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E D I T O R I A L Welcome to the PRIDE edition of Rainbow News! This year Colombo PRIDE is being taken to new heights with a month long celebration that includes an eclectic mix of discussion, thought provoking issues and a sight and sound extravaganza that is guaranteed to please even the most discerning palate! For unfortunate reasons, we were unable to publish our last quarterly issue of Rainbow News, but this issue hopefully, more than makes up for it! The year has flown by at an alarming rate. We find ourselves busy beyond measure and these past few months particularly, as we prepare for a month long celebration of Colombo PRIDE 2010. It is exciting, the events planned for this year. We have been particularly pleased at the response we have received from many quarters and bring on board sponsors, donors and volunteers who are giving freely and in solidarity to ensure Colombo PRIDE 2010 is a huge success. We hope that this year we will see unprecedented numbers attending the events. The entire Program is published here for easy access. This year EQUAL GROUND commemorated the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day with the launch of its trilingual advertising and poster campaign – ‘Aren’t we all Sri Lankan Women? Giving the Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women of Sri Lanka a voice.’ The many women who attended the high tea reception for the launch were entertained by the EQUAL GROUND troupe and enlightened on the issues facing LBT women in Sri Lanka. Following on its heels, EQUAL GROUND launched a campaign for the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) with a request to all foreign missions and local and international NGO’s to raise the rainbow flag on the 17th May 2010 as a gesture of solidarity to mark IDAHO. A trilingual Advertisement and poster campaign was also initiated this day and we are pleased that the leading newspapers of Sri Lanka carried these advertisements in their daily publications as they did with the International Women’s Day campaign. Although the 17th of May was stormy, unleashing a fierce storm on Colombo; we were very pleased that in spite of the weather conditions, several foreign missions as well as local and international NGO’s did raise the Rainbow Flag and joined us in commemorating IDAHO. Our team struggled in the lashing rain to put up our Rainbow Flag and felt really accomplished and proud after we did so! We are particularly thrilled that this year the start of PRIDE will be a 2 day conference for Youth on respecting Gender and Sexuality. The applications have been pouring in from all parts of the country and we are happy to say that we will do our best to accommodate as many as we possibly can. The youth conference will be trilingual with an emphasis on Tamil and Sinhala to accommodate Youth

from the rural areas. Facilitators from Sri Lanka as well as abroad will be on hand to give the participants a clearer picture of the issues being discussed. Rainbow Runway – the First Fashion Show of Its Kind in South Asia will give Colombo more than just a view of diverse designers and fashion, it will also include drag song and dance acts that will highlight the show. All our sponsors for Rainbow Runway and all of PRIDE for that matter, must be given a ‘high five’ for believing in us and our concept, to promote embracing diversity in all its forms. We thank them all. The Rainbow Pride Party is always a well attended event and this year we are pleased to continue our long standing relationship with Rhythm ‘n Blues who are event hosts for this evening’s festivities! The film Festival and Art and Photo Exhibition will be hosted by the British Council this year and we are grateful to them for their foresight and support. The film festival particularly is going to be more than just a little interesting; we are bringing in films that have never before been screened in Sri Lanka, publicly or privately! From reverting documentaries to mainstream movies that have most recently played at the London LGBT Film Festival, this Film Festival is a not to be missed event! I am particularly pleased to say a few words about the drama “Leave a light on for me” which was penned by our very own Nihal Senarathna who has grown in creative strength since he began his relationship with EQUAL GROUND several years ago. Two years ago, we launched his maiden literary attempt “In the corner of my love life” which was a collection of short ‘queer themed’ stories of everyday life in Sri Lanka. Written in truly Nihal-style, it is poignant and unique storytelling in a way that many of us can relate to and understand. I am very proud to have had a hand in nurturing Nihal’s talents throughout the years and I wish him every success. “Leave a light on for me” is a wholly Sinhala language play. Its content however is a testimony to the many trials and tribulations faced by our LGBT community because of the social taboos and discrimination they face daily. Last but not least, the Rainbow Kite Festival on the beach in Mt. Lavinia. You simply cannot miss it!

Come join us this month and celebrate diversity with PRIDE!

Rosanna Flamer-Caldera EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR


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Norrie has been recognised as not having a gender

Australia may have made gender history this week, as the New South Wales government lays claim to being the first in the world to recognise an individual’s sex as officially “not specified”. This milestone in the evolution of gender queer came about with the issuing of a ‘Sex Not Specified’ Recognised Details Certificate in place of a birth certificate to Norrie (also known as norrie mAy-Welby) a resident of Sydney. Zie (a gender-specific pronoun) is now legally recognised by the Australian government as neither male nor female, the Scavenger reports. It is the end of a long journey for Norrie, aged 48, who was born in Scotland and registered male at birth. When Zie was 23, Zie commenced the process of gender re-assignment through hormone treatment and surgery. Zie was later issued with a gender recognition certificate as female in Australia. However, Norrie did not feel comfortable living solely as a female. Hir philosophy, developed through hir art and through hir work with Sex and Gender Education, a lobby group campaigning for the rights of all sex and gender diverse people, draws heavily on Eastern concepts of one-ness: of yin and yang being just two halves of a greater whole. On hir site, Zie writes: "The theorists who inform transsexual and intersexual medical intervention presume that everyone has one real gender identity at the core of their being, whether or not this is congruent with their anatomy. Even children biologically hermaphrodite are supposed to be 'really' of one gender, with the surgically discarded sex declared the 'false' one.


“Unsurprisingly, many intersexual children are traumatised by the obliteration of their sexual duality. Many as adults seek transsexual procedures to restore their discarded sex, but at the expense of the surviving sex. This is just one tragic result of our society's belief in mutually exclusive genders. “Not all human societies see the genders as mutually exclusive. Transgender people are seen in India as "half half", in the Philippines as "lady-boys", and in indigenous American cultures as "twospirited". People seen by our society as having a gender opposite to the one sex they were born with are seen by other societies as simply having two genders. Bi-gendered. In this light, the permanent removal of the characteristics of one sex to allow the expression of the other seems a total waste." Zie goes on: “I wonder if we in Western culture would have more options for happiness if we too had permission not simply to be of one gender or the other, but also to be of both genders, if such was our nature." Norrie ceased lifelong hormone treatment and took up a neuter identity – neither male nor female – resisting any further female or male normalisation. In January 2010 doctors declared that they were unable to determine hir as either male or female as Zie has no gonads, the hormonal system was not typically male or female, and Norrie’s psychological identity was neuter. The rest is now history. The irony of this landmark decision will not be lost on other trans Australians, who discovered just three years ago that the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, had secretly and without consultation reversed a policy whereby trans people could obtain a passport stating their “intended sex.” Jane Fae also writes at


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EDITOR’S NOTE: Many such ‘conversion therapists’ also practice quite openly here in Sri Lanka as well. They advertise their ‘cure’ for homosexuality quite openly in the local newspapers. Please be warned that these persons too are bogus practitioners and should be avoided at all costs and exposed for who they truly are. 02


Clash over gay rights in SC set to snowball Samar Halarnkar, Hindustan Times New Delhi, February 20, 2010 Using fresh arguments that range from imperiling India's defence to making its people delusional, 14 new organisations have joined the final legal battle against the decriminalisation of homosexuality. On Saturday, the number of petitioners in the Supreme Court challenging the July 2009 decision of the Delhi High Court to strike down an anti-sodomy law - stood at 16 from the original two. Two Christian church coalitions, three Muslim NGOs, two Hindu astrologers, a disciple of yoga guru Baba Ramdev, an NGO run by a former Delhi police officer, and an environmentalist, will be among those in the Supreme Court when it hears an appeal next month against the overturning of the Indian Penal Code' section 377. Only one person, film director and Rajya Sabha MP Shyam Benegal, has quietly joined the original petitioner, Delhi NGO Naz Foundation, in support of gay rights in the Supreme Court. With the government saying it will not oppose the Delhi High Court judgement, which experts consider legally strong, the new opponents are readying a range of fresh arguments: • "Medical opinion" that only the vagina has the muscles required for sex, not the anus (Utkal Christian Foundation, Cuttack) • Expanding the constitutional right to non-discrimination to include sexual orientation could lead to demands for job reservations (Apostolic Churches Alliance, Thiruvananthapuram) • Indian cultural morality maybe ready for homosexuality in "50 or 100 years", not today (Raza Academy, Mumbai) Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party, Prof Bhim Singh, said in his petition that the Delhi High Court ruling would be "a disaster for the Indian defence forces and the security of the country… in deserted areas". "Seedlings of homosexuality developed among the (European and US) soldiers during the first and the second world war when they had to stay back in the forests and the hills for years without having any access to meet their sexual desires," said Singh, whose party otherwise fights for the reorganisation of J&K. "My challenge of the (Delhi) high court judgement is that it should not have relied on foreign judgements," said Mushtaq Ahmed, counsel for Mumbai's Raza Academy, a 32-year-old Islamic advocacy group. "We can't impose a foreign cultural morality today." From Cuttack, B D Das, counsel for the Utkal Christian Foundation, a coalition of Orissa churches, said the decriminalisation of homosexuality had already led gay couples to request church marriages. "Of course we have not given permission," said Das, referring to homosexuality as a "biblical sin".


"Earlier, it (gay marriage) was criminal, so they would not dare to ask." Recognising these widespread sensitivities, normally vocal gay, lesbian and transgender activists are staying under the radar. They will stick to the high court's stress on constitutional rights of an individual over public morality and not expand arguments to subjects like marriage and employment. "Our energies are focused on safeguarding the decision in the Supreme Court," said Gautam Bhan, spokesperson of "Voices against 377", a coalition of gay rights organisations. The old arguments, made by former right-wing Member of Parliament B.P. Singhal and an NGO called the Joint Action Council, Kannur (in Kerala), have been reformulated as well. These focus on the religious opposition to homosexuality, threat to "public morality" and what opponents argue is its "unnatural" nature. "(The) High Court decision will protect consensual unnatural sexual acts even when they are obtained by fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, causing fear, intoxication or due to unsoundness of mind," argued S K Gupta, a disciple of yoga guru Ramdev, and representative of Delhi's Patanjali Yogpeeth. The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), run by former police officer Amod Kanth, said the high court had not considered adoption of children by homosexual couples and the concept of family and parenthood. "The judgement will cause 'value disorientation' and torment children," said DCPCR secretary R C Gupta, "leading to identity crisis, social physical and psychological maladaptation in society." "It is an established medical theory that AIDS spread in human beings through monkeys in African countries. Though not established, there are certain theories that state that unnatural sex with animals can be one of the causes. "It is submitted that unnatural acts always come with curse from nature, as AIDS in the present form and therefore it deserves to be curbed with strong hands (sic)."

Against Apostolic Churches Alliance All India Muslim Personal Law Board S K Gupta, Patanjali Yogpeeth B Krishna Bhat, environmentalist Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights Utkal Christian Council Krantikari Manuvadi Morcha Party Tamil Nadu Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam Suresh Kumar, Mukesh Kumar Koushal, astrologers (does not include all petitioners)

For IDAHO Naz Foundation Shyam Benegal, film director


MALAYSIA’S SODOMY LAWS: PROGRESS WITH THE TIMES! 14 December 2009 By Dr Kua Kia Soong, Director of SUARAM, 12 Dec 2009 Ever since the political trial against Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy in 1999, I had been hoping that the gay community in Malaysia (“the pink brigade”) would have spoken out against our antiquated sodomy laws and fought for equality of treatment for all consensual sex between adults. I have always believed that the rights of any section of our community must be fought for and led by that particular section, for only then can the exploited and those transgressed against be empowered in the process. All over the world, not just in the West, the times are certainly changing. On 2 July 2009, the Delhi High Court delivered a historic judgement to amend a 149-year-old colonial-era law and forthwith decriminalised private consensual sex between adults of the same sex. India became the 127th country to take the guilt out of homosexuality. Only rape and paedophilia remain offences under the law. Inclusiveness The Delhi bench invoked Jawaharlal Nehru's politically resonant theme of inclusiveness: "If there is one constitutional tenet that can be said to be (the) underlying theme of the Indian Constitution, it is that of inclusiveness… " "Those perceived by the majority as `deviants' or `different' are not on that score excluded or ostracized.'' (The Times of India, 3 July 2009)

Recently, Judge Jonathan Heher of the Johannesburg High Court struck down South Africa's sodomy law on the grounds that it violated the nation's new constitution which bars discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation: “To penalize a gay or lesbian person for the expression of his or her sexuality can only be defended from a standpoint which depends on the baneful influences of religious intolerance, ignorance, superstition, bigotry, fear of what is different from or alien to everyday experience and the millstone of history." Just a few months earlier Ecuador's Supreme Court ruled that nation's sodomy law unconstitutional. And Romania's new prime minister recently promised to repeal his nation's sodomy law to bring it in line with that of the European Union. Pragmatism Even closer to our shores, the attitude of our southern neighbour, Singapore, to homosexuality is also changing. In April 2007, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said in a Reuter’s report: "If in fact it is true, and I have asked doctors this, that you are genetically born a homosexual -- because that's the nature of the genetic random transmission of genes -- you can't help it. So why should we criminalize it? …Let's not go around like moral police ... barging into people's [bed] rooms. That's not our business… So you have to take a practical, pragmatic approach to what I see is an inevitable force of time and circumstances." Lee said Singapore should no longer discriminate against homosexuals but must take a pragmatic approach. Lee's comments came at a time when many groups, such as The Singapore Law Society, are clamouring for a review of antiquated British colonial laws against homosexual sex, which they view as outdated and archaic.

Equality The Delhi High Court further ruled: "Indian constitutional law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconceptions of who the LGBTs (lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders) are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is the antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster the dignity of every individual…" "There is almost unanimous medical and psychiatric opinion that homosexuality is not a disease or a disorder and is just another expression of human sexuality.'' Article 8 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution guarantees the equality of all persons. If this is not specific enough, the Malaysian Charter on Human Rights by Malaysian Civil Society in 1994 spells this out more specifically:

Humanity The plight of Malaysian transsexuals such as Fathine, is but the latest in a litany of woes suffered by lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) in this country. For a society that claims that our Asian values are far superior to Western values, such demeaning treatment of our LGBT community is unacceptable. What has happened to that slogan by the BN government to create a “masyarakat penyayang” (a caring society) ? Stand Up For the Rights of all LGBT On the grounds of inclusiveness, equality, pragmatism and humanity, it is time for all progressive Malaysians, political parties and organisations to stand up for the rights of all LGBT and to call for the abolition of our outdated sodomy laws.

“There shall be no discrimination in the rights and privileges of persons based on their ethnic origin, class, social status, age, sex, mental and physical being, language, religious belief, sexual identity or political conviction…” (Article 8: 2)



Mexico City backs gay marriage in Latin American first Lawmakers in Mexico City have become the first in Latin America to legalise gay marriage and adoption. City legislators passed the bill 39-20, with five abstentions. The city's mayor is now widely expected to sign the bill into law. Gay marriage is only allowed in seven countries and some parts of the US. Certain parts of Latin America allow civil unions for same-sex couples. The Catholic Church and conservative groups had opposed Mexico City's move. The bill calls for a change in the definition of marriage in the city's civic code from the union of a man and a woman to "the free uniting of two people". Regional differences Lawmaker David Razu had proposed the change to give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples regarding social security and other benefits. Mexico City's legislature is dominated by the leftist Democratic Revolutionary Party, which has already legalised abortion and civil unions for same-sex couples. Spokesman Oscar Oliver told AFP news agency that city legislators were now taking up a measure in the bill that would allow married same-sex couples to adopt children. A handful of cities in Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia permit gay unions. Uruguay alone has legalised civil unions nationwide and allowed same-sex couples to adopt children. Last month, an Argentinean court narrowly blocked what would been the continent's first gay marriage. In a last-minute challenge, a court referred the case to the country's Supreme Court, which is due to rule on the issue.



Pakistan’s Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered the government on Wednesday to allow transvestites and eunuchs to identify themselves as a distinct gender as part of a move to ensure their rights. While hearing the case, the Chief Justice also advised the authorities to hire the services of the eunuchs to recover monies (Rs.193 billion) loans from the bank loan defaulters – a practice, he said, already being followed in India! Known by the term “Hijra” in Pakistan as well as in India and Bangladesh, transvestites, eunuchs and hermaphrodites are generally shunned by society nor do they enjoy any rights – legal, political human or even religious. They often live together in slum communities and survive by begging and dancing at carnivals and weddings. Some are also involved in prostitution. CJ Iftikhar ordered the authorities to issue national identity cards to members of the community showing their distinct gender and to

Pakistan’s Supreme Court OKs Third Sex for Identity Cards

take steps to ensure that they were not harassed. “The government’s registration authority has been directed to include a separate column in national identity cards showing them as hijras,” Mohammad Aslam Khaki, a lawyer for hijras told Reuters. “By doing so, they think they will get a distinct identity and it will help them get their rights.” A Hijra association welcomed Chaudhry’s order, saying it would ease their

suffering. “It’s the first time in the 62-year history of Pakistan that such steps are

being taken for our welfare” the association’s president, who goes by the name,

Almas Bobby, told Reuters. “It’s a major step toward giving us respect and identity

in society. We are slowly getting respect in society. Now people recognize that we

are also human beings”.

Khaki said the court also ordered the government to envolve mechanism to ensure that Hijras are not harassed and also take steps to ensure their inheritance rights. Hijras are often denied places in schools or admittance to hospitals and landlord often refuse to rent or sell property to them. Their families often deny their fair share of inherited property. Hijras are both feared and pitied in Pakistan. They are feared for their supposed ability to put curses on people while they are pitied as they are widely viewed as the outcast children of Allah. The number of Hijras in Pakistan is not known but community leaders estimate there are about 300,000 of them. In June, the Supreme Court ordered the government to set up a commission to conduct a census of Hijras.



Under the shadow of shariah law, transsexuals take to the stage Jakarta Globe - February 14, 2010 Nurdin Hasan, Banda Aceh -- In their best Acehese costumes, kitsch jewelry and towering hair buns, 40 transsexuals sashayed down a stage on Saturday to loud club music, disco lights and rapturous applause as they competed in the Miss Transsexual Aceh 2010. The streets of Aceh may be monitored by the Wilayatul Hisbah, or Shariah Police, but that did not deter the audience in the auditorium of the Radio Republik Indonesia building in the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, as they welcomed the finalists with screams and whistles. There was no seat left unoccupied. Drag queens, homosexuals and members of Aceh's minority communities forked out Rp 10,000 for tickets to the show, with some having to sit on the ground or watch from the balconies. Transsexuals entertained the audience by lip-syncing to local songs and dancing to dangdut music. Some wore sexy outfits while others donned the hijab, the Muslim headscarf. The winner of the Best Transsexual Catwalk wore a sash with the words "Cet Work," a misspelling of the word catwalk, splashed across it. Organized by Putroe Sejati Aceh (True Sons of Aceh), an organization that provides shelters for transsexuals, the 40 contestants represented 23 districts and cities in the staunchly Muslim province. University student Zifana Letisia, from North Aceh, was crowned the pageant winner and will represent Aceh at the Miss Transsexual Indonesia 2010. She said she was treated well at her campus despite her sexuality. "At campus, my achievements are quite extraordinary. Nobody dares to put me down. "People on campus are polite, even respectful and proud of me, even though I am a transsexual," Zifana said, adding that she didnot take Islamic law lightly. A third-year nursing student and part-time beauty therapist, Zifana, whose real name is Anggah, beat out finalists Jasmine Mulan Sayuri, from South Aceh, and Joy, from Central Aceh. "We are very careful today [when it comes to Islamic Shariah law]. One day, we will build a special forum to try and find a middleground over this matter in Aceh," Zifana said. Organizing committee chairman Jimmy Saputra said the event had been approved by Aceh's Ulema Consultative Assembly (MPU). "After we explained that this activity would be a positive event, the MPU scholars gave us permission," said Jimmy, who also goes by his transsexual name Timmy Mayubi. The event was judged by a three-person panel. The judges were Marini, from the Indonesian Women's Coalition of Aceh, and Silver Sebayang and Santi, both from RRI Banda Aceh. The pageant started out with 40 contestants, of which 15 were selected as finalists. These 15 were further winnowed down to the final six.


