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EDITORIAL TRANSGENDERAGENDA

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INTERNATIONAI NEWS

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Editorial Dear Friends, has been awhile getting this second edirion of Rainbow News out to all of you and our apologies for the delal'' Our year has been busy and exciting and this issue covers many of the

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was robbed, severely beaten, pistol whipped, tied to a fence in a remote, rural area and left to die. His injuries were deemed too severe for doctors to oPerate. Shepard never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 1'2:53 a.m. on October 12 at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fott Collins.

programs and projects rl'e have undertaken since the last publication.

I highlight this story because homophobic violence and harassment is prevalent everlwhere, even in Sri Lanka. EQUAL GROUND launched a "say NO to homophobia. Sav NO to

In June 2007, EQUAL GROUND celebrates its third anniversary Each year we grow stroflger and better and we are happl' to report this has resulted in the opening of the first Colombo LGBT Center at KassaPa Road, Colombo 5. One of the consistent programs estab[shed here is "Movie NighC' which has become quite popular. Each month, LGBT movies are screened at the Center to encourage communifi'building and awareness raising. We will continue to screen movies ever\I month and encourage everyone to patticipate. very soon, we hope to begin Yoga and Meditarion classes on a rveek-ly basis as well as self defense classes for women, ballroom dancing for LGBT and classes in drag (make up and dress).

hate and discrimination" poster and leaflet campaign to coincide with IDAHO. Read more about this campaign inside.

The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) this year was commemotated on the 17th May with a movie (for Movie

NighQ highlighting the terrifying consequences of

Colombo PRIDE kicks off with a 3 day LGBT South Asian Film Festival. EQUAL GORUND is proud to showcase two exciting internationally-acclaimed productions: The Journel' (Sancharram), an award winning film by LigyJ. Pullappally and Two Men In Shoulder Stand, a short h1m on HIV/AIDS and human complexities b1' writer/director Paul I3ox. More on Pride in this issue.

This

1'ear,

Our message this 1,621 for PRIDE is simple - "United for Equaliq/'. H".. in Sri Lanka, flow more than ever, let us join together and be united for equaliq'and celebrate in solidariq', the diversitv of our people and our country.

hate

motivated crimes specifically homophobia. The movie entided "The Laramie Proiect" is the storv of 22 year old Mattheu' \X/ayne Shepard, an American srudent at the Universiq' of \Xf.oming who was fatall)' attacked near Laramie, Wyoming, on the night of October 6 - October 7, 1998 in what was widel1' reported as a savage beating due to his homosexualiry Shepard

\X/ith Best wishes,

a4.l^3. Rosanna Flamer-Caldera

Executive Director

-Eeu {.-6ROt}1tE-


The Yogyakafta Principles ffhanks tr ARC lnternational lirr copr oi test)

Examples:

The Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity were officialiy launched on Nlarch 26, 2007. The international and regional response has been srviflt, far-reaching, and overwhelmingl,v po sitive.

The Principles were developed at a meeting in Yogl'akarta, Indonesia, and adopted bv a distinguished group of intetnational

of States and other actors, and rr''ere developed in response to welldocumented patterns of abuse, perpetrated because of actual or human rights experts. Thev set out kev obiigations

perceived sexual orientation or gender idendn. They address rape and other forms of gender-based violence; extrajudicial execu.dons, torture and other iotms of cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment; medical abuses; repression of free speech and assem-

discrimination in work, health, education, housing, to justice and immigrarion.

blp and access

The Principles were publiclv launched at a series of international and regional events, timed to coincide with the main session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The death penalqv continues to be applied for consensual ' adult sexual activin, berween persorls of the same sex, despite UN resolutions emphasizing that the death penalq'ma! not be imposed fot "sexual relations between consenting adults." . Eleven men were arrested rn a ga1'bar and held in custodl' for ovet a year. The UN !(orking Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that the men were detained in violation of international Iaw, noting with concern that "one of the prisoners died as a resuit of his arbitrary detention".

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Principles 1'2 to 18 set out the importance of non-discrimination in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, including emplol,ment, accommodation, social securit)', education and health. Examples:

Lesbian and transgenderwomen are at increased risk of discriminat-ion, homelessness and violence (report of UN Special Rapporteur on adequate housing). Gids v'ho displal, same-sex affection face discrimination '

and expulsion from educational institutions (report

Below is an overview of the Yogyakarta Ptinciples. For the full text, please check oniine at: http: / / yogyakartaPrinciPles.org

a

copt of

of

UN

Special Rapporteur on the right to education).

