness through community events; providing access to health, housing and legal protection; facilitating social and political empowerment; and making donations.
Equal Ground is also active on social media platforms Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
CWDF Lanka – Community Welfare and Development Fund Lanka
A non-governmental organisation (NGO) that seeks to provide support to LGBTQ+ individuals via legal aid, health support as well as the provision of basic needs such as food and shelter. They also host various community events to raise awareness whilst creating a safe space to disseminate information and debunk misconceptions surrounding the community.
In light of Pride month, CWDF Lanka has joined hands with various other volunteers in Sri Lanka to dispense some immediate forms of relief to LGBTQ+ folk amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to assist through providing dry rations, rent costs, psycho-social and legal support as well as healthcare aid to those individuals who are in vulnerable positions.
You can pledge your support by donating through: https://bit.ly/3fW4tSG.
You can also make an appeal through their COVID Relief Request Form.
The Queer Agenda Sri Lanka
The Queer Agenda Sri Lanka is an initiative that strives to promote acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+ community. The group uses Instagram and Facebook as their primary platforms to educate and create awareness on gendered topics. Their colourful and vibrant page sheds light on key issues, stigmas and other “isms” that the Sri Lankan queer community faces.
Venasa Transgender Network
Follows a group of dedicated individuals who have come together to support and fight for the betterment of the transgender community in Sri Lanka.
In liaison with CWDF Lanka and other volunteer groups, Venasa Transgender Network is part of the COVID-19 relief project for members of the LGBTQ+ community. These organisations offer support through their helplines 0765 742 266 and 0774 719 137.
There is also a COVID Relief Request Form through which you can make an appeal.
NTN Sri Lanka
The National Transgender Network Sri Lanka is committed to the betterment of the transgender community and focuses on securing fundamental rights for transgender persons. The organisation helps out in legal processes, provides health advice and assistance, and uses advocacy programs and workshops to increase awareness and educate the locality.
You can lend a hand by either taking part in NTN Sri Lanka’s community events or by funding, donating, volunteering or simply spreading the word.
FemCon is a collective for feminist conversation and dialogue, based out of Colombo. They explore a range of topics including the LGBTQ+ sphere. The collective hosts various talks and open-forum discussions featuring many local feminist researchers, lawyers and activists. These take place mostly on Instagram and Zoom and you can remain updated through their social media platforms Facebook and Instagram.
FemCon also has a Trans Donation Drive through which funds are directed to the Venasa Transgender Network and the Jaffna Transgender Network. All you have to do is simply drop FemCon an email stating your interest and they will respond with information on how to proceed.
Équité is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that brings together a close-knit team of multidisciplinary experts in the fields of research, advocacy and development programmes, both in Sri Lanka and the Asia-Pacific region. The organisation focuses on LGBTQ+ community, women and youth in marginalised settings and carries out qualitative and quantitative research as well as other humanitarian work.
Équité also hosts various talks, online discussions, workshops and competitions across all three mediums; English, Sinhala and Tamil. You can be a part of this to expand your awareness and broaden your horizons on the LGBTQ+ community.
Tel: 0717 033 298
Here are some of the key organisations that are working towards the betterment of the LGBTQ+ community in Sri Lanka. Even a simple act of pledging your support and spreading awareness across your circle is a powerful means of helping the community.