Many contestants struggled to understand the judges' questions, which covered a wide range of issues, from corruption to the daily struggle of transsexuals and Shariah law in Aceh. When asked to comment on allegations that the province's ShariahPolice were violating the laws they enforced, 23-year-old Alin, from Lhokseumawe, said in a lilting voice: "I will follow the law of Islamic Shariah because I live in Aceh." The audience burst into laughter when Carla, 20, who was representing Aceh Besar district, replied to a question on the link between poverty and corruption with the answer: "If [the concept of] poverty was not applied, there would be no corruption." Carla, in true beauty-queen style, kept poised and elegant despite the crowd's reaction, and walked along the stage while waving her right hand. Other contestants were unable to speak at all when questioned by the judges. But some received standing ovations, including 19year-old Joy, from Central Aceh district. In response to a question on the existence of transsexuals at a time when Muslims were subject to Shariah law, Joy loudly declared: "The application of Islamic law in Aceh is not in accordance with the wishes of the people because many people in Aceh are still violating Shariah, especially during Ramadan when they are not fasting and commit adulterous affairs." Cut Nyak, 20, of Pidie district, said Shariah law was a "tool applied in Aceh to manage the public because the majority of Acehnese were Muslims," adding that she supported the implementation of Islamic law in the province. Aceh's controversial Qanun Jinayat code is a set of local bylaws that were passed in September by the province's legislative council, and replaced parts of the Criminal Code with sections of Islamic law for Muslims. Under the code, people deemed to have committed adultery or had premarital or homosexual sex could be sentenced to lashings with a cane or be stoned to death. Corporal punishment can also be meted out to rapists, child molesters and those caught drinking alcohol or gambling. Muslims' interactions with members of the opposite sex who are not family members are also strictly regulated. After the code was passed, international human rights groups spoke out against the regulations and called them a violation of basic rights. Aceh's governor, Irwandi Yusuf, has refused to sign off on the Qanun Jinayat. Jimmy, the event organizer, said "raids against women clad in tight pants" should be the least of Aceh's worries, as the province had many other problems. "There's unemployment and other problems affecting the livelihoods of the people -- that should be what we focus on, rather than on issues concerning people's personal affairs. Everyone has the right to express their personality," he said. "Especially when it comes to sex. It should not be banned, because all people need sex. I also really need sex," he said. He added that there were about 150 transgenders in Banda Aceh and they were able to fit into the community without any problems.


Unusually tall cabin crew leaves airport agog Some of the drag queens on the gay flight to Sydney for the Mardi Gras. Photo: Rebecca Hallas

KYLIE NORTHOVER – the Sydney Morning Herald February 26, 2010 COMMUTERS at Melbourne Airport were agog yesterday when a flamboyant - and very tall - cabin crew strode through Terminal 3 towards the boarding gate for flight DJ 857. To celebrate Sydney's gay and lesbian Mardi Gras weekend, Virgin airlines had a special themed Melbourneto-Sydney flight, complete with a drag queen cabin crew, dance routines and champagne at the boarding gate and the kind of in-flight entertainment one would normally find at the Greyhound Hotel. Special guests on the ''Up, up and a gay'' flight included Channel Nine's entertainment reporter Richard Reid and Kylie Minogue impersonator and drag queen Millie Minogue. ''I was supposed to come with Molly [Meldrum] but he's busy, so I'm going up to see a friend,'' said Millie, who cheerfully posed for happy snaps with bewildered travellers. ''A few people are bamboozled and wondering what's going on!'' Drag queens from Leave It To Diva entertainment company, as well as Virgin Blue's very own steward and drag queen Ms Marion De Pilot, acted as an alternative cabin crew on the flight, providing a considerably more colourful in-flight service than that usually offered on domestic flights. Virgin Blue have their own float in this weekend's Mardi Gras parade, and chief executive Brett Godfrey said the themed flight was in keeping with the festival's ethos of diversity and inclusiveness. "People come in droves to Sydney to take part in celebrations, especially from Melbourne,'' Godfrey said. ''It's a great opportunity to coiffure our beehives, break out the sequins and kick off the party early by getting into the spirit Priscilla-style on the journey there." ''It's going to be fabulous,'' said Ms Penny Tration before the flight. ''After the boring safety demo we'll do our alternative version - we're going to sing the safety demonstration,'' she said. ''Then there'll be some numbers, and we'll be doing upgrades - and some downgrades as well.''



Malawi presidential pardon is wise and humane, but means little if laws don’t change BRUSSELS, 31 May 2010 — The two Malawian citizens convicted of ‘gross indecency’ and ‘unnatural acts’, who had been sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment and hard labour, were pardoned on Saturday 29 May by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika. Members of the European Parliament welcome this development, but call for caution. Steven Monjeza (26) and Tiwonge Chimbalanga (20), who identifies as a woman, were arrested in December 2009 following a symbolical same-sex wedding ceremony in public. Their arrest, 5-month detention and heavy prosecution drew widespread international condemnation, including from High Representative of the European Union Catherine Ashton. The couple has now been set free ‘on humanitarian grounds only’, as President Mutharika pardoned them whilst disapproving of their act and recalling its illegality. The pair has been warned that performing similar actions in the future would send them back to prison. Michael Cashman MEP, Co-president of the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights, commended the President’s decision: “The President made an exemplary and wise use of his powers. Steven and Tiwonge have done nothing wrong but love one another, and their punishment was inappropriate. This pardon must pave the way for a more humane treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Malawian and African citizens. We hope Steven and Tiwonge will now be able to live their lives freely and safely.” Ulrike Lunacek MEP, Co-president of the Intergroup on LGBT Rights, further commented: “A presidential pardon is one thing, which I warmly welcome in this case, but Malawi must now consider what its legal system stands for: upholding equality as enshrined in the Malawian Constitution, or unfairly jailing innocent citizens for crimes that harmed no-one? Homosexuality and transgenderism have never been ‘un African’, and African and Christian values are based on love and tolerance. Malawi should now honour its national and international obligations by decriminalising homosexuality.” The Intergroup will continue monitoring the situation for LGBT people in Malawi and Africa, calling for the European Union to act in accordance with its core values in diplomatic representations.



I TOLD MY STORY TO A BOATMAN By Rahul Sitting on the steps of the river Ganges, I started sipping Masala Chai - my favourite. What a beautiful night, with such gentle breeze and silent cries. So many hundreds of lamps floating down the river, I wanted to chase them in a boat, hurriedly. Pick one and embrace those jasmine petals. Share my story with the lamp. But then the lamp will burn out soon, I will not be able to finish the story. of the preview. You may say I am a dreamer – but I am not the only one. {John Lennon – Imagine} I bought another Masala Chai – my favourite.

held mine, looking straight into his glittering eyes. Still sitting on the edge, I broke the silence. Told him how much I miss my father. I told him I feel a void in life after his demise. I told him that I want to meet my father again in my next birth and apologized to him for not been present by his bed side when he breathed his last. Ramu did not utter a word but listened to me religiously still sipping his drink. I started premeditating my film - from concept to contract – and walked down the aisles of the Orpheum theatre in New York one day.

I saw a boatman slowly moving towards the banks.

Surely he did not understand much of what I said.

An elderly, with a moustache and silver hair, may be in his late sixties.

But he gave a hearing to every word of mine, deeply engrossed.

I walked towards him, he asked with a grin on his face “you want boat – Ganga Pooja very nice from the boat – half an hour fifty rupees …” I got in, sat on the edge facing him, we sailed to the middle of the river. I asked his name “Thumhare Nam Kiyahe Bhaiya” “Mera Nam Ramu” he said. And then he started talking to me in Hindi. I didn’t utter a word, instead enjoyed the rhythm of his body, moving back and forth. I asked him to take me to the other side of the river. He murmured “Hay Ram” He started again, relating stories, but I did not understand, I finally told him “Bhaiya mai Hindi bhol nahi – mera Sri Lanka asi” [I can’t speak Hindi I am from Sri Lanka] Instantly he stopped rowing, with a big smile on his face and with both hands pointed towards me said “Aare baba you are from Lanka waa waa?” It was beautiful. Like meeting an old friend. I offered him the last sip of my Masala Chai. He signaled no, with a humble smile. But I almost forced him. Looking shy, he gulped that cold sip, took a bottle of water out from his sack and washed the cup, gave me back, signaled me to hold it for a second. Opened a box, took a bottle of spirit out, and with reverence poured some into my cup. I stood in front of him, holding the plastic cup with both hands, not knowing what to do. He poured his and mixed with few drops of water, turned to me with a big smile on his face, signaled me to drink. I took a small sip. He gulped his in one go. He wiped his mouth, and laughed loud breaking the silence. I laughed with him in joy, jumped and embraced him. He held me tight and murmured “bohoth sundar baita, bohoth sundar – very beautiful son, very beautiful” I sat next to him on the edge of the boat, resting my head on his moving shoulders. We sailed to the other side of the river in silence. He laid a mat right on the middle of the boat, sat crossed legged, poured another drink, this time started nursing the same while I

I told him how I collected money to come to India. I told him my 36 hour train journey from Chennai to Varanasi. I told him many things. Ramu started pouring him another drink, but didn’t offer to fill up mine, I was surprised. He signaled me to come down and sit next to him. He offered his cup, I had a sip and rested my head on his lap. He covered me with his shawl. I closed my eyes. I dreamt of my film from beginning to the end. The story of powerless, marginalized and forgotten people of India and the story of violence and discrimination against low caste tribals. How children are trafficked to mega cities for prostitution and slavery. I dreamt of talking to Dalai Lama and interviewing Desmond Tutu. I asked questions from simple people what they could do to overcome injustice and how to challenge the rulers etc etc… I kept on dreaming. It was a bliss. Suddenly I heard a sound of another boat approaching us. Yes, people crossing the river after witnessing the Pooja. I sat facing him. He smiled. Ramu poured the last drink and offered the fist sip to me. I refused. He said he will pour it into the Ganga if I didn’t drink. I pleased him. And then we started sailing back. He sailed the boat without taking his eyes off me until we reached the banks. Still looking into my eyes, very affectionately, held my hand and helped me to get down. I wanted to hug him but he resisted. There were people around. I understood. I saw tears in his eyes. I didn’t care. I hugged him. He wiped his eyes and walked up to the temple with me. I said good bye holding my hands together almost worshiping him. With a faint voice he said “see you tomorrow” I shook my head but didn’t tell him, it was my last day in Varanasi.



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Natasha’s Story Let me tell you a story, a story about a girl who is imprisoned by her own body. This is the story of a girl who is being someone she is not every day, just to make the people she love happy Let me tell you the story of my life….. I was born in the month of September as the middle child to a Middle class family. My father is a well respected person among our very large and extended family and also by community. Like most of the children I also had a good child hood. Loving Parents, caring brother, Kind grandparents, I had everything. I really can’t say I always knew I was born in a wrong body. But I was always attracted to Girly things. My first memory of doing a girly thing is coloring my nails with a red color marker when I was in kindergarten. I have been doing this several times before, but it was in secrecy. This particular day I work up in the morning and told to myself, today I will show everyone who I really am. Then I took my red color marker and painted all my fingernails and toe nails. After that I went out just like any other day, and boy that was one huge mistake. My mother was so angry and she started to scold me, saying that I am out of my mind. My brother starts to tease me saying that I am not his brother anymore and as usual I ended up crying and washing all my painted nails. But this day I have learned my lesson, which is color nails but don’t show it to anyone else and so I did. When I am playing with my friend (A girl of course) we did lot of play houses. We did lot of dressing up, specially coloring our nails. But every time we finished playing I was so careful to remove all the traces. But don’t think I only played dressing up games with girls. I played cricket with my brother too. Another day I can remember so well is my first experience of a wedding. It was one of my mother’s cousin’s wedding. She was so pretty that day. As soon as I saw her I just wanted to be like her. And next day when I play with my friend we pretend to have a wedding ceremony and I was the bride. Even though I did all these I never wanted to be a girl. When I am looking back now I’m thinking I was always a girl in mind. At that time I never knew the difference between girls and boys. In my mind everything was normal and only problem I had was hiding it from my parents. So my early child hood passed like this and for so many years I used to make things like paper Ribbon Flowers and all sorts of decorative things and I really enjoyed it. And one time I remember one of my mother’s friends saying that I have to be a girl to like those types of things so much.


But one incident changed everything how I see about my life. I used to go through my mother’s news papers to see the pretty girl’s with lovely make up and nice dresses. One day I came across an article about a Woman in UK who was born as a boy and underwent a sex change to become a girl. At that moment I knew exactly what I want. That moment I knew I want to be a girl. I went out to find my mother to say that I want to be a girl too. But I never had the courage, I was so scared and those words never came out of my mouth. But after that day I knew exactly what I want to be. By this time I have found my mother’s and aunt’s make up, nail polish and all the other things and instead of markers now I’ m using nail polish. In primary school I had many friends, both girls and boys. Making friend was very easy for me and even today I have so many friends. When I am in 8th grade another thing hit me. All my girl friends start to look different. They have growing breast and I wanted to have breasts too. I did so many silly things. I used my mother’s underwear but those were too big for me. So I start to make it my own things to imitate Boobs. From old tennis balls to socks, I tried so many things. In this time I started to find information about gender, sex difference other things. When I was in 11th grade I already knew lot of things about human sexuality, secondary sexual characteristics, and Hormones. Also I started to read about sex change and I came across the word transsexualism. Now I had a word to study more. By this time I knew by taking female hormones I can change my body to look like a girl, something I wanted so badly, but I was too scared. During this time I have been caught up more than few times for wearing makeup and heels, but every time I manage to escape by making a story and I was very good at that. Everyone believed me. Many may think someone like me must, had a hard time in school. But for me school was a wonderful place. I had so many friends and no matter how feminine I look or act I was never called a sissy. Every one treated me as a good friend who is not that physically strong and not that good in sports. There were lot of friend to protect me and take care of me and even today it’s the same. Whenever I came across a thing that need much physical strength, There is always more than one friend who is willing to help me saying that this thing is too hard for you to do. Up to 11th grade I had no trouble with my feelings. I was dressing in secrecy. But with time passed by I needed more. I wanted to be accepted as a girl. I want to live my day to day life as a Girl. Whenever I saw a well dressed girl, I felt so sad about me. I just wanted to be like her. I wanted to live my life like her. After my O/L I had lot of time to do reading and in this time I knew lot of things about Transsexualism and I have read few stories about transsexual woman who underwent sex change Surgery. First thought of


running away from home came to my mind during this period, but I didn’t do it because of two reasons. First one was I knew by running away I will not be able to be the girl I wanted to be and second is I knew what will people say about me and what my family will face. Like I said they were a well respected among the people we know. So I told to myself I have study well to achieve my dream. So I tried my best to do well in studies. But it was no easy task. It was very difficult to focus on my studies. All I can think was to become the girl I always felt like. When I am reading my study books my mind was running wildly thinking about lovely dresses, Shoes, How I want to wear them How pretty I’m going to look one day How happy I will be as a woman one day. I had to fight with my mind just to focus even on the simplest thing. I was trying so hard to suppress my feeling and trying to have a so called normal life of a boy. This was the beginning of hard time of my life. But with all Difficulties, I manage to pass my A/Ls and I was selected to a University. This time also I didn’t want to go to Uni. All I wanted was to run away and be the girl I want. But again I told myself I have to study first and so I did. Another 3 years of hard work and emotional battles. But when I finish my Degree I was so hopeful. I had UK equal qualification and I was hoping to find a job abroad and move out. I was so sure I can do that. So I decided to take hormones. I knew as I grow old the effects of hormones will be reduced. So I took hormones all by myself. I know it was dangerous, but I didn’t have any other option. As months passed by the effects of hormones started to show. My face become much feminine and People mistook me for a girl when I am wearing boy’s cloths. Everyone was so concerned and everyone started to ask questions, not only from me but from my family too. I couldn’t bare the look on their face when any one commented how I look. They were so embarrassed because of me. By this time my mother got suspicious and she had went through my things and found out my hormones. When she asked about it from me, everything ended up, me crying and telling about my feelings and next day I ended up at a psychiatrics’ office with my brother. Fortunately for me, instead of trying to fixing me like what my brother had in his mind, she started to explain to him all about transsexualims and how difficult for me to live my day to day life. When we return my brother and mother beg me not to do anything like that and they asked me to give up my feelings for the sake of my family. They Said If I try hard I can change my feelings. I can’t blame them for wanting me to give up my dreams, because of the culture and people’s mind set in sri lanka. I had firsthand experience on that and I never wanted them to face any difficult situation because of me. They will be so embarrassed if I started to dress like a girl and they will not be able to face any one. So I gave up my hormones and I was looking so hard to move out from Sri Lanka. I never told my farther how I feel mainly because of his short temper. He has this problem of being a short tempered person and whenever he is angry he is scolding and cursing everyone around him. Whenever he is upset we all had to pay the price. But he had never beaten us or physically hurt us. But the words coming from his mouth are thousand times harsher than any physical punishment. There are so many times I wished he is beating us instead of cursing and scolding. Because Emotional wounds are much more painful than any physical wound. So I never told my farther how I really feeling because I knew exactly how everything is going to end. If I told him, my family would have torn apart for sure. During this time he was so harsh to everyone and especially to me. He never told me why he is so mad at me, but he used to say I am no longer part of his family and he used to scold me nothing. Also he used to curse my mother saying that all this is her fault and this happened almost