.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

has

espressed coflcern about laws which "prohibit gender reassign-

ment surger)' for transsexuals or require intersex Persons to undergo such surgety against their will".

The Yogyakarta Principles - an Overvierv The Yogyakarta Principles address a broad range of international human rights standards and their appLicarion to issues of sexual orientation and gender idenrin'. This Oven'iew provides a short outline of the Principles, and some examPles of their apP|icatiofl. Please refer to the Principles themselves for a detailed awareness of the text.

Rights to Expression, Opinion and Association: Principles 19 to 21 emphasise the importance of the freedom to exPress oneself, one's identiry and one's sexualiq,, without State interference based on sexual orientation or gender identiq,, including the rights to participate peaceably in public assemblies and events and other-

Preamble: The Preamble acknowledges human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identiq', establishes the relevant iegal frameu'ork, and provides definitions of key terms.

Example:

wise associate in communiw with others.

.

A peaceful gatheriflg to promote equaliry on the grounds sexual orientation and gender identity was banned by authorities, and participants were harassed and intimidated bi, police and extremist nationalists shouring slogans such as "Let's get the

of Rights

to

Universal Enjoyment

of Human

Rights, Non-

Discrimination and Recognition before the Law: Principles 1 to 3 set out the principles of the universaliry of human rights and their application to all persons without discrimination, as well as the right of all people to recognition before the law.

fags" and "We'11 do to you what Hitler did with Jews" (report of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemPorary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia & related intolerance).

of

Movement and Asyium: Principles 22 and

Example:

Freedom

.

highiight the rights of persons to seek asylum from persecudon based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Laws criminalising homosexualiry violate the international of the UN Human Rights Committee).

23

right to non-disctimination (decision

Rights

to Human and Personal Security: Principles 4 ro

11

address fundamental rights to life, freedom from violence and torture, privacy, access to justice and freedom fuom arbittaty detention.

Exampie:

.

Refugee protection should be accorded to persons facing a well-founded fear of persecution based on sexual orientalion

(Guidelines

of the

United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugees).

-CaE {:-GROI}N}

Pece 3


INTERNATIONAL NEWS Two Chhattisgarh girls seek potce help for gay wedding \es'

Delhi Nes,s -.lanuan' 1Oth, 2007

Trvo tribal girls in Chhattisearh have sought police protection to marrl each other against familr' and social protests. NIeena, 21, and Bundkunwar,22, of I{otal village in Suraipur district \\'r()te il letter to the Prem Nagar police Nlondar', saving their parenrs \\-erc pressurising them to marn' bovs. The girls. rr'ho claim to be inr.olved in a telationship fbr the last three leers. also \'o\\-cLl t() commit suicide if not allos-ed to lir-e s'itl-r erch rrther.

The police are clueless over thc lcerl rights oi homosesuals. 'It's a quite tick-lisl-r siturrtion tor rhc poLice. \\e are re]uctant to arrange t'heir mrrri:rllr :1s ()ur socien-does not pern-rit iesbians to marrl',' R.S. \l rk. tl.re superinte ndent oi police in Surajpur district, told

I.\\S

\\

ccL-rcsclir\' ()\'er telepl-rone.

'\\e told

rhe girls to turnish all details in wriring and give us some time to decide. Ther- immediatelv provided all details but vo.r"'ed to kill themselves if someone tried to separate them,' he added. 'Since they are adults and wilfully decided to either marrv each other or end their life, u,e har.'e sought some time from the giris. rfi'e are now seeking legal suggestiofls on horv to get out of the

situation,' Nayak said.