every other day while I was on hormones. I never knew what exactly reason behind it, but I am sure it was because of me, because after I cut my hair and began to look little bit boyish everything changed. By this time I realized the only way I can be myself without hurting the people I love is by moving out to another country and so I tried to do that. I was feeling so down and I began to search for support groups in sri lanka to get in touch with and this is how I first came to know about Equal ground and I found the contact details through web search. But for months I never had the courage to contact them. But one day I gather up all the courage I had and made the phone called and this was the first time I get in touch with Rosanna. She asked me is it possible for me to come to equal ground and so I went. I talked with her more than an hour and somehow she managed to lift my spirit up. I promised her that I will drop by again, but I never did. During this time I was trying so hard to suppress my feelings. I wanted so badly to forget about everything and some days I was able to do that. But everything kept coming back. I have throw away all my makeup and skincare products so many times. But after one week I was buying everything again. This is how my life was during this time. Trying to be myself and trying to suppress my feelings. I was in total paradox. So I never kept my promise I made to Rosanna. After one year of doing internship and looking for a way to move out of Sri Lanka I entered to do my M.Sc. I told to myself it’s only another two more years and after that I will have much higher chance of moving out from Sri Lanka to start my transition. So I did another two years of hard work just to move out from Sri Lanka. Finally in 2008 I manage to finish M.Sc. and again I was looking for jobs abroad. This time I found a job, sadly not in a place where I can transition but in a Muslim Country. One of my good friend’s always says something is better than nothing. Like what she says I took the job offer I got hoping to save more money. I was in that country for 1 year and from the first day I went there, like always I was searching for a way to move to place to start my transition. Like any place else I was making friends easily and everyone liked me. But I was so sad about me; I have so many friends who like me for someone I am not. No one knew how I felt and in my heart I was very lonely. During my time in this country I found out that New Zealand was the easiest place for me to move. So I though, finally there is light at end of the tunnel for me. And this time I met this guy from New Zealand too. For so many months he is asking me to marry him. But something in my heart keeps telling me not to trust him and I don’t want to waste what I have earned on a wild goose chase. I think he is just after sex. Also other friends I have met online told me not to come to New Zealand without proper work Visa and they said it is almost impossible to find work without a work visa. In end of last year I got another job offer in another Muslim country. But this time it was not a 100% Islamic country and so I returned to Sri Lanka again, before moving to my next destination. This time while I was in Sri Lanka I went to see the same doctor my brother took me few years ago and I told her everything about my situation and how hard I am trying to suppress my feelings. She told me the only solution for me is to made up my mind and start transition and she told me that she will do everything in her power to help me through my transition. Also she was kind enough to help me to find a Physician to start my hormones again. But thought about what my family will face if I started to transition in Sri Lanka came to my mind, so I kindly rejected her offer. But she told me I have to make my mind sooner, or I will not be able to continue like this for a long time. Even though I knew what she’s telling is truth, I just told her than I am very much used to all these and I will be able to manage myself. To get a second opinion I went to see another consultant who didn’t knew



anything about me and I told him my whole story. I got the same comments from him too. Finally I asked him what shall I do and then he told me that I already know the answer to that question and it’s just matter of time before accepting it. With all those things, I came to my second destination dreaming to be myself and according to web searches this is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. This place is very peaceful but for people like me this is not a good place. In Last December also police have arrested transgendered people who are going out dressed as girls. So far this is worse than the previous place. Even though I changed the place my feelings didn’t change. I still want to be the girl I always dreamed and still I am trying so hard to move to another place. But my doctor was right. Things are getting worse every day. I was feeling so helpless and I wanted to return to Sri Lanka and start my transition so badly. Just after I came here I was feeling so bad and again I sent a email to Equal Ground saying everything and same day I got a reply, again from Rosanna. She said Equal ground also can help me in many ways if I am transitioning in sri Lanka. But same problem keep haunting me. The problems my family is going to face. That is the only thing holding me back from transitioning. I really don’t know how to right how I feel. It’s so miserable and I have no hope of future and my dreams are also fading away. I am feeling so down. But lucky for me I have this very good friend Nigel, I met from equal ground. Somehow he knows how to lift my spirit up. My online life is the only happiness I have now and without it I’m sure I will end up going crazy. I had enough of all this. I’m having a hard time than ever on focusing on my work and lucky for me my boss is a very kind person. I told him once that I want to resign from my job because I can’t focus on my work and he said its ok and he asked me to take my time. One thing I know for sure is nothing will get better with time. But everything will get worse for sure. I worked so hard just to get my freedom and be myself. But now it feels like all that hard work is for nothing. It feels like that I am not going anywhere and I will never be able to be myself. I can’t feel anything, I don’t feel like doing anything. I feel like a died person, a walking dead body. All I want is just to disappear. I have no hope or dreams about my future anymore. Sometimes I am thinking to go New Zealand on tourist Visa and take my chances. My family thinks I am Happy. But the truth is I am sadder and lonelier than ever. Sometimes I think whether they Love me as much as I love them. My mother always complains me saying that I don’t care about them as much as they care about me. I don’t understand what else I can do for them. I am Sad, I am lonely, I have given up all my dreams and hopes about future just to make them happy. What else any one can do for the people they love. I only wish they care half about me much as I care about them. I don’t want to live my life like this. But I don’t want to kill myself as a loser too. I will keep fighting for my dreams till the day I die. I know the life I have is so miserable. But I will try to hold on to the little hope I have. So till the day I fall down I will do my best to cope with this sadness and loneliness and I will keep fighting. May be one day my family will realize what they have done. May be… One day….. But for now I am living a life without myself. They say True Love is unconditional, but the truth is, in real world love always comes with lot of terms and conditions.

This was the story of my life. This was "mi vida sin me" My Life without me.



fudaiï uqyqfoa msyskk wuq;= b,xodßhd -fuh j¾I 2009 ckjdß 11 jk Èk rdjh mqj;amf;a m,jQ ,smshls' rplhdf.a wjirh u; fuu iÕrdfõ m<lrkq ,nhsfuu ,smsh ,sùug fya;=jla ;sfí' Èkl uu YHdï fi,ajfodfrhsf.a w¨;au kjl:dj “Swimming in the monsoon sea” ys isxy, mßj¾:kh lshùñ' th mßj¾:kh lr ;snqfKa fÊ' mS' jkakswdrÉÑ kï uyf;l= úisks' miqj uu ud yd fmd;ayqjudre lrf.k lshjk uf.a ñ;=ßhlg" fudAiï uqyqfoa msysKSu" lshùug ,nd ÿkafkñ' miqjodu wE weTq,a jQ uqyqKska hq;=j kej; fmd; ug Ndrÿkakdh' fmd; lsfhjqjd±hs uu wef.ka weiqfjñ' weh fmdf;a miq ljrh ug fmkakqjdh' wfmda ' ' ' fï jf.a fmd;a ux lshjkafka ke ' ' ' we ms<s;=re ÿkafka fkdiÕdjd.;a wm%idofhks' tu fmdf;a miqmsfÜ i|ykaj ;snqKq oE uu Tnfjkqfjka fufia Wmqgd olajñ' “YHdï fi,ajfodfrhs m%lgj isákafka iu,;ajh fjkqfjka ks¾Nhj fmkSisák iïu; iodpdrfha m%Yak l< újdod;aul idys;Hlrejl= jYfhks' wd;auh nqoaêh lrd f.khk bkaOk Yla;sh iu, wdorh nj maf,afgda lshd we;' fudaiï uqyqfoa msyskSu kï jQ fï lD;sho iu, fm%auhl miqìïj f.dv kef.A”' fudaiï uqyqo b;d r¿h" wk;=reodhlh" ìhcklh tfy;a ukialdka;h" kj fh!jk jhi;a tfiah' YHdï fi,ajfodf¾ fuu jhfia .eyeKq msßñ <uhs w;r yg.kakd in|;dj, ixlS¾K;ajh iy wmQ¾j;ajh fuu.ska .fõYkh lrhs' uf.a ñ;=rsh YHdïf.a fmd; fkdlshjd w;ayf,a miqmsfÜ fuu ,shú,a, ksidh' ta ms<sn|j ta fudfydf;a ud wef.ka m%Yak fkdl,;a ud ;=< m%Yak /ila u;=úh' ud YHdïj uq,skau yÿkd .;af;a Tyqf.a “Funny boy” kjl:dj yrydh' ta iq.;md, o is,ajd uy;d úiska b;d m%Yia: whqßka wuq;= b,xodßhd kñka isxy,g k.d ;snqKs' tu lD;sh i|yd orejl= ish l=vd wjêfha§ yd fh!jkfha§ ish fm!reIH wkkaH;djh yd iu, wkkaH;djh y÷kd .kakd whqre mokïj ;snqKs' ta iïnkaO m%Yak j,g Tyq uqyqKfok wdldrh yd Y%S ,xldfõ ckjd¾.sl w¾nqoh óg fmr idys;Hlrejka fkdÿgq udkhlska YHdï ksÍCIKh lr ;snqKs' ^Tyqf.a ckauh tkï øúv mshl=g yd isxy, ujlg odj bm§u fuu ksÍCIKhkag fya;= jkakg we;'& YdHdïf.a fojk kj l:dj “Cinnamon Garden” i|yd jia;= úIhù ;snqfka merKs Y%S ,xldfõ by< mdka;sl øúv ;reKshla ish wjg iudch úiska wre;a.kajd ;snQ ia;%S;ajh blauùug ork W;aiyhhs' uf.a ñ;=rsh lshùug m%;sfCIam l< fudaiï uqyqfoa msyskSu yryd YdHdï bÈßm;a lr ;snqfka ish iu, wkkH;djh yuqfõ u;=jk m%Yakj,g kj fh!jkhl= uqyqKfok wdldrh yd Tyqf.a iudc iïnkaO;d ms<sn|jhs' th fndfyda ,CIK w;ska YdHdïf.a uq,a kjl:dj jq wuq;= b,xodßhdg iudk;d fmkajhs' fm!oa.,slj fudaiï uqyqfoa msysKSu lD;shg jvd wuq;= b,xodßhdg ud leu;sh' iu,;ajh ' ' ' @@@ fuu jpkfhka Y%S ,dxlsl rislhka úlaIsma; jkafka wehs@ iu,;ajh Y%S ,dxlsl idys;H ;=< ksis f,i wre;a.ekaù ;sfío@ iu,;ajh hkq idys;H;=, idlÑPdjg nÿkaúh hq;a;lao@ iu,;ajh Y%S ,xldj;=, mj;skaklao@ iu,sx.slhka Y%S ,xldj;=< isào hkakg wka;¾cd,h mßCIdlsÍu ;=,ska Tng myiqfjkau ms<s;=rla ,nd.;yelsh' Y%S ,dxlsl iu,sx.slhka ish iylrejka fidhd .ekSu i|yd wka;¾cd,fha m< l< fm%d*hs, oi oyia .Kkla ;sfí' thg wu;rj Y%S ,xldj ;=< l%Shd;aul jk iu, ixúOdk /il f;dr;=reo wka;¾cd,fha fjhs' m%dfhda.slj iudch ;=<o wmg iu,sx.slhka uqk.efihs' th tfia fkdfjkjd hehs mejiSu uqidjls ' iu,;ajh hk isxy, jpkh i,ld neÆúg tys meyeÈ,s ir, w¾:h jkqfha iudkhl= yd ,sx.slj tlajk hkqhs Bg iudk isxy, jpkhlg we;af;a iuldó hk jokhs' iu,sx.slhka yd ixl%dka;s ,sx.slhka ^Transgender& ye¢kaùu i|yd fkdfhl=;a wmydid;aul joka lsysmhlao isxy, jpk ud,dfõ fidhd.; yelsh' kuq;a mqreI mqreI wdorh yd ia;%S ia;%S wdorh ye¢kaùu i|yd bx.%Sis NdIdfõ fuka ^Gay, Lesbian& fjka fjka jpk isxy, NdIdj ;=< yÿkd .; fkdyelsh' wdorh hkak ,;ajhgu mgqjQjla fkdfõ' th ,;ajh blaujd .sh ixfõ§ udkqIsl ne£uls' isxy, NdIdfõ tk iu, hk jpkh yqÿ , wkkaH;djh muKla W¨mamd olajkakls' Y%S ,xldj ;,= fndfyda iu,sx.slhka isáh;a Tjqyq w;sYh ksyv Ôú; .; lr;s' Tjqyq ish Ôú; ld,h mqrdu ;udj;a rjgdf.k úIu,sx.slhl= f,i r.mdñka b;d ÿlanr Ôú; f.j;s' újdyù w;Dma;su;aj Ôj;afj;s' foìä Ôú; .;lr;s' fuh fÄokSh ;;ajhls' Y%S ,xldfõ iu,sx.slhka ms<sn|j úêu;a iudcúoHd;aul wOHkhla fï olajd isÿù ;sfí ±hs hkak ieliys;h' iu,;ajh hkq ldhsl ÿn,;djhla fyda udkisl ÿn,;djhla fyda fkdj b;du iajNdjl ;;ajhla nj fndfyda fokd ;ju;a úYajdi fkdlr;s' fï ksid fndfyda iu,sx.slhka yg ryis Ôú; .;lsÍug isÿj ;sfjí' fndfyda iu,sx.slhka ish Ôú; ld,h mqrdu ;u ldhsl yd udkisl wjYH;d i.jdf.k Ôj;afj;s' ol=Kq fjr< ;Srh yd fld<U m%foaYfha , Y%uh wf,ú lsÍfï fhfok jHdc iu,sx.shkao isák nj wm wu;l l<hq;= ke; ' Y%S ,xldj ;=< iu, WmixialD;sh iudc úoHd;aulj .fõYKh lsÍfï wjYH;djh wo u;=j we; ' ia;%S ia;%S wdorh yd mqreI mqreI wdorh isxy, idys;H ;=< ksrEmKh ù we;af;a flfia±hs hkak ksÍCIKh lr ne,Sfï§ isxy, kj l:d lsysmhl yd flá l:d lsysmhl ^YHdïf.a fmd;a j, isxy, mßj¾:k yer& b;d iq¿ jYfhka fuu úIh fCIa;%h iam¾Y lr ;sfnkq yÿkd .; yelsh' thskao fndfydaÿrg isÿ lr we;af;a iu, wdorh wmydihg yd Wmydihg ,lalsÍuh' bx.%Sisfhka ,shk mqKH ldka;S úfÊkdhl uy;añhf.a .srh kjl:dj ;=< hï wdldrhlg ia;%S ia;%S wdorhla ms<sn|j b.s lr ;snqkd u;lh' óg jir lsysmhlg fmr tla;rd f,aÅldjla u,a fm;s u; ,ejq .sks kïka ia;%S ia;%S wdorh úIh lr.;a kjl;djla m%ldYhg m;alr ;sfí' wef.a tu ks¾Ns;Ndjh m%YxYd lghq;=h' ^tu lD;sfha idys;Huh jákdlula ;sfío hkak fjku idlÑPd l< hq;a;ls'& óg wu;rj wfYdal y|.u uy;d ish ;ks ;gqfjka mshdUkak iskud lD;sh ;=< iu, pß;hla ^ufyakaø fmf¾rd úiska tu pß;h ksrEmKh lr ;snqKs& fhdodf.k ;snqKs' ;jo l,lg by; yqÿ ,;ajh muKla W¨mamd ±lajQ ia;%S iu,;ajh mokï lr.;a isxy, iskud mgj, ixl%dka;s ,sx.slhka ^Transgender& úys¿ldrhka f,i bÈßm;a lr my;a fmf<a ydiHh ksrEmKh lr ;sfnkq uE;ld,Sk isxy, iskudj ksÍCIKh lsÍfï§ yÿkd .; yelsh' fuhg wu;rj iu,;ajh ksis f,i isxy, l,d udOHhka ;=< .fõIKh ù ke; ' Shock to the system, Poster boy, Boys culture, The fluffier, Adam and Steve, Third man out, Fire Dented, Luster, The Trip, Farewell my concubine, Beautiful things, Brock back mountain, Little more than one year jeks iu, wdorh mokï lr.;a úfoia iskud mg Y%S ,dxlsl fj<|fmd< ;=, wf<ú fõ' fïjd i|yd risl m%cdjlao isà' úfYaIfhka Brock Back Mountain jeks Wiia úkaokhla iys; Ñ;%mg i|yd ,xldj;=< b;d by< b,a¨ula mj;S' wmf.a idys;Hlrejka ìh ksid fyda Tjqkaf.a iudc ±lafï mgqNdjh ksid fyda iu,;ajh ms<sn|j w|j f.d¿j ìysßj ys£' iu, in|;d wkqu; lsÍu fyda fkdlsÍu fyda fkdj ta ms<sn|j újD; ukilska ksÍCIKh lr idys;Hh lÓldjka we;sl< hq;=j ;sfí' wms uyd by<ska ksoyi ms<sn|j l:d lrñka isákafkuq' wfkldf.a , yd iudÔh ksoyi wysñùu ysxikhg ,laùu bÈßfha uqksj; rlskafkuq' fuh isÿ fkdõh hq;a;ls' fï weia wer jg msg ne,Sug ld,hhs' biqre pdur fidAuùr



The boy from the beach and ashes Part I There is a line along the edge of the sea, where the water meets the sky, and it is always concrete silver there, when the sun is going down. There are people on the shore, playing cricket in the sand; putting off the impending darkness in their heads to play a little while longer. An occasional ring of laughter carries to where I sit, as the watching girls laugh flirtingly at the boys. And they, in turn, dance around on the sand, diving unnecessarily at the rubber ball, their chests bare in the violet twilight, sand stuck on their sweaty shoulders. These are children my age, who live in the slums that line this beach. This is where they have grown up, this is their world. This beach belongs to them. I am just an intruder watching, and sometimes envying, their happiness. Because I can’t understand it. ‘But I love you,’ I told Pradeep as he watched the last of the sun disappear. ‘I love you anyway because that’s how I love.’ He looks at me. And his twenty-year-old eyes are fierce, and sad, and angry, and full of love. He says, ‘I carry death inside me, Julian. I can feel death inside me, alive and waiting.’ The waves crashed on the black rocks as he said this, and I watched a maroon-red crab slip on the slime, waging its battle against the world. — Pradeep belongs to those young boys and girls who play cricket on the beach. He comes from them, that world – the world that I know so little of. He has one older brother, and one younger brother, who is as old as I am: seventeen. He also has two younger sisters, almost twins, aged thirteen and twelve. He has lived on the Moratuwa beach for all his life, three hundred metres into the shore, in a shack of a house that had planks for walls. When I first met Pradeep, a year ago, I had only just moved here to a house closer to Galle Road, where people lived in “ordinary” houses, made of good old cement and the red bricks. Back then, I liked the beach, I thought it was romantic, I enjoyed the solitude it offered. He spoke to me first. Just asked my name, where I came from. He had a gorgeous smile. And at that time when I was first speaking to him, I was already imagining making love to him in the dark tumult of the night-time beach. He was nineteen then. I am pitifully given to romance. More so back then, when I was sixteen. I liked the moonlight and the idea of quiet seas. I liked the thought of sitting near the water’s edge, with someone I loved, our feet forever wet, and our bodies languid on the sand, watching the stars, the clouds orange, as the city lights bounced off them. I liked this idea, this image I had conjured in my head; and one night I left the comfort of my house to pursue it. I went looking for the boy from the slums I had only met about a week ago. The boy called Pradeep I couldn’t stop thinking about. On a cloudless night with an invisible new moon, I went looking for Pradeep on his beach. From that night on, we were taken hold of. We were spun around by fate – we played hide-and-seek with the world, meeting in the corners of the sea where even the foamy waves whispered knowingly of our secret. Where the leering crabs watched with amusement as we made love in the dark. Where the silence hummed to drown out the puerile noises of our affection. The voices from the slums carried to our hiding place in the darkness: an umbilical that


tied us to civilisation, from which we were alienated, from which we ran away. I know from the way Pradeep held me that he was scared. I knew that he had to wear the real man’s face to his family, to his people from the slums. Anything shy of what they would accept as normal was their abhorrence. But I also knew from the way he held me that he loved me, that he could never let me go. And I was scared for him, more than I was ever scared for myself, though I was, very substantially, scared for myself. Pradeep was poor, and I was relatively rich. He was older, taller, darker. I was still going to school. He had given up after his OLs, which he had only passed narrowly. And he didn’t even care. I spoke a lot of English. But I spoke in Sinhala with him. He read a lot, and I liked movies. He knew Martin Wickremasinghe. And I couldn’t care less about the fact that I didn’t. He was very smart. And he laughed a lot, his lengthening hair smooth around his brows. He joked, and touched my hand, swiftly, in a secret intimation of love. But when we sat on the rocks of the beach during the day, there was a distance between us that was an obvious lie. When we met sometimes among other people, there was the truth about the “normative” society around us that sat (or walked) rudely between us. When we met in the twilit evenings, we allowed this truth to tell our lie. We walked like chums, and we guffawed instead of laughing. When he touched me, it was with a guilt that coursed through his fingers into my skin. We would look at the sand beneath our shadows, as we talked, or the clouds above us: we never looked into each other’s eyes, lest some stranger saw our spark, saw the ignition when our eyes met. I mostly saw his eyes only in the darkness, when that was all I would see anyway – a minuscule glint deep inside his iris as a distant kerosene lamp reflected off it. I carry death inside me, Julian. There were times when there was an immovable anger between us that was always loud in the unspoken words. When other people came out to the sun, to play their own games with the world, we brooded in secret pockets of the beach because we felt left out. Because we could not find within ourselves any valid reason that called for this great secrecy, this senseless fear. And we were angry because we were afraid. We were angry because they had a power, those people outside, to push us into a corner of the beach where only the crabs knew us. Where only the silent world would celebrate our love. For them, those people out there, we were a sin condemned from a pulpit, a joke on the TV, a whisper in a dark alley, a rumour from the West. For them, we didn’t exist. This angered Pradeep the most. I sat behind him on the sand, as he stood before the sunset at the edge of the sea, his faded jeans rolled up to his knees, his t-shirt flapping loosely against the wind. At times like these, a deep quietness settled inside him. He kicks a clod of wet sand into the air, and I watch as it lands on the foamy hem of the waves. Pradeep had a secret. It started first as revenge. His younger brother, the one who was as old as I was, had told him a story about a boy on their beach who sold sex to foreigners in Hikkaduwa. He said that the boy apparently made about threethousand rupees per fuck in the ass. He then apparently said that this fucking ponnaya should be rounded up by the other guys living on the beach and be beaten up with cricket bats. He apparently said it and then laughed. And when he looked Pradeep in the eyes, as if to pass the joke on, Pradeep had laughed too. An unblinking, loud guffaw. I let him say that, Julian. I let him say that to me, and I didn’t say anything back.


Pradeep could not sleep. He lay awake on his back, lying on the cold mud floor of his shack-house, listening to the waves outside, listening to his brother snoring beside him. He was family. They had shared so much. They had had chickenpox together, when they were very little. They had shared clothes – even now, the sarong Pradeep was wearing belonged to his brother. He loved his brother. But right now, there was a deeper hatred inside him, a boiling fury, that could almost murder, that could inflict serious pain. But he sought a different type of vengeance. His brother, Shehan, was the only one in his family to even attempt an Advanced Level education. Still, since his school’s teaching was insufficient, Shehan needed to start on extra tuition that his parents could never afford. He had found the cheapest classes that could be useful, and decided that he would need at least six hundred rupees a month to afford the basics. For me, six hundred rupees were a pittance, and my classes cost far more than six hundred rupees a month. Anyway, as Pradeep lay beside his brother that night, after he had laughed at the “joke”, he realised that three thousand rupees was a huge amount. His brother could take tuition for five months on end with it. When Pradeep handed his brother the first envelope, there were five thousand rupees in it. He handed it to him and said gruffly, “Pay for your classes for as long as you can, don’t waste it. And don’t tell amma.” When his brother asked him where he got the money, Pradeep had said, “I’ll tell you later.” And that was all. That was his vengeance. That was how he slapped his brother across the face, and made him pay for his bigotry and his arrogance. “You fucking idiot,” I said. “You fucking idiot,” I said, and I pushed him away – I pushed him into the waves and kicked the muddy sand across his face; I watched him, sprawled on the water, the roaring waves trying to toss him, and I staggered backwards on my feet, and I kept saying, you fucking idiot, you fucking idiot. The horror that crept up my feet had no name that I could give it. It had less to do with what he had done than what it had to do with the perverse truth in Shehan’s joke. They are right about us, a voice kept shouting in my head as I watched Pradeep struggle with the thrashing waves. I turned and ran. I thought to never return. I thought to never return and in my head, I pushed Pradeep deep into the abyss of my memory and I withdrew to my own world, where all I ever did anyway was meander alone. It was dark, there, with the thought of never touching or kissing Pradeep again, but I too had my boiling fury to assuage. I too had a feeling of being hurt that was far too primal to be given a name. And it was this hurt, this scar that I defaulted to whenever my thoughts of never returning started squeamishly to hesitate. With every day that I denied myself Pradeep’s presence, a raw wound was being bored into me. A deep anguish that made its noise into the silence of my bedroom or to the tumult of a school classroom in which I sat alone. With every day that passed since I turned my back on Pradeep, I hated him. I hated him for his stupidity. I hated him for his immaturity. I hated him, more, for how well he made me miss him. I hated him for that emptiness in my breathing that was the absence of his smell. I hated him for how badly I needed him. You get the world grey on a day that rains. When the clouds surround the sun and push it into obscurity and paint the world with colours more real, more certain. When I was with Pradeep, I loved him on days like this. Because the tone of his skin was more real to me, more solid, when the sun didn’t make it shine with sweat. There were clouds, then, that had the ability to make me smile

under the sleet-grey, filtered light. But after I left him, I was a shadow, sheathed in a cloud of anger and displaced hatred and all I wanted to see was the sun. To touch the golden beauty of the sun-heated sand, in a beach where I met with my soul, on a late Sunday afternoon.

Part II Here’s me, a small clay pot in my hands, in a white t-shirt, the sea waves lapping against the insides of my thighs. The sun is facing me, orange and fierce, hovering above the concrete-silver skyline, waiting for me to perform my act. Here’s Pradeep, inside a clay pot that is sitting stoutly on my weakened fingers. Here’s the whole world: behind me. If I turn around now, I would see everything. An island in all its splendour and serendipity, in all its tolerance. The shore curving inwards, away from me, on either side of me. Buildings, skyscrapers on one side, and groves of coconut and planked shacks on the other, both ends rolling away to either the North or the South, fading into the obscurity of distance. And here’s death. Pressing against me. Its glee in claiming its right on our lives. Pressing against me, in a dull thudding of irrevocability. I left my house one day in the evening and started walking down our lane towards the beach. It was nearing six and the light around me was red in all the empty spaces. And orange. The beach came into view, with its scattered share of makeshift houses, the occasional abandoned boat, discarded old fishnets dangling from trees. There were people playing cricket on the sand, most of them around my age, shirtless and adolescent. From where I stood, I could see the cluster of boulders crouching with their shoulders against the charging surf: like a rugby team. The standing figure on one of these rocks, silhouetted against the descending sun, was Pradeep. I walked toward him until I was directly behind him, and stopped. He was naked, his body exposed to the world in the wind, his trousers clinging to his big legs, his bare torso tower-like against the gusts, enduring. I knew I loved him, then, with more certainty than ever before. I knew it then because, at that moment, I wanted to climb that rock and stand by him forever, as he looked into the endlessness of our lives. Into the mystery of the ocean, the quietness of such large a living being. I said, ‘Pradeep’, and my voice barely carried over the static of the waves. He turned, and at first his face broke into a happy smile, for I had not allowed him to see me for a very long time: a week, a month – even a year, maybe. A lifetime. And seeing me, I think back now, made him smile like that. He smiled like that when he saw me, despite everything that had been going on with his life at that moment. I smiled too, and moved forward to climb up the boulders. But Pradeep shouted, ‘Stay where you are! Don’t come any closer.’ His eyes were fearful, and wary. I was confused. ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him, and he shook his head. Still confused, I started forward again, when he said, ‘Go home! Please, malliya. Just go home.’ His face was contorting. And that hurt me. ‘I am not safe,’ he said. Bhayanakai. Such a horrid word. I was staring. ‘What’s wrong?’ I asked him. Mokada mey? And I climbed the rocks. Him groaning, not wanting me to come any closer, and still wanting me to come and hold him. We stood there. He was holding a hand out, saying ‘Stay there, now. That’s enough.’ He was breaking apart. And I was, I realise now, afraid



to get any closer. ‘Pradeep?’ I said, as quietly as I could. And for the first time since I knew him, Pradeep started crying. And talking, also. Choking, stumbling on his words, and sniffing, and holding in anguished sobs. ‘It was supposed to be the last time, I swear,’ he said. ‘I – I wanted to finish off. But Shehan, he needed the money. And this man – this man, a German I met in Panadura, he offered me twenty.’ He looked at me, I think, beseechingly. Begging me to understand how much money that was. ‘Twenty thousand rupees, malla. Shehan was doing well. The classes are good for him ... and he’s always thanking me, working hard.’ He said quietly, ‘I was stupid. I love him – he didn’t know what he was saying – it wasn’t revenge now. I didn’t want to let him down. And twenty would be enough. I wouldn’t need to do it again when I get so much.’ ... I was nodding, like I understood anything he was saying, which I didn’t, at that time, because I was confused by how distressed he was. I just nodded, wanting, but not trying, to get closer to him. ‘But he had a condition, that man.’ That suddha. ‘He said there can’t be protection. No condom,’ he said this, and looked at me. And I suddenly began to understand. ‘I was such a fool.’ Modayek! And he seemed ready to scream that word out to the world. ‘When we finished, he looked at me and said, I just gave you something that I have been carrying around alone for a long time. He said it and laughed and put on his clothes and left.’ I stared. The whole world spun around me, at that moment. The people playing cricket. The shack houses in the beach. The orange disc of the sun, the concrete-silver line. The waves, roaring, splashing against the shoulders of the rocks. There were tears on his face: real, substantial tears. On his face, climbing down, with no end. And I didn’t know what to think, let alone to say. I didn’t know what I was feeling, or if I felt at all. He was crying, like a child, like someone who had done something that was out there now in the farthest edges of reality, so irretrievably. I said, ‘I love you.’ And, for me, that was all. The sun had, by that time, sunk deep into the water. A shout or two carried over to where we stood, as the cricketers laughed, or appealed, or did both. The girls giggling, in their innocent flirtations. Pradeep looked away, trying to be stern with himself. ‘But you’re not safe with me now. This is my fault. I won’t let anything happen to you.’ ‘But I love you,’ I told Pradeep as he watched the last of the sun disappear. ‘I love you anyway because that’s how I love.’ He looks at me. And his twenty-year-old eyes are fierce, and sad, and angry, and full of love. He says, ‘I carry death inside me, Julian. I can feel death inside me, alive and waiting.’ The sun disappeared completely. And then the darkness swept over the shore as in a film, gradual and swooping and silent and absolute. The cricket game stopped almost instantly, and those noises were mute. I stepped in front of him. He tried to shuffle away, but it was a treacherous rock: if he slipped he would fall into the water. ‘Get away, now,’ he said, reluctantly, not wanting me to, wanting instead to hold me without an end. ‘Get away, now,’ he said again, as if resisting the last temptation. But I put my arms around him and held him close to me. And he resisted weakly, but then he broke apart completely, and cried into my shoulder. He was so afraid, now. And I don’t know if we could be seen by someone. But I could hardly care. There, on one of the rocks that shouldered the charging surf, I kissed him, and he whimpered, trying to push me away, but wanting me to kiss him, too. And I, more than willing to forgive him this one irresponsibility, kissed him anyway, because I loved him. He said he had to tell his family. And I agreed. I told him they deserved to know. I also told him, regurgitating things I had heard


at school, in health classes, that he should be very careful with blood now. Anything else was all right, but for blood. Don’t share your clothes. Don’t leave wounds undressed. I told him to see a doctor. Promised to go with him. I told him it was curable. I told him to hurry up, I told him that I would see him through it all. He said he will tell his family, about what was inside him now, with no details on how and why it happened. He wouldn’t be able to tell them about the tourists with the money, about his own sexuality, why he started doing it. He wouldn’t be able to tell them about me. And I was to stay away for a while, too. He said it might be dangerous for me. Don’t come here until I send for you, he said, and I nodded, and said ok. I left him as he stood on the boulder, promising to be there for him, promising to return. But we were stupid. This was the beach he lived on, a place where they all reacted in waves, like a tribe. In unity, in unanimity. Almost. Word got out that “that Pradeep kolla”, Premathilaka’s son, has contracted a virus. Who told who what, no one knew. A few others may have also added that he was noticed to be too friendly with a rich brat from nearer the Galle Road. Who knows, some of them may have even said that that some funny business was going on in the beach some nights between the two. Everybody knew where that virus came from. A week after last I met Pradeep, someone ambushed me as I was walking home from the nearby shop with the evening bread. He was about my age, but thickset and sunburnt. His face was vaguely familiar, and I realised that it was his resemblances to Pradeep. The jawline, the thick eyebrows, the flat ears. ‘Julian, dha?’ he asked. I nodded. ‘My name is Shehan,’ he said. ‘Pradeep’s younger brother.’ I nodded. A foreboding chill ran down my spine. Because at that moment I knew that he knew what I was, and the nature of my relationship with his brother. And because I also remembered instantly the joke he had once made. Something stupid he said, that had changed everything. I wasn’t sure if I blamed him for any of it. Or all of it. ‘What’s the scene?’ I asked in Sinhala, even then an orchestrated gruffness in my voice that I couldn’t help but notice. Eeyey ra aiyata kattiyak hondatama gahala. Ada paandara aiya nathiwuna. ‘He was beaten up by some people last night. He passed away today early in the morning.’ He looked at me as he said it. And I looked at him. There was nothing I could say, nothing I needed to know. My stomach was swooping. I wanted to go home and sit down. But Shehan kept talking. His father refused to accept the body, and neither did his older brother. For all Shehan knew, they may have even been involved in the attack. Pradeep had told them that he had slept with a few men, for fun, after getting drunk one night. That’s how he had got the virus. That had been his story. His father and older brother had thrown him out of the house, and he had had no place to go. There had been shouting, a lot of it, and even more later after the alcohol in anger. It’s no wonder the neighbours found out. He was beaten by metal bars, in the dead of a stormy night, probably a hundred times, again and again, beaten down to the sand of the beach. Nobody had heard the shouts in the rain. He was thrown into the waves, but the sea did not drag him away. Pradeep had crawled – stumbled, bleeding – to their house; it was Shehan who found him. His older brother and father were missing: out, assumed to be drinking. They tried to help him, but he was slipping away, blood pouring over his face, his eyes blackened to the colour of spoilt mangosteins, a few front teeth missing.


He had mumbled a few words. Julian, ashes, and Third Lane. Shehan knew what he had tried to mean. Shehan told me, then, that just before Pradeep had died, he grabbed his shirt, pulled him closer, and gasped, ‘Tell him. Tell him. I love him.’ ‘So here I am,’ said Shehan. ‘He loved you.’ And then he started crying silently, in the middle of my lane. So here I am. And here’s me. Here’s me, the sea waves lapping against the insides of my thighs. Holding what remains of my soul in a clay pot. My fingers are trembling. And I don’t know what to do. I have never done this. This act of farewell, this ritual of letting go of someone you love. I am just seventeen, a little close to eighteen. I can’t do this. I don’t know how to – and I shouldn’t be expected to. The wind whips against my face, and my hair tickles my eyelids, but I can’t brush it away because my hands are full of Pradeep. I close my eyes, because they are irritated by the hair, and tears squish out, because I didn’t realise I had been crying. And the picture of him, kicking a clod of sand into the air, a long time ago, in our pocket of the beach, swirls in front of me. I want to think something beautiful at this moment. But all I can think is this. I will love him. I may live to be eighty years old. I may meet a hundred different people, and I may even love a few of them along the way. But I will never stop loving that boy from the beach I met when I was just sixteen. Because he taught me something about life, about death, about love. About how these things are never stories that can be retold in neat paragraphs that follow each other in sequence. How they are things that are engrafted in our bones, things that will be with us as we grow into the men we will become. How it will change who we

are, but will not change how we remember the people of our past. I will remember him. Because, in the end, I made him smile, in his darkest moment, and that is one simple fact that I will take to my grave. I only hope, that that night, as the rain washed his spouting blood, his thoughts of me comforted him. Gave him courage. And here is his little brother. His arm around me, as we stand in the sea. His mother and two sisters were also there, far away, standing on the beach, watching us. Watching Pradeep go away. But here’s Shehan, his arm around my shoulder, and he’s crying, more profusely than I am and he says to me, ‘That’s where he got the money, wasn’t it? For my classes? He lied. He did it for me.’ And he was sobbing now, his eyes bloodied with the realisation. ‘Here,’ he says. He extends his hand and pulls the cover away from the pot. I lowered it to the water, and watched as the sea dived into the vessel and filled the inside. With one gulp, the ashes came out, floating, dark grey. Caught in the tide, most of it swam back at me, splashed against my body, and clung to me. I dipped myself in the water, and when I came back up, his ashes were gone. Here’s Pradeep. Now part of the mystery of the ocean, the quietness of such large a living being. Michael Mendis




(Based on a true story)