Asian Audiences Embrace Gay Cinema .\sirn \\ cc-k I']hilip \\. (-hunu

- \pr lo, 2(x)-

tlink Asia is verv conserr.ative when it comes to gat' issucs r.nisht be surprised that two of the biggest fi1ms released in rrg21'rr mor.ies u,ith biâ‚Ź! stars. the region last t'ear urere mainstream I.,orea's The I.,ing and the Clorvn became that country's all-time bor oft-ice champ last spring (at least until The Host arrived in the Those s'ho

sur-r-rmerr rrl'rile Tairvan's coming-of-age mek)drama Eternal Sur-nr-ner s'as a solid hit, earning multiple nods at Tair.van's Golden Horse ,\s'arcls (tl-re equivalent of the ()scars).

in 16th Centurr- I{orea, The I{ing and the Clown focuses on rrvo minstrel performers-the macho leader Jang-Seng (I(arm Set

Wbo-sung) and the shv Gong-gi1 (Lee Joon-gi) rvho, because of his feminine qualities and beaurr', plavs the female roles in their performances. \X'hen the two satirize the King (JungJin-1'oung), they are summoned to the court $/here instead of being executed, thev are spared and appointed court minstrels. Soon, the I{ing develops afl attraction to Gong-il that leads to a tragic conclusion The L,ing and the Clorvn has been called the Iiorean Brokeback Nlountain but it would be hard to imagine a film like Brokeback

doing the Epe of blockbuster business in America that would make it one of the highest grossing films in historl'. The I{ing and the Clown accomplished that. A big part of that was due to the film performances, rvhich are as pitch-perfect as the direction bv Lee Jun-ik, who creates a lush, authentic period feel while maintaining a contemporary sensibiliq' that sets it apart from other period pieces that feel Like museum relics. Taiwan's Eternal Summet is a contemporarv stor\/ about rwo (Bryant ChangJui-Chia who won the voung friends

for his performance) and the rebellious Shane Golden Horse-Jonathan floseph Chang Hsiao-Chuan) and what happens when a gid (l{ate Yeung) comes between them. Directed bv the then 25vear-old Leste Chen, Eternal Summer is best described as the t1'pe of movie John Hughes (The Breakfast Club) might have made, had he been born Taiwanese and gar'.

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with wondetful performances by al1 three leads, but I couldn't help feeling that I mat, have appreciated tl-re trlm more had I seen it at age 16. As an adulttiewer, it rvas harder to slmpathize rvith the soap opera-esque take on teen love as

a sensitivelv directed frlm

this n-rajor emotional tragedr-.

So are Asians more accepting of gay issues, at least on screen, than their American counterparts? In I(orea, for example, homosexuality still probab\'catries more stigma than in the States, but vou wouldn't know it from the success of films Like The Iiing and the Clown.

-EA|} }rBRgEf*E-

Pacr

5


Intanational News Cont...

Singapore's founding leader questions gay sex ban Sodomy laws to be debated in Parliament this year \crr \irrk

Bladc

-,\pr

2-3,20{)r

Singapore's founding leadel Lee I{uan Yerv has questioned the cirr-state's ban on gay se\, saving the government should not be the moral police on the issue, a ne\r-spaper reported Nlondat..

"If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, tl-rat \.ou are genetically born a homosslu2l because that's the nature of the - genes \()u can't help it," Lee senetic random transmission of - neu,spaper. "So whv was quoted as saving in the Straits Times should lve criminalize it?" to its legislation, Singapore rvill decriminalize oral and anal sex for adult heterosexuals, but rvill keep a ban on gav sex. The amendments xre scheduled to be debated in Padiament later this vear. Bur Lee, rvho was prime minister from 1959 until 1990 and remains influential in the Under proposed changes

current government under the title oi "\Iinister Nlentor," also said the goverflment could not ignore conserr-atir-e vieu.s, the report said.

"I think rve pragmaticallv adjust, carry our people ... don't upset thcm and suddenh'upser rheir sense of proptierr- and right and wroflg,rr Lee told a group of voung actiyists from the ruiing People's Action Parqi according to the paper. "But at the same tirnc let's not go around like this moral police ... bargrng into people's rooms. That's not our business." "You have to take apiacical, prasmatic approaci-r to u.hat I scc is of time and circumstance," l-rc reportedlr- said. l-ee's prcss sr:cretarl at the Prime N{inrster-'s Office coulci not immediateiv be reached N{ondav to confirm his remarks. an iner-itable fbrce

Moving into the future! EQUAI- GROUND moved into its new srand alone office on 15th ()ctober 2006. To celebrate our new l-rome, friends and supporters rvere invited to rhe 'ofl-ice rvarming'get toeether on the 27th November. We are grateful to ASTRAET\ and GF\X' for their financial assistance which enabled the mor.e!