Amina paced the room, glancing at the wall clock every few seconds. She was nervous, her fingers clenched and unclenched constantly while she paced. The rains outside her parent’s modest home by the sea in Mottuvil lashed at the humble house with a ferocity that would have scared anyone except those living in this area. They were used to the monsoon in all its magnificence. Fishing boats were dragged up the shore and tied firmly to madly swinging coconut trees. Livestock, which mostly included goats and more goats, were herded into makeshift pens until the storm passed. The occasional frightened “Baaaa” could be heard above the noise of the waves, the wind and the thunder. “Lord please make it stop soon!” she implored her God. She glanced at the clock once more. It had only moved a few seconds! Amina was planning to make her getaway before her parents got back. Her father worked at the local co-operative store and her mother had gone to get provisions and Amina knew she would always stop by for her daily chat with Sithy Uma who lived in Mottuvil town. She knew she had at least another hour, however at the rate the storm was blowing; she was in a state of panic. Her anxiety kept building with every single clap of thunder and streak of lightening. “Please, please God, stop the storm!” she turned her eyes heavenwards and prayed, hoping the black clouds would miraculously dissolve and the sun would come out to spray its light and warmth on all the wetness around. She looked into her little carry all bag again to make sure she had everything she needed. Her umbrella too was tucked into a side pocket and her slippers were fastened with a shoelace to the handle. She looked about once more. “I’m just going to run for it!” she exclaimed to herself. It was almost 3pm and she knew her mother would be starting her walk back home from Sithy Uma’s. She picked up her bag and barefoot, she walked through the front door, calling out to her sister who was at the back of the house that she was just going to Fathima’s to study. She did not wait for her sister Fahima to say anything, let alone question her as to why she was suddenly so into her studies that she had to brave the monsoon to go to Fathima’s house. She felt terrible that she had to lie to her sister. Most of all she felt terrible she could not tell her sister exactly what she was doing. Amina had a big secret that she could not share with anyone and it had been eating away at her for almost 6 months now. Amina attended the Ashroffa all girls school in Mottuvil. She was a bright pupil and excelled in her studies. She made friends easily as she was one of those girls that always had a friendly smile and a friendly word for everyone. Her teachers loved her and sometimes she was teased by her classmates that she was the teacher’s pet! Amina had many friends in school. She was always helping someone with their homework, or sharing her notes with some of those who had attention issues while in class. Fathima was one such person. She had the attention span of an eight week old puppy and had trouble sitting in one place for more than 10 minutes at a time. As a result she was always in trouble with her teachers. Because of her friendship with Amina, she was at least able to keep up somewhat, with her studies and was not a total disaster during exam time. She and Amina were close, but Amina was unable to share her


secret with her dearest friend as well. In fact in the past 6 months Fathima’s studies had also suffered as Amina spent more and more time away from her. Fathima was getting more and more upset with Amina as her friend kept disappearing each day after school with any number of excuses about where she was going. Amina felt bad about lying to her friend, but she could do nothing about it. Six months ago Amina met Hafza. Amina thought she knew everyone in her school of 86 pupils, but here was someone who caught her eye, not because she was attractive (because she was) and not because she was boisterous or loud or anything else. It was her laid back demeanour and her kindness that caught Amina’s eye. She noticed Hafza, who was in a class below her, one afternoon as she was walking home from school. Hafza was feeding the stray dogs with part of her left over lunch. She noticed her several more times since that day and wandered how this girl could go anywhere close to these dirty creatures. The way she was brought up, dogs were dirty and if one so much as sniffed near her, she was sent immediately for a bath by her mother. “I wonder how many times she has to bathe after she keeps feeding these dirty dogs!” wandered Amina with a small shudder of disgust. One day she could not stand it anymore and she marched up to Hafza and said; “Aiyo! Why are you feeding these dirty creatures! Don’t you know they are unclean?” she said rather pretentiously. Hafza looked up from what she was doing and smiled at Amina. Amina was struck by the radiance of that smile and the deep dimple on Hafza’s left cheek. Hafza also had a naughty twinkle in her eye as she looked at Amina. “Dogs are God’s creatures too. They are not unclean. The lick themselves clean, like cats, all the time. They also love to play in the sea, so they don’t have ticks and they are washed clean by the salt water. In any case, it’s my business isn’t it?” she asked impudently. Amina was aghast at this and gave a nervous giggle. “I…I…g..g…guess so,” she said in return, quite taken back by Hafza’s protectiveness towards the dogs. One of the dogs licked Hafza and she gave it a playful pat on the rump. “Cheeee! You touched it!” exclaimed Amina, aghast at this brazen display of disregard for the teachings. Hafza just looked up at Amina and flashed her one of her brilliant smiles! “Don’t be silly! She is clean and she is my friend. They are all my friends. I love them all!” said Hafza, looking down lovingly at the 4 dogs around her. “Love the dogs? How can you love the dogs? How can they be your friends? They carry diseases and they…they….bite!” “No they don’t! Look!” she said and she hugged the smallest dog. The dog just wagged its tail and licked Hafza on her face. The look on Amina’s face said it all and Hafza just burst out laughing. “Look at your face! You look as if you have sucked on a raw veralu (olive)!” With that she whistled to ‘her’ dogs and ran down the lane towards the beach.


“What a strange creature,” thought Amina. “I should not stop and talk to her anymore.” She made up her mind. Each day after school, Amina would pass Hafza feeding ‘her’ dogs and studiously avoided conversation or even a look in Hafza’s direction. In any case that crazy dog girl always had this mocking smirk on her face and Amina was sure the girl was laughing at her behind her back. Well, she would not give her the time of day. This was indeed unusual, these feelings Amina was experienceing since she was never one to feel so vehemently about anyone, especially feelings of dislike and suspicion. After a week of this had passed, Amina was startled one day when Hafza called out to her. “So, are you going to ignore me every day?” she cheekily inquired of Amina. “Who is ignoring you? I just don’t like those dogs, that’s all!” Hafza left the dogs and came up to Amina. “What’s your name?” she inquired politely. “Amina.” “My name is Hafza. Please don’t be afraid of the dogs. They mean you no harm and they are so loving and loyal. You really must get to know them.” “My mother says they have diseases and they are dirty and they bite and I should not go near them!” “Don’t worry. I will not let them hurt you. And as I said before, they are very, very clean…they bathe more than you do! They are always swimming in the sea and playing with the waves! You should see them!” Hafza’s eyes sparkled as she spoke about her beloved dogs and Amina could not help being drawn to her. “So…you have names for these things?”

spend time with her dogs away from prying eyes and hurled insults. Amina did not hesitate and nodded yes, immediately. She so loved spending time with Hafza, although she did not really know why. Yes, Hafza was intelligent and had a vivid imagination. She would regale Amina with stories she had read in this magazine or the other, or this book or the other. Hafza’s father was a travelling salesman and he would always bring home books and magazines he would pick up for Hafza to improve her English. She had learned to read and write English at an early age so her story bank was quite full. Amina also loved the fact that Hafza appeared to be such a gentle creature even though she put on this front around others that she was tough and didn’t care what others thought about her. She noticed that most of the other school girls gave Hafza a wide birth and this made Amina more intrigued and Amina was drawn to Hafza like a moth to a flame. She was sure Hafza was as fascinated with her as she was with Hafza. “I can only wait till 3!” puffed Amina following Hafza who was half walking and half running. “My mother will kill me if I am late getting back home!” “Don’t worry; you will be back by 3. It’s really close by!” The dogs swirled around Hafza who laughed as she dashed in between them. It seemed they had played this game before! Soon they crossed the bridge between Mottuvil and Murugan Bay and Hafza ran down the straggly path on the Murugan Bay side of the bridge, past the little bay and into the thicket that fringed that area of the bay. They soon came to a small clearing ringed by large trees. A cool shade provided much needed shelter from the searing heat of the afternoon sun. They settled under the tree and Hafza handed Amina a bottle of water from her back pack. Amina drank thirstily until Hafza grabbed the bottle back, laughing. “Spare some for me and the ‘cars’!” She said laughingly. “Sorry! I was so thirsty from the walk or rather run. You go so fast it’s hard for me to keep up!”

“Yes…the smallest one is Maruti and the one over there….” Hafza pointed to the white dog with big black splotches all over his body “…..that one is Tata. The brown one there is Toyota. And this one….” pointing to the big brown male dog, “……is Hiace. He’s the biggest and their protector.”

“Yeah! You will get used to it eventually!”

“You’ve named them after cars……how strange!”

“Thanks,” said Hafza taking a big bite and handing it back to Amina. They chewed in silence enjoying the cool breeze. The dogs lay around them, tongues out, panting from the run.

“I love cars,” said Hafza with a shy smile. “One day I will drive a car!” “Don’t be silly! We will not be able to drive a car!” “I will one day and nobody is going to stop me!” Hafza looked determined and Amina was going to find out that Hafza was a very determined and very different young woman. Certainly, she was far from a traditional young Muslim girl, this was quite obvious. She even dressed differently and had her hair cut short and very rarely wore the veil of her school uniform - a Salwar Kameez - over her head. Whenever she was with her dogs, she would roll up her pants and throw aside her veil and she thought nothing of wading into the sea with the Maruti, Toyota, Hiace and Tata! Their friendship grew and Amina could think of nothing more she’d rather be doing than see Hafza after school each day. About a month passed and one day Hafza suggested they take a walk to her secret place. The place, she said, was special to her, where she got to

Amina rummaged in her bag and brought out a bun her mother had packed in her tiffin box. “Here,” she said handing it to Hafza. “Let’s share this.”

Hafza looked at Amina and smiled. She reached over and flicked a tiny morsel of bun from Amina’s chin. Amina laughed nervously and looked up into Hafza’s eyes. She was startled by what she saw in those eyes. She relaised that Hafza eyes spoke volumes but what they mainly said was that Hafza loved Amina so very much. Amina returned Hafza’s gaze with the same intensity and the same feelings of love. Hafza reached out again and this time she gently flicked back stray tendrils of hair that had crept across Amina’s forehead. Her touch was thrilling, and yet so loving, and Amina blushed with a sudden surge of physical longing. She stopped Hafza’s hand as it was coming down from her face and she held it to her cheek, tenderly. Hafza moved closer to Amina then and put her other arm around Amina’s shoulder. She held Amina like this for what seemed a long



time and Amina snuggled into Hafza’s shoulder as if this was just the natural thing to do. “I could stay this way forever!” Sighed Amina. “But I had better be going before my mother gives me a whack for being late!” “Oh! I suppose we should go, but not before this,” and with that Hafza turned her head and kissed Amina on the lips! Amina was startled but she did not move away either. She just melted into Hafza, running her fingers through Hafza’s hair while kissing her back with ferocity. They held the kiss for a long while and finally broke away. “Amina, I love you so much!” Hafza looked deep into Amina’s eyes. “I love you too Hafza. I want to be with you all the time.” Amina replied. She kissed Hafza quickly this time and rose from the ground reluctantly. “But I do have to go now my love.” “Yes. Yes, of course. Let’s go.” They picked up their belongings and Hafza whistled for the dogs. They walked back hand in hand until they came close to the bridge then they reluctantly let go of each other. Hafza walked Amina back to where they had met earlier and they said goodbye to each other, planning to meet again the next day. The days just melted away. Each afternoon Amina would meet Hafza in their secret place (it had become theirs now!) and they would spend hours just talking and holding each other. They kissed for what seemed hours at a time only coming up for air because the tightness in their chest was not caused only by the lack of oxygen! When they were not with each other they wrote reams – letters, poetry – all speaking of the wonderful love they had for each other and how time seemed to stand still and move slower than Mr. Hamid’s ox when they were not with each other. They looked forward to the time, the precious little time they spent with each other and wished it could be a lifetime. They spoke of getting a house together and finding jobs to support themselves. They spoke about running away from Mottuvil to someplace where nobody would know them. Somehow this love, although amazing and precious was taboo. They knew this. Although not yet 18 (Amina was 17 and Hafza was 16) they knew that people would view them as freaks, as abominations. They knew from Friday prayer classes that two girls sharing a love like this was strictly forbidden and they were fearful of being caught. Although Hafza’s parents were a lot more liberal than Amina’s, they too would draw the line at this, of this she was sure. So they planned to run away and began collecting their pocket money to aid them in their escape. Both girls soon started odd jobs in the neighbourhood to earn more money. The neighbours viewed this as a good thing. “My look aney!” Sithy Uma was heard to say. “How nice this Feroza’s daughter is. She is trying to earn money to buy her parent’s a gift for their anniversary. What a thoughtful child! But don’t tell anyone aney, it’s a surprise!” But of course before long the entire village knew about it. It was also strange that Hafza too was doing odd jobs to buy a gift for her father’s birthday around the same time! Both sets of parents heard about it of course. Sithy Uma was not known to be able to keep a secret at any given time. They smiled indulgently and felt their children were a true blessing.


The plan was simple. They would meet at their secret place and at 5pm when the call to prayer came and the town was empty, they would sneak away to the nearest bus stop which was 3 kilometers inland. There they would take a bus to another town close to the hill country where Hafza had a friend who had moved there the previous year. Hafza was sure that Shameena would keep the two of them for a few days on the pretext that they were on holiday and they would then figure out what to do after this. Amina ran through the pouring rain, her carry all bag grasped firmly in her one hand, her umbrella a futile attempt to ward off the sheets of monsoon rain. She was forced to abandon the pathetic little umbrella which had turned inside out during a particularly heavy gust of wind and now lay like a dead hermit crab on the side of the road. She was soaked when she got to the secret place and was immediately ecstatic to see Hafza pacing up and down, soaked to the bone. She ran into Hafza’s arms and they held each other and cried with joy. They were actually going to do it! Each had harboured doubts about the other showing up and this was fortunately dashed aside upon seeing each other. Hafza quickly pulled Amina underneath the biggest tree where the voluminous leaves sheltered them from the rain. The dogs were strangely silent and unanimated as they all huddled together to await the appointed time. “I’m so scared Huffie!” Amina was shivering. It was not just the cold of the rain soaked clothes but she was suddenly feeling very vulnerable and afraid. She was confused as well, wondering if she was doing the right thing by running away with Hafza. “I know baba…I know….I am scared too. If you don’t want to do this, let’s not. We can always go back now. But I am not sure how we can continue seeing each other without eventually being caught.” “No, No my love. I want to be with you and only you. I can’t go back and live a lie. I want the whole world to know I love you with all my heart and soul. But I am sad I cannot tell my parents and my sister. What will they think? Will they send the police to look for us?” “You wrote them the note didn’t you?” “Yes, I did. I said I was going to stay with Fathima for the night. I also told my sister that I was going to Fathima’s to study. But what if they go to Fathima’s looking for me? They will know I am not there.” “By that time my sweetness, we will be on the bus. Don’t worry. It will be ok.” “You are right Huffie. Of course it will. As long as I am with you nothing can happen right?” “Yes darling…I will take care of you.” It was strange that even though Amina was the older girl, it was always Hafza who was the protective one. Hafza looked at the cheap Titan watch she had strapped to her wrist. It was gift from her doting father when she scored 100 out of 100 in her English exam. It was almost 5pm. “We must get ready to go now, baba.” She gently loosened Amina’s arms from around her waist and stood up. “Let’s go.” She turned to her dogs, and Amina noticed tears pouring down Hafza’s face. Hafza hugged the animals to her and whispered to them. Words of endearment, words of encouragement, only Hafza


and the dogs knew. Amina could only stand helpless as she watched Hafza’s heart break to leave her beloved friends. Only then did she truly realize the extent of Hafza’s love for her. All this while, it seemed as if she was in a sweet dream. This was the real thing. Her heart swelled with love for Hafza and she vowed that no matter what happened she would fight to keep this woman close to her forever. She would fight to protect Hafza and their relationship come what may. Part II The next few days were a whirlwind. They had managed to flee Mottuvil and climb aboard a bus bound for Badulla. Once there they had made their way to Shameena’s house. Shameena was very surprised to see them and also a tad suspicious but her joy at seeing Hafza overcame her suspicions and she welcomed them to her house with open arms. “What a pleasant surprise Hafza! What are you and Amina doing here?” said Shameena bringing out the biscuits and boiling water for tea. “We thought we’d have an adventure and travel. We discovered we both really wanted to see some places other than Mottuvil and Murugan Bay. So here we are! I hope you don’t mind, but can we stay with you for awhile?” Hafza kept her fingers crossed under the dining table while her eyes pleaded with Shameena who was bustling about the kitchen preparing the tea. “Of course you can. You know you are welcome here.” The two young girls stayed with Shameena and her husband Hussein for almost 4 full days and they were the happiest they had ever been. They shared a small little room at the back of the house. During the day they helped Shameena with household chores and after lunch they would explore Badulla and just spend idyllic hours in each other’s company. On the fourth day, just before evening prayers, there was a knock on Shameena’s door. It was something they had been secretly dreading all these days. Although they never voiced it, they had both known that it was a matter of time till their families found them. In fact just the day before, they had discussed what they should do and they had decided that it was time to move away from Shameena and Hussein and find other accommodations in a different town. This plan was dashed to pieces when Hafza’s father and mother stood at the doorway. They both looked extremely unhappy. The first thing that crossed Hafza’s mind was “How did they know we were here?” and she looked directly at Shameena who stared sheepishly at the floor. It transpired that Shameena being suspicious of Hafza suddenly turning up at her doorstep with Amina in tow, had called Mr. Fazil (Hafza’s father) to say she was taking good care of Hafza and her friend and that if he needed to speak with Hafza at anytime, he could call her house. Mr. and Mrs. Fazil were on the first bus to Badulla to bring back their daughter. They had been worried sick about Hafza and things took an even more of a drmatic turn when they discovered some of the letters Amina had written Hafza, which Hafza had accidently dropped in her bedroom in her haste to run way with Amina. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Faisool, Amina’s parents had discovered the next day, that Amina was not at Fathima’s and a search of the whole

village turned up nothing, specifically no Amina. They were worried that something untoward had happened and had gone straight to their Mullah at the local mosque to ask what they should do. Mr. and Mrs. Fazil having discovered their daughter’s ‘terrible’ secret had also rushed to the same Mullah and poured out their problems as well. Soon the Mullah put two and two together and realized the two girls were in fact with each other and were also engaged in a shockingly illicit affair which was a mortal sin in his eyes. There was only one punishment for this and he advised the two sets of parents that Mr. and Mrs. Fazil should go to Badulla and fetch both girls. When they were safely in Mottuvil the girls were to be brought directly to him. He would take care of driving the madness that had overtaken these two. Surely they were possessed by Shaitan and needed to be exorcised immediately. He was also secretly licking his lips in anticipation of humiliating and inflicting punishment on two nubile young women. He could hardly contain his excitement! It was the worst day of their young lives. Hazfa and Amina were unceromniously evicted from Shameena and Hussein’s house and brought back to Mottuvil. In the bus ride back, they were forbidden to sit next to each other and Mr. and Mrs. Fazil made sure the two girls had no chance to speak with each other or for that matter even look at each other. Mrs. Fazil sat with Amina two rows behind Mr. Fazil and Hafza. Tired and scared, the two girls were herded to the mosque the minute they alighted from the bus. The next few hours were their worst nightmare. Mr. and Mrs. Faisool were waiting at the mosque for their daughter. Mrs. Faisool immediately started wailing and keening when she saw Amina thanking Allah for bringing her daughter back safe but at the same time shrieking that Amina was possessed and the madness had struck her for committing such a sinful act. Soon a crowd gathered at the mosque, all curious to know what the commotion was about. Amina was dragged by her hair and slapped by her mother in front of all the villagers. She was then handed over to the Mullah who commanded two of the villagers to hold Amina down while he began to flog her with a rattan cane. Hafza was being held firmly by her parents and was forced to watch as Amina was thrashed by the Mullah. Her screams of pain and humiliatin were like daggers, tearing and cutting into Hafza’s heart. Tears poured down her face as she screamed to be let go. She struggled and at one point she escaped her parent’s clutches and she rushed towards the Mullah and kicked him in the shins really hard. The mullah howled with rage and pain and flicked her away with his free hand, like he was swatting a fly. Mr. and Mrs. Fazil rushed to the sprawling Hafza and grabbed her again and this time held her hard while the mullah continued to flog Amina. Soon Amina’s shalwar was practically stripped off her back and the red welts that appeared on her skin began to bleed with the repeated beating. Eventually the mullah stopped his beating when Amina collapsed on the ground. Mr. and Mrs. Faisool rushed to their daughter and helped her up. “Shaitan has left this body now! He has gone. Take her home and keep her locked in her room reading the Koran until she learns the error of her ways!” The mullah roared to the crowd and Amina’s parents. He then turned to Mr. and Mrs. Fazil and screeched “bring the sinful girl here. Bring her to me so that I can remove shaitan from her as well!” He grabbed Hafza and threw her to the two men he had assigned to hold down the girls. He started beating her even harder than he beat Amina, partially because he was filled with blood lust now and



partially because he was humiliated that Hafza had kicked him. The beating did not stop for almost 15 minutes, until Hafza finally went down, unconscious from the pain, not only from her bleeding back but also from her bleeding lip which she had bitten in her determination to keep silent while being flogged. This she was successful in doing, which had incensed the mullah even more. Mrs. Fazil had turned her head from the horrifying scene. She could not bear to see her daughter like this. Mr. Fazil had tears streaming down his face as he went to gather his daughter and carry her home. In a way, he was proud of Hafza. Proud that she had the strength to bear the beating without so much as a whimper. He loved his daughter so!

enough, she was given in marriage to a man from Madakala. A strict fundamentalist Muslim who had a cruel streak in him. He would beat Amina often. Hafza was sent abroad to Amman to work as a house maid in a rich Jordanian house. This was probably the better situation of the two but Hafza was never the same again. She pined for Amina. She blamed herself for what happened to the two of them and vowed that one day she would seek Amina out, no matter where she was, and do something to make amends. AARS

Amina and Hafza never saw each other again. When Amina was well

Gay, bisexual men who have social anxiety tend to engage in risky sex A Ryerson University HIV researcher has found a link between social anxiety and unsafe sexual activities among gay and bisexual men, some of whom are HIV-positive. Dr. Trevor Hart, director of the HIV Prevention Lab at Ryerson University, says that his early findings from a four-year study indicate that men who are afraid of being judged in social situations are more likely to engage in unprotected sex with other males. Even more alarming, he found that the higher the level of social anxiety, the greater the chances of HIV-positive men taking part in unsafe sex. "We suspect that socially anxious men who are HIV-positive are concerned that if they insisted on condom use, their partners may not want to have sex with them. It may also force these men to talk about their HIV status," says Dr. Hart. "In an age where there is still a lot of stigma against people living with HIV, it is understandable that HIV-positive men might have concerns about being judged about their HIV status." During the study, the Sexual Health and Attitudes Research Project (SHARP), the psychology professor and his research team interviewed 300 men, 18 years and older, from the Greater Toronto Area. These men were asked about social anxiety they may have experienced, psychological distress, negative childhood experiences such as being abused by others and their sexual behaviour. In addition to the SHARP study, Dr. Hart presented several research projects in November at conferences in Toronto and in New York City. One of the research findings presented found that among young adults living in Pune, India, those who were less confident in urging their partners to use a condom were more likely to have had risky sex in the past six months. Whether Dr. Hart's studies are on HIV-positive men or adults living in India, his common goal is HIV prevention. "Our research is increasingly moving in the direction of creating and evaluating counselling interventions that can reduce the spread of HIV among higher risk populations," says Dr. Hart. A five-year Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Salary Award in HIV Research is enabling Dr. Hart and his 12-member research team to focus their attention on three key areas: * Identifying risk factors in unprotected sex among adolescents and adults who are at risk of contracting or transmitting HIV; * Examining the link between physical health and psychological outcomes among people living with HIV; * Testing behavioural interventions to promote sexual health and to reduce sexual risk outcomes among people at high risk of contracting HIV and people living with HIV. Other research projects underway include examining factors that influence HIV-positive women's decision about whether or not to become pregnant and HIV transmission among youth with disabilities. Dr. Hart and his research team is also exploring what makes high risk groups engage in harmful sexual behaviour, such as homeless youth and youth who have with a history in the youth justice system. The findings from Dr. Hart's SHARP study, funded by the CIHR, are expected to be published within the next two years. Provided by Ryerson University

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fuu m¾fhaIKhka w;r;=r" , fi!LHh iy wdl,am ms<sn| m¾fhaIK wdh;kfha ufkda úµdj ms<sn| uydpd¾hjrhd iy Tyqf.a lKavdhï úiska f.%Ü fgdfrkafgda m%foaYfha jhi 18 by< mqoa.,hka 300 fofkl= mÍlaIKhlg Ndckh lrk ,È' fuu msßñkaf.ka ;u Ôú;hg iïnkaOj iudc ldkaidj" udkisl fodïki" <udúfha , wmyrkh iy fjk;a Tjqkaf.a , yeisÍï ms<sn|j m%Yak lrk ,È' fuu wOHhkhka yd iïnkaOj ;jÿrg;a wdpd¾h ydÜ úiska fkdjeïn¾ ui ksõfhda¾la iy fgdfrdkafgda k.r j, fuu lreK yd iïnkaO fndfyda iïuka;%K iy idlÉPd j,g iyNd.S jk ,È' fuys§ tla;rd m¾fhaIKhl§ y÷kd.;a mßÈ bkaÈhdfõ mqfka k.rfha mÈxÑ ;u iylrejkag wdrlaIs; fldmq me,| .ekSug hehs mejiSug ;rï wd;au úYajdihla ke;s ;reK msßñka udi yh ;=,§ fndfyda úg wkdrlaIs; , lghq;= j, fh§ we;' wdpd¾h ydÜf.a wOHhkhka ;=< bkaÈhdfõ Ôj;a jk tÉ whs ù wdidÈ; jeäysá msßñka iy jeäysáhka jqj;a" Tyqf.a fmdÿ wfmalaIdj jkafka tÉ whs ù ksjdrKhhs' WmfoaYkhka f.dvke.Sï iy we.hSï fukau ueÈy;aùï j,g wmf.a m¾fhaIKhka uQ,slju b,lal jk nj;a th wjodkï iys; mqoa.,hka w;r tÉ whs ù wdidokh j¾Okh ùu je<elaùug WmldÍ jk nj;a wdpd¾h ydÜ mjihs' jir myla mqrd lefkaähdkq fi!LHh m¾fhaIK wdh;khla jk ^CIHR wdpd¾h ydÜ we;=¿ ;j;a idudðlhka 12 fofkl=g my; i|yka lrekq ;=kla wrNhd m¾fhaIK lsÍug wruqo,a imhkq ,nhs'& 1' tÉ whs ù wdidÈ; iy wdidok wjodkug ,laùug yels jeäysáhka w;r wkdrlaIs; , iïnkaOlï iy tÉ whs ù wdidokhka j¾Okh ùug we;s wjodkï lrekq iïnkaOj m¾fhaIK lsÍug wjirh ,nd§u' 2' tÉ whs ù iu. Ôj;a jk mqoa.,hka YdÍßl fi!LHh iy tys udkisl m%;sM,hka w;r iy iïnkaO;djh ms<sn|j m¾fhaIKhka lsÍu' 3' tÉ whs ù iu. Ôj;a jk mqoa.,hka iy tÉ whs ù fndalsÍug jvd;a yelshdjla we;s mqoa.,hka w;r Tjqkaf.a YdÍßl fi!LHh k.disgqùug iy wkdrlaIs; , lghq;= wju lsÍu' tfukau ;jÿrg;a lrf.k hkq ,nk m¾fhaIKhka jkafka" tÉ whs ù wdidÈ; ldka;djkaf.a .eí.ekSï ms<sn|j ;SrKhka lsÍu iy wdndê; ;reK fldgia w;r tÉ whs ù iïfm%aIKh ùu ms<sn|jhs' wdpd¾h ydÜ we;=¿ msßif.a ;j;a m¾fhaIKhla jkafka" ksjdi iy mjq,a wysñ fukau fmr jerÈ j,g iïnkaO jQ jvd;a wjodkug ,laúh yels ;reK fldgia w;r isÿjk ysxidldÍ , lghq;=o fõ' ^CIHR úiska wruqo,a imhkq ,enqjd jQ wdpd¾h ydÜf.a wOHhkhka j, m%;sM, jir folla we;=,; m%ldYhg m;alsÍug kshñ;j we;'&

Miz tpUk;Gk; Mz; kw;Wk; ,U ghyiuAk; tpUk;Gk; Mz; vd;NghH r%f mr;rj;jpd; fhuzkhf Mgj;jhd ghypaypy; <LgLfpwhHfs;. brk;gH 01> 2009 nuNaHrd; gy;fiyf;fof HIV gw;wpa Ma;thsu; xUtu;; HIV njhw;Ws;s Miz tpUk;Gk; Mz;> ,UghyhiuAk; tpUk;Gk; Mz; ,tu;fSf;Fs; ,Uf;Fk; r%f mr;rj;jhy; ghJfhg;gw;w ghypaypy; <LgLfpwhu;fs; vd;gijf; fz;Lgpbj;jhu;. nuNau;rd; gy;fiyf;fofj;jpd; HIV jLg;Gj; jpl;lj;jpd; gzpg;ghsu; nlhf;lu; nlNuyu; `hl; nrhy;fpwhu;>; “fle;j ehd;F tUl Ma;T: Miz tpUk;Gk; Mz;fs; r%f epiyik> r%fg; ghu;it fhuzkhf ghJfhg;gw;w ghypaypy; <LgLfpwhu;fs;. mNjNghd;W r%fk; gw;wpa mr;repiyahdJ HIV njhw;Ws;s xUtiu ghJfhg;gw;w ghypay; cwTf;F mjpfk; ,l;Lr; nry;fpwJ.” “ehq;fs; ek;GfpNwhk;> HIV njhw;Ws;s r%f mr;rj;jpw;Fs;shdtu;fs;; MZiw mzptpf;FkhW Ntz;bdhy; mtu;fspd; Jiztu;fs; mjid tpUk;gtpy;iy. ,g;gbahdtu;fs; mtu;fspd; HIV njhw;W gw;wp NgRk;gbahd ,f;fl;lhd epiyf;F cs;shf;Ffpwhu;fs;. fhyhfhykhf HIV njhw;Ws;stu;fis r%fk; epe;ijAlNd ghu;ff ; pwJ. vdNt HIV njhw;Ws;s xUtu; r%fj; jPug ; G ; vd;d vd;gijj; jdJ ftdj;jpw;Fs; mjpfk; vLj;Jf; nfhs;fpwhu;.” SHARP vd;w jpl;lj;jpd; cstpay; NguhrpupaUk; mtuJ FOf;fSk; fdlhtpd; nlhuhd;Nlh gpuNjrj;jpy; cs;s 300 Mz;fsplk; (18 taJk;> mjw;F Nkw;gl;NlhUk;) r%f mr;repiy gw;wp tpdtg;gl;lNghJ mtu;fs; jq;fspd; ghypay; elj;ij> rpWtajpy; ele;j ghypay; J\;gpuNahfk; vd;gtw;why; kd mOj;jq;fSf;F cs;shf;fg;gl;bUf;fpwhu;fs; vd;gijf; fhl;bajhf mtu; Fwpg;gpLfpwhu;. Nkyjpfkhf SHARP vd;w jpl;lj;jpd; Ma;T ,e;jpahtpd; GNd efuj;jpy; cs;s HIV njhw;Ws;stu;fs; jkJ JiztUld; ghypay; cwtpy; <LgLk; NghJ MZiw gad;gLj;Jjy; njhlu;gpy; Fiwe;j jd;dk;gpf;if nfhz;bUg;gjhy; mg;gpuNjrk; HIV njhw;W njhlu;gpy; Mgj;jhd epiyapy; cs;sJ. me;j epWtdj;jpd; jpl;l ; k; ,e;jpahtpidg; nghWj;jtiu VNjh xU topKiwapy; HIV njhw;W mjpfupg;gijj; jLg;gjhFk;. nlhf;lu; `hu;lL ; f;F fNdba Rfhjhu Ma;T epWtdk; tpUJ xd;wpid mtUf;Fk;> mtuJ FOTf;Fk; toq;fpdu;. mf;FOthdJ %d;W Kf;fpakhd tplaj;ij jkJ fUj;jpw; nfhz;bUf;fpd;wJ. • ,sk; guhaj;jpdu;> taJf;F te;Njhu; vd;Nghupy; HIV njhw;iw Vw;gLj;jf;$batu;fs; ghJfhg;gw;w ghypay; cwtpy; <LgLtjhy; ,Uf;Fk; mghafukhd fhuzpfs;. • HIV njhw;Ws;stu;fs; mtu;fspd; cly; MNuhf;fpaj;jpw;Fk;> cstpay; ntspg;ghl;bw;Fkpilapyhd njhlu;G gw;wp guPlr ; pj;jik. • HIV njhw;Ws;stu;fSf;F kj;jpapy; ghypay; Rfhjhuj;ij Nkk;gLj;jy;> ghypay; mghaj;ijf; Fiwj;jy; njhlu;ghf Nkw;nfhs;sg;gl;l elj;ij njhlu;ghd guPlr ; pg;G. HIV njhw;Wf;Fs;shd ngz;fs; ehq;fs; fUTUtjh? ,y;iyah? mj;NjhL ,isQu;fs; kw;Wk; CdKw;NwhUf;F kj;jpapy; guTif Nghd;wtw;wpy; cs;s fhuzpfs; njhlu;gpy; Ma;Tfs; ele;J nfhz;bUf;fpd;wd. nlhf;lu; `hu;lL ; k; mtuJ FOTk; tPlw;w ,isQu;fs; kj;jpapy; vt;thwhd ghypay; FO elj;ij mtu;fis mghafukhd epiyf;F ,l;Lr;nry;fpd;wJ vd;w Njliy mtu;fs; njhlu;eJ ; nfhz;bUf;fpwhu;fs;. nlhf;lu; `hu;lb ; d; SHARP apd; Ma;tpid vjpu;tUk; ,uz;L tUlq;fSf;Fs; ntspapl CIHR jPuk ; hdpj;Js;sJ. 26



Open House BBQ On the 28th of February EQUAL GROUND opened its doors once again for our community to socialize in our safe space. The theme was decided after the great reviews from our “Christmas Party” held in December 2009. The community suggested a BBQ this time, and we planned it accordingly. Around 40 people attended. The BBQ was done by the Staff of EQUAL GROUND who got together and prepared everything from the fruit punch to Hot wings, Hot dogs, Pasta, Jacket Potatoes and salad. Those present had a great time mingling and meeting new and old friends.

Open House Hopper Nite The hopper evening was also suggested by our community and was held on the 29th of March 2010. This event was also a fund raiser for the upcoming Colombo Pride production of “Leave a light on for me” - a Sinhala theatre performance to be staged on the 10th of July. We had our own “Appa Ammé” preparing the Hoppers, hot and fresh for all those who attended the social. There was entertainment segments performed by our very own Crossdressers from the “Akasa Kusum” Group, and our guests were entertained throughout the evening. Ms. Rosanna FlamerCaldera spoke at this event acknowledging the cast and crew who were involved in the play. She also invited those present to come and enjoy the play with us on the 10th of July. The social continued with our guests joining in with the fun and dancing.


OTHER ARTICLES EQUAL GROUND marked the International Day Against Transphobia and Homophobia (IDAHO) on the 17th May 2010 by raising the Rainbow Flag at the LGBTIQ Safe Space in Colombo. Although a major storm ripped through Colombo leaving flooded streets and houses in its wake, the Rainbow Flag was hoisted with Pride. The IDAHO Campaign this year included newspaper advertisements in the 3 leading dailies of Sri Lanka (English, Sinhala and Tamil) as well as a request to several Embassies, NGO’s and Individuals to join EQUAL GROUND this year in raising the Rainbow Flag for IDAHO. The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the British High Commission, the Australian High Commission, the Embassy of Switzerland and the EU Delegation all joined in solidarity. In addition, OXFAM Australia, Center for Policy Alternatives and Women Defining Peace also flew Rainbow Flags on the 17th. A Facebook campaign also urged everyone to change their profile pictures to show a rainbow flag. We acknowledge everyone who joined us this year to commemorate IDAHO and hope that next year we will have an even larger group of foreign missions, NGO’s and individuals joining us in solidarity.