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-Eetl t-OROt]ltE-

Pacr

8


Internation al D ay against Homophobia Spearheaded by Fondation Emetg.nc., the first theme-day set aside to fight homophobia was held in Qu6bec in 2003. The Day has expanded across Canada and then to Belgium, France, and

the United I(ingdom. Since then, a Campaign fot an International Day Against Homophobia was spearheaded by Mr' Louis George Tin from Belgrum' Several countries have now declared May 17 as the International Day Against Homophobia' The significance

of the date - 17th May -

is an acknowledgement for

the day the World Health Organisation lifted its categoizattot

of

homosexuality as a mental health disease.

In Sri Lanka, EQUAL GROUND is one of the only otganisations commemorating this important day. This year (2007) EQUAL GROUND spearheaded a leaflet and Poster campaign (in English, Sinhala and Tamil) highlighting the need to understand and eradicate homophobia from our society - a daunting task, but one that needs to begin somewhere. In addition, EQUAL GROUND screened the movie "Latzmie Proiect" - the hortifying story of the brutal attack on gay student N{athew ShepherJin Laramie,Wyoming. In the aftermath of Mathew's 'galbashing'death, the United States passed its Hate Crimes Bill which includes crimes against the LGBT communiry' We publish here the content Say Say

of EQUAL GROUND's

campaign'

NO to HomoPhobia! NO to Hate and Discrimination!

What Is Homophobia? - HOMOPHOBIA is the irrarional fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals (X4erriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 1Oth Edition, 1993). Homophobia enforces sexism and heterosexism, and often results in violence against individuais who do not conform

Where does it come from? - Hon-rophobia stems from numerous and con-rpler soctetrrl tactors, and is based on preiudice against those s-ho are perceir-ed as difterent. It reveals hostiliq' for or an esclusion oI homosexual persons which has repercussions on socierl as a s-hole.

Interpersonal Homophobia - Non-r'erbal displavs of being ill-at-ease, feeling unsafe or experiencing ttar when in contact with gay men and/or leshians'

Institutibnalized/Systemic homophobia - The built-in institutional practice of putting gays and lesbians at a disadvantage. For example; passing a Person over fot promotion at the workplace because he or she is 'gay'.

Opportunistic Homophobia - Being interested in homosexuality solely for financial or personal gain and not wanting to be associated with or to be around homosexuals.

Homophobic Violence - An extreme dispiay of homophobia can range from verbal assault to physical violence and murder'

The prejudice against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or people perceir'-ed to be non-heterosexual can lead to discrimination and violence. Like all attitudes and behavior based on preiudice and hatred, homophobia has no tational foundation' It comes from lack of awareness and the inabitity to grasp the differences of others, which are then petceived as a thteat to individuals, and, consequendy, sociery.

Contrary to popular belief, Homosexuality is neither a disease nor is it 'catchable'. In other words, ooe cannot become homosexual by being around other homosexuals' Nor can one be forced to be homosexual. Homosexuality is not a choice' Most LGBT* persoils a(e iust born that way'

to rigrd sex-role stereotlpes'

*LGBT is an acronym representing the Lesbian,

Manifestations Of Homophobia - Homophobia manifests from both a conscious and sub-conscious Ievel, and can be

and Transgender communin.

internalized.

EQUAL GROUND office.

Free copies

Ga1', Bisexual

of the Poster and Leaflet are available at the

Internalized Homophobia - This is the severe discomfort with or disapproval of one's own sexual orientation' In other words one can deny one's own homosexualiry because one is fearful or ashamed.

Heterosexism - Hetetosexism, or heterosexual bias, is the belief that male-female sexuality is the ooly naturd or moral code of sexual behavior. The tendency to see the wodd in exclusively heterosexual terms is a source

Homophobic attitudes -

of homophobia'

Feelings or convictions that gays and

Iesbians are abnotmal or sick.

Homophobic language - The use of vocabulary and expressions that can sPan ftom iokes to insults. The words 'Ponnaya'or Appa' or 'faggot'fot example are derogatoty terms referdng to

to Homophobia to Flate & Discrimination!

gays and lesbians.

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Rainbow News 2nd issue