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COMMEMORATING 100 YEARS OF INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY Since the early 1900s there was great unrest amongst women who felt they were being marginalized due to their gender, they felt strongly about the inequality and a few became extremely vocal advocates for their cause. In 1908, over 15,000 women marched the streets of New York demanding that they be treated like their male counterparts- with equal treatment, namely shorter working hours, a fair pay and the ability to vote. Until 1913, Women celebrated National Women’s Day on the last Sunday of February, and in 1910 the 2nd International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Clara Zetkin, leader of the Womens Office of the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed that a Womens Day be observed in every country demanding their rights. Zetkin’s idea was unanimously approved by women represented from over 17 countries ranging from union activists to women’s organizations. International Women’s Day was first commemorated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19th of March. Women used this day to rally support particularly related to working rights of women, the right to be trained, hold public office, vote and most importantly end the discrimination towards them. Due to circumstances surrounding World War I IWD was transferred to the 8th March in 1913. Since the end of World War I International Women’s Day has been celebrated every year to greater and greater heights, drawing due attention of the need to celebrate women and not diminish them. The United Nations declared 1975 International Womens Year and the 8th of March has been celebrated by women’s organizations holding large scale events, conferences and campaigns around this time. In the west International Women’s Day is a celebration, token gifts are offered to mothers, sisters, grandmother’s and aunts whilst men takeover traditional chores undertaken by women daily in addition to their work. In Asia, countries akin to Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan thousands of women march the streets demanding Open House their rights and BBQ have continuously been inferred these rights. However, in Sri Lanka International Women’s Day is different, significantly different. Women in Sri Lanka continue to be silenced, they continue to be victims of violence and have little or no opportunity to be heard. In the event that they do, political agendas dominate almost every public fora. Since the early 80s no real shift has been observed within the most vulnerable groups of women in Sri Lanka, namely the migrant workers, free trade zone workers, plantation workers and those living in post conflict and tsunami affected areas. This year the United Nation’s global theme for International Women’s Day was “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All.” The International Womens Day organizing committee in Sri Lanka in consultation with several women’s organizations in

Sri Lanka themed 2010s women’s day to have several themes, firstly, to increase women’s participation in politics, secondly to demand democracy and finally to demand a free media. At the People’s Rally held at the J.R Jayawardena Centre, several political candidates regardless of party politics agreed in solidarity that they would promote and nurture women’s political participation. Several candidates pledged to eventually bring up the present meager 5% representation of women in Parliament to 30% akin to India. Presently, female participation is validated under passing or family connection whilst the rural women, who in fact campaigns door to door and leads grassroots level campaigns and rallies, are not welcome and are subjected to harassment, character assassination, threats and even death by their “honorable” male counterparts. The need for women to be at the forefront of decision making was one of the main themes of the People’s rally. It was vehemently asserted that women in the rural areas who play significant roles in electing present leaders should be allowed a free and fair accession into politics to champion women’s rights. It is arguable why we as Sri Lankan women yet need to assert rights on a daily basis. Sri Lanka is not without female role models. The world’s first female prime minister was Sri Lankan, Sri Lanka remains one of the only countries in the world to elect a female president, a now gold medalist Susanthika Jayasinghe ran Sri Lanka proud at more than one Olympics and Malini Fonseka was named CNN s top 50 Asian Actresses. However, the reality is they are exceptions rather than the rule. It is asserted that whilst Sri Lanka yet remains a country where a patriarchal structure is at the core of its society. EQUAL GROUND annually holds WOMEN ON TOP to commemorate International Women’s Day. An awards ceremony celebrating Sri Lankan She-roes who have significantly contributed to Sri Lankan society prelude musical performances , dance routines, drag performances and finally a party until dawn exclusively for women. Previous awardees include Rosy Senanayake, Anoma Jinadari, Justice Shiranee Thilakawardana , Dharshi Keerthisena, Irangani Serasinghe, Princey Mangalika and Kumudini Samuel to name a few. On the eve of International Womens Day 2010, EQUAL GROUND hosted a tea party at the Colombo Safe Space. Over 50 women from all walks of life attended this evening of solidarity and entertainment celebrating their womanhood. The gaily decorated pink and white garden displayed EQUAL GROUNDs hard hitting media campaign posters entitled “Aren’t we all Sri Lankan Women: Giving the Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women of Sri Lanka a voice.” The advertisements consisted of typically Sri Lankan women from varying religions and ethnicities interspersed with stereotypical images of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. Prominently featured were schoolgirls, combatants, teachers, plantation workers and dancers. Each woman has her own unique sexuality or gender identity obviously undistinguishable by appearance. The campaign appeared in 3 leading Sri Lankan newspapers The Daily Mirror (English), Lankadeepa (Sinhala) and Metro news (Tamil) on Monday 8th March 2010 and also on the EQUAL GROUND website. Posters were distributed to partner organisations and will be used throughout the year. EQUAL GROUND is committed to the Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women of Sri Lanka. It is our particular intention to reach out to the lesbian and bisexual women of the North Central Province, Central Province, Sothern Province and Western Province in 2010 with our pilot project entitled Addressing Violence faced by rural Lesbian and Bisexual women in Sri Lanka. Aarthi Dharmadasa



Animals, too, could be happy and gay As I learn more about the beings of this planet, I realize there is no difference between the human and the insect. The only difference is perhaps our destructiveness. Here is another example of our similarity. While countries waste time on making laws on ridiculous issues like abortion and homosexuality, the rest of the animal world takes these issues as natural. University of Oslo’s Natural History Museum in Norway has put up a first-ever museum display "Against Nature?," which presents 51 species of animals exhibiting homosexuality. Homosexuality is defined as sex between two or more members of the same sex in the same species. Dragonflies, spiders, crabs, shellfish, gut worms, bats, whales and dolphins far from being unnatural, homosexuality is a normal part of the animal world. "Homosexuality" and "heterosexuality" are terms defined by human societies. These boundaries are invisible in the animal kingdom. Homosexual and bisexual animals, range from mountain gorillas to cats, dogs and guinea pigs. The animal kingdom rejoices in all kinds of lifestyles. Studies of animal homosexuality are centuries old. In 1896, French entomologist Henri Gadeau de Kerville published a drawing of two male scarab beetles copulating. In the early 1900s, investigators described homosexual behaviour in baboons, salmon, garter snakes and gentoo penguins. In 1914 Gilbert Hamilton reported in the Journal of Animal Behaviour that same-sex behaviour in Japanese macaques and baboons occurred largely as a way of making peace with would-be foes. He wrote "homosexual alliances between mature and immature males insure the assistance of an adult defender in the event of an attack. "How similar to the "insurance" bonding of humans in jail! In 1999 Bruce Bagemihl, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin, published a book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. Bagemihl found that homosexuality had been documented in 1,500 species. The earliest mention of animal homosexuality probably came 2,300 years ago when Aristotle described two female hyenas cavorting with each other. Not only does homosexual behaviour exist in nearly every species (as demonstrated by thousands of studies beginning with Konrad Lorenz, the father of modern zoology) but as one goes up the evolutionary ladder from insects to humans, homosexual activity increases in frequency. Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo in Manhattan are inseparable. They entwine their necks, vocalize to each other, they have sex. When offered female companionship, they have adamantly refused. The females aren’t interested in them, either. At one time, the two were so desperate to incubate an egg together that they put a rock in their nest and sat on it, keeping it warm with their abdomens. Finally, the keeper gave them a fertile egg to hatch. A chick, Tango, was born. They raised Tango, keeping her warm and feeding her until she could go out into the world on her own. A pair of gay vultures at the Jerusalem Zoo have shown the world


just how caring gay adoptive parents can be. Israeli zoologist Shmuel Yidov slipped a day-old vulture chick into their nest. The two fathers reared the baby. They shaded him, brought him water from a pond, fed him, stopped him falling from the nest. Biology professor Joan Roughgarden at Stanford University, in her book "Evolution’s Rainbow" says, mating isn’t only about multiplying. Like humans, animals have sex just for fun or love or to cement their social bonds. Some female grizzly bears form partnerships, travel together, defend each other, raise cubs together and putting off hibernation in an attempt to stay together longer. Scientists have found homosexual behaviour throughout the animal world. Same sex pairs of animals kiss and caress each other with obvious tenderness. Male pairs and female pairs form long-lasting pair-bonds and even fight off potential opposite sex partners when they appear. Members of the pair show distress at being separated from their partners and joy when reunited. Even when they lose their same sex partner, white-fronted Amazon parrots will not revert. So will gay Long-eared hedgehogs, Stellar’s sea eagles and barn owls. Swans are the symbols of eternal romantic love. But one fifth of the couples are all male or all female. Male couples mate with a female just to have a baby. Once she lays the egg, they chase her away, hatch the egg, and raise a family on their own. Sometimes they steal the eggs and become model parents. Male flamingos and other birds will have one-night stands with females to produce eggs, then chase off the mother and rear the offspring with another male. 12% of roseate tern couples are female-female pairs who fertilize their eggs through a quick fling with males, and then remain faithful to each other for years. Five percent of geese and duck couples do the same. Single females will lay eggs in a homosexual pair’s nest. In a colony of black-headed gulls, every tenth pair is lesbian. 15 percent of female western gulls are gay. They woo each other with gifts of food and form bonds that last for years. They build joint nests. Occasionally, one or both females will mate with males, but they always raise their young together. Two percent of male ostriches ignore females and court males with a dance that involves running toward the chosen partner, skidding to a stop in front of him, pirouetting, crouching, rocking, fluffing feathers, puffing their throats and twisting their necks like a corkscrew. Male giraffes spend most of their time in bachelor groups, where they entwine necks and rub against each other for hours at a time. These "necking" sessions often culminate in mounting. Homosexuality is common among young male dolphin calves. According to researchers, since male-male cooperation is extremely important for adult survival, the homosexual behaviour of the young calves could be aimed at establishing lifelong bonds. Male walruses, often form homosexual pair bonds and have sex with each other outside of the breeding season, but will revert to a heterosexual pattern during the normal breeding season. Male big horn sheep live in "homosexual societies." If a male sheep chooses to not have gay sex, he becomes a social outcast ! The male and female bighorn sheep unite during the rutting season, but the


rest of the year the males stick together. The more social the species, the more likely it is to engage in homosexual activity, the exhibition argues. "Many social animals have complex social systems where individuals seek out allies for help and protection. Sex is an important way of strengthening the alliance." In fact, advanced animal communities, which require communal bonds in order to function are more likely to have homosexuality intermixed with heterosexuality. Japanese Macaque society revolves around females, who dominate the group. Males come and go. To help maintain the necessary social networks, female macaques are lesbian. These friendly copulations form the bedrock of macaque society, preventing unnecessary violence and aggression. In fact females will choose to mate with another female, as opposed to a male, 92.5% of the time. Bonobos, dwarf chimpanzees, engage in sexual behaviour to ease social tensions and avoid conflict. For instance, if two bonobos approach a box thrown into their enclosure, they will mount each other before playing with the box. Such situations lead to squabbles in most other species. But bonobos use sex to diffuse tension. In Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, primatologist Frans de Waal writes that he has observed hundreds of such incidents, suggesting that these homosexual acts may be a general peacekeeping strategy. "The more homosexuality, the more peaceful the species," asserts Petter Böckman of the University of Oslo’s Museum of Natural History. Other animals mount animals of the same sex but their motivation may differ. Dogs usually do so to express dominance. Domesticated cattle mount each other as stress relieving behaviour. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by having sex with each other. A statement in the exhibition says, "One thing is clear — homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature.",8599,1908406,00.html

i;aj f,dalfha m%cdj w;r;a m%S;su;a iu wdorh ;sfí' mD;=úfha Ôj;a jk i;ajfhla jYfhka ud fndfydafoa Wf.kf.k ;sfí' ukqIHhka iy lDóka w;r fjkila fkdue;s nj ud yg jegyS ;sfí' we;eï úg tlu fjki wmf.a úkdYldÍNdjh muKla fõ' wmf.a iudk lug ;j;a WodyrKhla f,i rdcHhhka úiska iu,;ajh fukau .íidj ms<sn|j;a kS;s mekùug ksr¾:lj ld,h jehlrk w;r wfkl=;a i;ajhka th iajNdj O¾ufha m%;sM,hla f,i ms<s.ks;s' fkda¾fõ rdcHfha Tiaf,da úYaj úoHd,fha iajNdjO¾ufha b;sydih ms<sn| fl!;=ld.drh úiska m%:u jrg m%o¾Ykhg ;nd we;s" iajNdjO¾uhg tfrysj m%o¾Yk l=áfha i;ajhka 51 fofkl=f.a iu, yeisÍï ms<sn|j m%o¾Ykh lrkq ,nhs' iu,;ajh ks¾jpkh lrkq ,nkafka iudk ,sx.slhka fofofkl= fyda lSm fofkl= w;r isÿjk , yeisÍuhs' l+rd" ul=¿jka" ll=¿jka" fn,a,ka" mKqjka" jjq,ka" ;,auiqka iy fvd,a*ska hk i;ajhka w;S;fha isgu i;aj f,dalfha wiajdNdúl yeisÍfï fhÿkq i;ajhka fõ' iu,;ajh i;ajf,dalfha idudkH fohls' úreoaO ,;ajh iy iu,;ajh hkq iudch úiska w¾: .kajk ,o mo folla fõ' i;aj rdcOdksfha

fuu iSud udhsï fidhd .ekqug fkdyel' l÷lr f.daß,a,df.a isg mQika" n,a,ka iy .sksms.a olajd i;aj f,dalfha iu,;ajh iy oaú,;aj Ôjk rgdjka nqla;s ú¢kq ,nhs' i;=kaf.a iu,;ajh ms<sn| wOHkhka Y;j¾Ihla ;rug merKs fõ' 1896 § m%xY cd;sl lSg úµd{fhl= jk fykaß ã' ldú,a úiska l=reñkshka fofofkl= ixjdifha fhfok PdhdrEmhla m,lrk ,È' j¾I 1900 uq,a .Kka j, m¾fhaIlhka úiska nEnqka" ieuka uiqka" i¾mhka" fmka.=hska hk i;=kaf.a iu, l%shdldrlï fidhd .kakd ,È' 1914 § .s,anÜ yeñ,agka úiska ’cka.,a T*a weksu,a ìfyaúh¾¶ iÕrdjg jd¾;d lrk ,o mßÈ" cmka nEnqka j÷rka iy uEljq .srjqka w;r úYd, jYfhka iu, l%shd isÿ jk w;r th we;eï úg i;=rka w;r iduh j¾Okh lr.ekSfï l%shdjla úh yels njhs' ;jÿrg;a Tyq m%ldY lrk mßÈ fuu jeäysá iy ;reK i;=ka w;r isÿjk iu, iïuq;Ska we;eï úg msg;ska myr §ul§ jeäysá wdrlaIlfhl=f.a iyfhda.h ,nd .ekSu iy;sl lr.ekSula jYfhkao úh yels njhs' i;aj iu, Ndjh iy fidndúl úúO;ajh ms<sn|j 1999 § úiafldkaiska úYaj úµd,fha Ôj úµd{fhl= jk nDDia nf.ñ,a úiska Ô úµ;aul úmq,Ndjh ms<sn|j fmd;la m,lrk ,È' Tyq úiska jd¾;d lr.;a mßÈ 1500 lg wêl i;aj m%udKhla w;r iu, l%shd isÿfõ' i;aj f,dalfha iu,;ajh ms<sn|j uq,skau i|yka jkq ,nkafka" weßiafgdhsg,a úiska i|yka l, mßÈ .eyeKq yhskdjka fofofkl=f.a ruKfha fh§uhs' iEu i;ajfhl= ;=,u iu, p¾hdjka we;=jd muKla fkdj ^kQ;k Ôj úµdfõ mshd f,i i,lk fldkd¾â f,dfrkaia we;=¨j m¾fhaYk oyia .Kkla u.ska meyeÈ,s lrk ,o mßÈ lDókaf.a isg ñksid olajd mßKduh l%ufhka úldYkh j;aoS iu, yeisÍï l%ufhka j¾Okh ù we;s njo meyeÈ,sfõ' uEkayegkaia i;aj WoHdkfha isák fjka l, fkdyels frdahs iy isf,da fmka.=hska fofokd thg WodyrKhls' Tjqka fofokd tlsfkld yd fjf,k w;r" iajr fhdod .ksñka tlsfkld wduka;%Kh lrk w;r , ld¾hhka j,o fhfoa' .eyeKq iylrejka ,ndÿka úg ±äj Tjqka m%;slafIam lrk w;r .eyeKq i;=kao Tjqka .ek Wkkaÿjla fkdolajhs' tla;rd wjia:djl§ Tjqka fofokd n,dfmdfrd;a;= iqkajQ f,i .,la Tjqkaf.a l+vqj ;=,g f.kú;a ìcq rlsk nv hg iÕjdf.k isákakg úh' túg Tjqka /ln,d.kakd úiska Tjqkag ire ì;a;rhla f.kú;a fok ,È' Tjqka fofokdu tu ì;a;rh rlsk ,È' bka gekaf.d kï meáhd bmÿkq w;r Tjqka fofokd wehj ljd fmdjd wehg ;ksju f,dalhg uqyqK§ug yels jk ;=re wehj /ln,d .kakd ,È' iagkafmdaâ úYaj úµd,fha Ôj úµd uydpd¾h úiska Tyqf.a mßKdufha foaÿkak fmdf;a mjik mßÈ ukqIHhka fukau i;=kao ixjdih ish m%cdj fndalsÍug muKla fkdj" úfkdaoh" wdorh" iy iudc iïnkaO;djhka f.dvkkajd .ekSugo Wmfhda.S lr.kS' we;eï .%sia,s j,iqkaf.a .eyeKq i;=ka iyiïnkaO;djhka we;s lr .kakd w;r" tlg ikapdrh lrk w;r" tlg megjqka yodjvd .kakd w;r tlg isàug we;s Wjukdj ksid isisr Wodjo l,a ouhs' úµd{hka úiska i;aj f,dalfha iu,;ajh fidhd f.k ;sfí' iudk ,;ajfhka hq;= i;aj fcdavqw;r ism .ekSï fukau" tflla wksld flfrys olajk fudf,dla njo olskakg ;sfí' .eyeKq iy msßñ fcdavq w;r §¾>ld,Sk iïnkaOlï olakg ,efí' tfiau úreoaO , fcdavq uqk.eiqkq úg Tjqka yd onr fkdlr u.yerhdulao fmkakqï lrhs' iylrejka u.yerekq úg fodïkio" Tjqka kej; uqK.eiqkq úg m%S;su;a njo Tjqka fmkajhs' tfiau Tjqkaf.a iylrejka ke;sjQ úg;a weufidka jkdka;rfha isák iqÿ f*%dkafgâ .srjqka kej; ,;ajh fjkia fkdlrhs' È.= lka we;s fyc¾fyd.iao" iafg,¾ia uqyqÿ .scq ,sysKshkao" ndka nluQKkao tjeksu iu,sx.slhka fõ' yxihkao iodld,sl wdorfha m%;suQ¾;Ska fõ' kuq;a iEu fcdavq



mylgu tlla msßñ fyda .eyeKq fcdavq fõ' tu msßñ i;=ka .eyeKq i;=ka iu. ixjdifha fhfokafka megjqka ,nd.ekSu msKsi muKlafõ' .eyeKq i;d ì;a;r ±uqjdg miq wehj t,jd oukq ,nhs' we;eï úg Tjqka ì;a;r fidrd f.k wdo¾Yl foudmshka njg m;afõ' msßñ *a,eñkaf.da i;=ka fukau ;j;a i;=kao ì;a;r ,nd .ekSu i|yd tl /hlg muKla .eyeKq i;=ka iu. tl;=fõ' miqj .eyeKq i;dj t,jd oukq ,nk w;r" fjk;a msßñ if;l= iu. jika; ld,h .; lrkq ,nhs' 12] muK .siA iy ;drjkao tu l%shdju lrkq ,nhs' .eyeKq i;=ka iu, msßñ i;=kaf.a l+vqj, ì;a;r oukq ,nhs' l¿ ysi we;s rdcd,s fld,ks j,o fcdavq oyhlg tlla .eyeKq iu, fcdavqfõ' ngysr .eyeKq rdc,Skaf.ka 15] muK fokd iu,sx.slhka fõ' .eyeKq i;=kaf.ka tflla fyda fofofkla msßñ i;=ka iu. ixjdifha fhfok w;r kuq;a Tjqka ish¨ fokd tlaj megjqka yodjvd .kS' 2] muK jk Tiaá%õ mlaISka .eyeKq i;=ka fkdi,ld yßk w;r" mssßñ Ôrdmhska fndfyda úg ;reK msßñ lKavdhï w;r tlg isák w;r Tjqka jre .kkla ;ukaf.a È.= fn,s tlg mg,jd f.k isà' ;reK fvd,amska i;=ka w;r iu,;ajh b;d iq,n jk w;r m¾fhaIKhkag wkqj msßñ mssßñ iu, yeisÍï Tjqkaf.a meje;au i|yd w;HjYH idOlhlafõ' fjd,ria i;=ka ixjdi ld,fhka msg msßñ msßñ i;=ka ixjdifha fhfok w;r" kej;;a ixjdi ld, iSudfõ§ úreoaO , njg m;afõ' È.= wka we;s neg¿jka iu, iudc j, Ôj;a jk w;r .eyeKq iy msßñ i;=ka ikajdi ld,iSud j,§ tlg tl;=fõ' fndfyda i;=ka msg;ska meñfKk wk;=re j,ska ñ§u i|yd lKavdhï w;r iudc iïnkaO;d we;s lr .kq ,nk w;r" ,;ajh Tjqkaf.a ffO¾hH we;s lrjkakls' we;a; jYfhkau lshf;d;a" iudc ne£ï iy l¾;jHhka i|yd úreoaO ,sx.slhka iu. iïnkaO ùu wjYHfõ' cmka uldjq iudcfha .eyeKq i;=kaf.ka iukaú; fõ' w;HjYHh iudc iïnkaO;djh i|yd msßñ i;=ka úáka úá meñK hhs' .eyeKq ueldjQ i;=ka iu, fõ' fuu iïnkaO;djhka u.ska m%pkav;ajh iy l,yldÍNdjh wju lrkq ,nhs' we;a; jYfhkau lshf;d;a .eyeKq i;=ka 92'5] m%udKhla .eyeKq i;=ka iu. ikai¾.fha fh§ug fhduqfõ' fndfkdìia" ñá ÑkamkaiSka iudc wd;;sh .egqï wju lsÍu i|yd ,;ajh fhdod .kS' WodyrKhla f,ig fndfkdìia isák l+vqjlg fmÜáhla úis l, úg Tjqka fmÜáh iu. l%Svd lsÍug fmr tlsfkld u; ke.S ixi¾. bßhõ mdkq ,nhs' ’fndfkdìia wu;l lrkq ,enQ jdkrhka¶ fï iïnkaOj ,shk m%dkaia fjda,a mjikafka" Tyq úiska fujeks isÿùï ish .Kkla wOHkh lr we;s nj;a fuu iu, l%shdjka we;eï úg" idudkHfhka iduhg r|jd .ekSfï Wmdh ud¾.hla úh yels njhs' Tiaf,da úYaj úµd,fha fidndúl úµd fl!;=ld.drfha mSg¾ fndlauka m%ldY lrkq ,nkafka" jvd;a iu, iïnkaO;djhkag keUqre msßia jvd;a iduldó i;=kafõ' wksl=;a i;=ka tlsfkld yd ke.=k;a Tjqkaf.a fÉ;kdj fjkia fõ' n,a,ka tfia lrkq ,nkafka ish wdêm;Hh fmkaùu i|yd fõ' .Dy wdY%s; .jhka tfia lrkq ,nkafka wd;;sh ksjdrKh lrkq ,eîfï Wmldrhla jYfhks' msßñ isxy fmda;lhka ;u ifydaorhka iu. tfia lrkq ,nkafka wNsudkh bÈßhg f.khEfï woyisks' ,eÈlu idlaId;alr .ekSu i|yd Tjqka tlsfkld iu. , l%shdfõ fhfoa' ñka meyeÈ,s jkafka" iu,;ajh i;aj m%cdj w;r;a mj;sk nj;a th" fidNdj O¾uhg tfrys fohla fkdjk nj;ah'


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$l;Lr; Nru;fpd;wd. jhuh> nfhf;Ffspy; 5 tPjkhdit mt;thNw fhzg;gLfpd;wd. Mz; Jizaw;w jdp ngz; gwitfs; mjDila Kl;ilfis jd;dpd Nru;f;ifahsu;fspd; $Lfspy;jhd; ,Lfpd;wd. Gulls vDk; gwitapdj;jpy; 10 f;F 1 vd;w mbg;gilapy; ngz; jd;dpdr; Nru;f;ifahditahfNt ,Uf;fpd;wd. mNj gwitapdj;jpy; 15 tPjkhdit Mz; jd;dpd Nru;f;ifahsu;fshf ,Uf;fpd;wd. mit ehd;F tUlq;fSf;F jk;kplKs;s fhjiy> gupRg; nghUl;fis toq;Ftjd;%yk; ntspg;gLj;Jfpd;wd. mit Nru;e;Nj jkJ $Lfis fl;Lfpd;wd. xd;Nwh my;yJ ,uz;L ngz; gwitfNsh Mz;fSld; cwT nfhs;fpd;wd. mt;thW cwT nfhz;lhYk; ,dg;ngUf;fj;jpy; xd;whfNt ,Uf;fpd;wd. jPf;Nfhopfspy; 2 tPjkhd Mz;jPf;Nfhopfs; ngz;fis epuhfupf;fpd;wd. mj;NjhL Mz; jPf;Nfhopfs; eldkhb jkJ Jiztiu njupT nra;tNjhL fspahl;lq;fspYk; <LgLfpd;wd. mit xd;iw xd;W jOtp jiyia> fOj;ij ,izj;J gpd;dpg; gpizf;fpd;wd. fOj;ijf; fl;b tisj;jy; vd;gJ xU cr;r epiyahFk;. jd;dpd Nru;f;if xU nghJthd tplak;. jpkpq;fpyq;fSf;F kj;jpapy; Ma;thsu;fspd; fUj;Jg;gb Mz;> Mz; $l;LwT kpfTk; Kf;fpakhdJ taJ te;j jpkpq;fpyq;fspd; tho;Tf;F. Mz;ePu;eha; ghY}l;Lk; Neuk; my;yhj kw;iwa Neuq;fspy ;jd;dpd Nru;f;ifahsdhf thOk;. ,J ghY}l;Lk; Neuq;fspy; vjpu;g;ghy; Gzu;r;rpf;F khWfpd;wJ. Ml;L ,dj;jpy; Big Horn ML jd;dpd Nru;f;if r%fj;jp;y;jhd; mjpfk; thOfpd;wd. Mz; Ml;bd; njupthdJ cwTf;fhd xd;wy;y. mJ xU r%f $l;bizthfNt fhzg;gLfpd;wJ. Mz;> ngz; Ml;bd; $l;bizthdJ fytp nfhs;fpd;w Neuj;jpy; khj;jpuNk ,Uf;fpd;wd. Vida fhyq;fspy; Mz; MLfSlNdNa Mz; MLfs; Nru;e;J jpupfpd;wd. mjpfkhd tpyq;fpdq;fs; mjw;Fupj;jhd r%f mikg;ghf;fj;ijAk;> $l;bizitAk; nfhz;bUf;fpd;wd. ,e;j $l;bizTk;> gof;fKk; Gzu;r;rpf;F kpf Kf;fpakhd gq;fspg;ig mspf;fpd;wd. cz;ikapy; tpyq;fpd r%fj;ij ghu;j;jhy; mjd; mikg;ghdJ vjpu;g;ghy; Gzu;r;rpAld;> jd;dpd Gzu;r;rpAk; ,uz;lw fye;jpUf;fpd;wJ. [g;ghdpa Fuq;fpdk; KOtJkhf ngz;zpdj;ij xl;bNa mjd; r%f fl;Lkhdk; ,Uf;fpd;wJ. Mz;fs; tUthu;fs;> Ngha;tpLthu;fs;. Njitahd cwTfis cUthf;Ftjpy; ngz; jd;dpd Nru;f;ifahsu;fNs <LgLthu;fs;. ,e;j mZFKiwahdJ Njitaw;witfspy; ,Ue;J mtw;iw ghJfhf;fpd;wJ. cz;ikapy; ngz; Fuq;fpdkhdJ Mz;fistpl ngz;fs; kPJ 92.5 tPjk; cwT nfhs;fpd;wd. 'jd;dpd Nru;f;if vd;gJ tpyq;fpdq;fSf;F kj;jpapy; mikjpahdJ." -gPl;lu; nghf;fd;tpUk;gpNah> tpUk;ghkNyh vq;Fk; gutp ,Uf;fpd;wJ. fz;fhl;rpapd; thrfk; ,t;thW mike;jpUf;fpd;wJ. 'xU tplak; njspthdJ. ,aw;ifahdJ"



vd;gJ 34

Poetr y




kd Mw;Wg;gLj;jy; NritAk; vdJ mDgtq;fSk;.

,Uf;Fk; xUtu; tpj;jpahrkhd gpur;rpidfis re;jpf;f Neuplyhk;. mNj Nghd;W rpq;fs r%fj;jpw;Fs; Ntwhf ,Uf;fyhk;. ,t;thW ,lj;jpw;F ,lk;> kjj;jpw;F kjk; gpur;rpidfspd; tbtk; tpj;jpahrkhf ,Uf;Fk;. jkpo;

fle;j xU tUl fhykhf ehd; kd Mw;Wg;gLj;jy; Nritapy; <Lgl;L tUfpNwd;. ehd; ,e;j Nritapid midtUf;Fk; toq;ftpy;iy. Fwpg;ghf jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j <u;g;Gs;s>




tho;gtu;fSf;Nf vdJ kd Mw;Wg;gLj;jy; Nritapid toq;fp









ngWfpd;wJ. Vnddpy;> jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j <u;g;ghdJ vkJ








vjpu;nfhs;fpd;wdu;. mtu;fs; jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j <u;g;ig ,aw;ifahfTk;>




mjw;F MshfpatuhfTk; fhzg;gLfpd;wdu;. jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j





cl;gl;L ,Uf;fpd;wdu;. jhd; nra;tJ rupah> gpioah


Mokhf ghu;f;f Ntz;bapUf;Fk;.

Nfs;tp vd;gNj.










Gender rhu;e;j gpur;rpidfs; cl;gl gy tplaq;fs;




gpur;rpidfs; ntt;Ntwhditahf fhzg;gLk;. ,jw;Fs;






mtu;fSf;Fs; ,Uf;Fk; Nfs;tpfs; njhlu;e;J nfhz;Nl nfhs;Sk;






Nehah? my;yJ VjhtJ Neha;fs; te;J tpLkh? vd Vw;gLj;jpf;


,UghyhiuAk; tpUk;Gk; Mz;> ngz; vd mtu;fs; gy






jd;id ,r;r%fk; njupe;J nfhs;Skh? ,J vdf;F xU



kPJ jdJ ghu;itiaj; jpUg;Gfpd;whu;.




fis jPu;j;Jf; nfhs;s Kaw;rpf;fpd;whu;. my;yJ mtu;fs;

,tu;fspy; gy


gpwo;Tf;Fl;gl;L td;Kiw %yk; jdJ ghypay; Njit-




rhu;e;j <u;g;Gila xUtu; jhd; ahu; vd;gij rupahd

xd;whfNt ,Ue;J tUfpd;wJ. rhu;e;j


fhuzk; mtu;fs; gy td;KiwfSf;F cs;shtNjhL

ehl;ilg; nghWj;jtiu ntspg;gilahf Ngr Kbahj




jd;Dila ,jw;F

,e;j ehk;



kdepiy xNu





mt;thW nrhy;tJk; Mw;Wg;gLj;jy; nra;gtUf;F Kiw my;y.









mtu;fs; kPjhd mOj;jq;fs; vd;Wk; ehk; ,U tifahf



Nritf;F tUthuhf ,Ue;jhy; mtu;fSf;fhd Nrit-





FLk;gq;fs; mtu;fs; kPJ cUthf;Fk; mOj;jq;fNs mtu;fis mjpfk; ghjpf;fr; nra;fpd;wd. cjhuzkhf jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j <u;g;Gila xUtuhy; mtu; Mzhf ,Ue;jhy;>



Nghd;W kd Mw;Wg;gLj;Jdupd; elj;ij xUNghJk; kd Mw;Wg;gLj;jy;




mjpfupg;gjhf mike;J tplf;$lhJ.

KbahJ. xU ngz;zhf ,Ue;jhy; xU Miz jpUkzk;

ntspg;gilahf Ngr Kbahj tplakhf mike;jpUf;fpd;w

Kbj;J tho KbahJ. mtu;fs; kd epiyAk;> ghypay;






apid xU kzpj;jpahyj;jpy; nfhLj;Jtpl KbahJ. mNj

ghypay; vd;gJ tof;fhWfspd; mbg;gilapy; ,d;Wk;











mtiu mjpfk; ghjpf;fpd;wd. mjpYk; Fwpg;ghf Mzhf ,Ue;jhy;





tUfpd;wdu;. mt;thwhd xt;nthU NtisapYk; mtu; kd








jpUkzk; Kbf;Fk;gb mtUf;F toq;Fk; mOj;jq;fs;

Ntz;bapUf;Fk;. mOj;jq;fSk;

,t;thW gpupe;J

nry;fpd;wd. vd;idg; nghWj;jtiu jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j <u;g;G vd;gJ mjid ahu;ahnuy;yhk; czu;fpwhu;fNsh mtu;fspd; kd mOj;jq;fs; mtu;fs; ,Uf;Fk; kj> fyhr;rhu> gz;ghLfisg; nghWj;J NtWgLfpd;wd. jkpo; r%fj;jpy; ,Uf;Fk; xUtiutpl K];ypk; r%fj;Jf;Fs; 37


nfhs;tjw;fhd ve;jtpjkhd fl;Lkhdq;fSk; ,y;iy.






kd ngupa

jd;dpdk; rhu;e;j <u;g;GilNahUk; kdpju;fNs. mtu;fspd; gpur;rpidfis ehk; kjpj;J> ftdpj;J elf;fpd;w NghJ mJ


miktNjhL mikAk;.





ed;ikahf MjhujhfTk;


ngUikkpF tpoh epfo;T - 2010

June 11th - 12th Live & Let Live: Respecting Gender and Sexuality -


[{d; : ghy; kw;Wk; ghy;epiyfis kjpj;jy;: khw;wj;jpw;fhd Kaw;rp ,isQu; kfhehL.


[{d; : nuapd;Ngh ud;Nt - Mil myq;fhu epfo;r;rp.


[{d; : thdtpy; ngUikkpF ghu;;l;b.


[{iy: tpN\l jpiuaply;- ‘’gpNahd;l; Nf – nghypl;bf; x/ gpiul;’’(Beyound Gay: The Politics of Pride)

Youth Conference June 20th Rainbow Runway – Fashion show June 24th Rainbow Pride party July 01st Special Film Screening “Beyond Gay: The politics of

gpupl;b]; cau;];jhdpfuhyaj;jpdhy; epfo;j;jg;gLfpwJ

Pride” (Hosted by the British High Commission) July 05th - 7th Rainbow Visions - LGBT Art and Photo exhibition Celluloid Rainbows - LGBT Film Festival (Hosted by


[{iy: • thdtpy; ghu;it - ,J LGBTIQ Gifg;gl kw;Wk; xtpa fz;fhl;rp. • thdtpy; RUs; - LGBT jpiug;gl tpoh. gpupl;b]; fT;d;rpypdhy; epfo;j;jg;gLfpwJ


[{iy: “vdf;fhf xU nkSFjpupia vupa tpL” xU LGBTIQ muq;fhw;Wif.


[{iy: thdtpy; gl;lkpLk; tpoh> fy;fpir flw;fiu.

the British Council)

July 10th “Leave a light on for me” - LGBTIQ theatre performance July11th Rainbow Kite Festival on Mt. Lavinia Beach

fld<U wNsudkh 2010 cqks 11 iy 12( cSú;hg cSj;AjkAk bv fokAk - ;reK iïfï,kh iA;%S mœreY iudcNdjhg iy ,;Ajhg f.!rjh' PŒks 20(

’f¾kAfndA rkfõ¶ fudAiA;r m%o¾Ykh'

PŒks 24(

foAÿKœ idoh

PŒ,s 01(

úfYAI É;%mg o¾Ykh

’ìfhdkAâ f.A¶ wNsudkfhA foAYmd,kh

wkq.%yh ì%;dkH ljqkAi,h

PŒ,s 05 isg 07 olAjd( foAÿKœ oelAu LGBT Ñ;% iy PhdrEm m%o¾Ykh foAÿKœ i,rE - LGBT Ñ;%mg Wf<, wkq.%yh ì%;dkH ljqkAi,h

PŒ,s 10(

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PŒ,s 11(

foAÿKœ irex.,A W;Aijh - .,AlsiAi uqyqÿ fjrf<AoS 40


From New York: "I want to move to Iowa to get married, and make you pancakes every morning." It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love with her, but reading that text message on the first Friday night of April 2009 ranks fairly high. She had a knack for making grand romantic gestures in the simplest of words. For the first time I imagined a future with a girl -- this girl -- and the thought didn't terrify me. I had once told her I could live a lie for the rest of my life, but the appeal of that future now gave way to one where I'd get to recreate again and again the memory of waking up next to her. That alone would make every disappointed look I'd later have to bear entirely worth it. Before I met her in October 2008 I had never given my sexuality a second thought. I spent most of high school living on a tropical island where homosexuality still technically carries a 12 year jail sentence (not that I felt this had any bearing on my life back then). I'll never forget my first serious boyfriend telling me that before I dolled up around the age of 16 he thought I was a dyke because I played soccer and didn't ever wear skirts. Not exactly "classic" homophobia, but I definitely bought into the stereotype that lesbians were unattractive women who resorted to dating each other because they couldn't land a man. I had an ugly duckling complex growing up, and dating good looking men made me feel validated as a woman. But this girl, who I met in a class during my sophomore year at college in New York, defied my preconceived notion of gay women. When I first suspected she had a crush on me I remember thinking, "she doesn't look like a lesbian," but looks weren't even half the story. She'd fight for the seat next to me in lecture just to ask me how my weekend was and she'd sit opposite me during recitations to maximize the chance of making eye contact. I found her attention flattering. We eventually went out for coffee after I pitched an essay idea about mental illness to our class and she volunteered to be interviewed about her adolescent anorexia. It slipped out during our conversation that I was sexually abused as a child, which was the first of many things I revealed to her before I could even admit to myself. What happened between our first kiss on my birthday in January 2009 and the day I flew back to Sri Lanka for that summer I could say is too much or too complicated to explain, but really it's just too painful to relive. Let's just say I was only able to confess my feelings for her because I believed my coming out story would double as the greatest loved story ever told. It did not. For months we oscillated between vicious arguments and spells of silence, hooking up and going off the grid, feeling liberated and feeling imprisoned. The moment I declared I was finally ready to openly be with her, but she decided I wasn't actually worth the risk. She once told me "the worst thing to be is single and gay," and she had just rendered me heartbroken and ashamed. Coming out stories are often painful because they don't always have happy endings, but the most traumatic ones don't have happy beginnings either.



But as I mended myself over that summer I realized the process didn't involve reasserting my heterosexuality. In fact, the solution to my ugly duckling problem and how I reconciled myself with my queer nature were the same: I learned to be proud of who I am regardless of who I am with. Whatever her intentions for luring me in love with her, the fact remains that she challenged me to be more myself than I ever dreamt was permissible. She and I are friends again. I'm still single and gay. Though the thought of that may terrify her, for now the reality of it kind of suits me. S. Irving


LIVE & LET LIVE Youth Conference 11th â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 12th June 2010 8.30am

20th June 2010 7.00pm

24th June 2010 9.00pm

5-7th July 2010 6.30pm - 10.00pm

5 -7th - July 2010 10.00am -10.00pm

11th July 2010 Mounia Lavinia Beach, 4.00pm - 8.00pm

10th July 2010 7.00pm

Call us on 5679766 or 2512977 for more details

Rainbow News  
Rainbow News  

Rainbow news is the quarterly newsletter published by EQUAL GROUND, an organization working for equal rights for gay lesbian people in Sri L...