22 September, 2020

Blog

Schools & SOGIESC Rights: An Absolute Priority

By Aloka Wijesinghe and Chamindra Weerawardhana –

The electronic, print and online media in Sri Lanka, except the Colombo Telegraph, have been silent about the blatantly homophobic bullying at Colombo International School, by Sarah Philipps, the Vice Principal, a British woman, on a 17-yeard-old Grade 13 pupil, for wearing trousers to school, wanting to include a rainbow flag in a fashion show outfit, and for coming to school with their schoolbag covered in a rainbow flag [complicity to this shameless act also came from the Sixth Form teacher Vinod Senadheera who put Saakya Rajawasan on detention for no reason, and the management hierarchy, which condoned the homophobic bullying of Saakya]. 

As two proudly queer and proudly Sri Lankan women, we wish to thank the Editor of the Colombo Telegraph and his staff for providing a platform for this story, in a context in which many in the so-called ‘LGBT activist’ lobbies and well-funded NGOs in Colombo, existing LGBT+ politicos, and individuals aspiring to emerge as LGBT+ MPs and leaders, have resolutely avoided any significant  public action on this act of bullying. We can also notice a tendency among some supposedly ‘woke’ liberals to brush the entire episode under the carpet. 

 

Above: Rainbow flag designed by Daniel Quasar, with the addition of a five-coloured chevron on the left, with the objective of laying greater emphasis on “inclusion and progression”. Just as the LGBT+ abbreviation, the rainbow flag is also an evolving symbol of equality and justice. On the Quasar flag and related rainbow flag innovations, click here.  

To us, this case of homophobic abuse carries tremendous importance. We have both suffered quasi-identical challenges in our own schooling years, and we have many friends and chosen family in the global SOGIESC communities who have faced and continue to face similar violence, ostracism and marginalisation. Protecting non-cisnormative and non-heteronormative children and young people in schools, and also in institutions of higher education, is an absolute priority. In some countries – such as the United Kingdom, the home country of the homophobic Vice Principal of Colombo International School – organisations such as Stonewall carry out considerable work on the rights of non-cisnormative and non-heteronormative children in schools. 

The obliteration of queer kids? 

In Sri Lanka, the rights of children and young people in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum is an issue that is seldom discussed. Even the most vocal LGBT+ NGOs keep away from the subject, most likely due to the ‘controversy’ this risks triggering in a socially conservative country, where Victorian [non]values and dogmas are alive and well in many people’s minds. The inclination to ‘avoid a controversy’ or ‘avoid openly speaking about a topic judged too controversial’ appears to be a major reason why many LGBT+ activists are silent about the Colombo International School issue. 

We maintain that there is absolutely nothing controversial or polemical about a dialogue and concrete steps to protect the rights of non-cisnormative and non-heteronormative children because at the end of the day, children under 18 should not be harassed in any way in their educational institutions. Such harassment disrupts their studies and carries long-lasting implications. The absence of dignified and humane treatment  of LGBT+ children and young people causes a great deal of harm.  Many non-cisnormative and non-heteronormative children and young people in Sri Lanka have suffered for far too long, due to the unwillingness [and sheer unpreparedness] of cis-hetero-normative society, systems and institutions to “see” them. 

A word is warranted about the absolute myth that LGBT+ children and youth are a “western” phenomenon that has been forcibly imposed upon countries like ours. This assumption is totally erroneous, meaningless, hollow and deeply problematic. 

Non-cis and non-het children and youth have always existed everywhere [we mean it – absolutely everywhere across the world] and will continue to exist. In countries such as ours where a considerable majority of people and institutions see nothing else beyond the cisnormative gender binary, LGBT+ children and youth are left in an extremely vulnerable and dangerous position. 

A cycle of violence? 

To many of us, the nightmare starts at school. From verbal abuse to mistreatment, routine ostracism and physical attacks to sexual abuse, and even worse, rape, many LGBT+ children and youth face high levels of violence in schools. They are forced to suffer in silence at one of the most vulnerable junctures of their lives, which should ideally be filled with understanding, protection, affirmation, affection, love and caring. 

Based on our own lived experiences, we can vouch for how dangerous life can get when two women are open about their non-cis-hetero-normativity and their affections towards each other. Multiple forms of harassment quickly become your daily lived reality. On social media and online platforms [on occasion, even on those that are supposed to be safe spaces], one is forced to spend almost all of one’s precious time blocking keyboard perverts whose patriarchal bubble is irreparably shaken upon noticing the existence of a woman who loves another woman. The level of abuse targeted at younger women is even worse. In the absence of support networks at school that focus on understanding and empowerment, many young queer women are forced to bear the brunt of lesbophobia in silence. 

Many people who look at the world through a highly cis-hetero-patriarchal lens refuse to recognise, respect and understand the reality that ‘Monogamous Lesbian Relationships’ do exist, and that being lesbian does not, in any way, reduce a woman to some random person’s kink. Women’s sexuality is almost always conceptualised as being there for the pleasure of men – an attitude that needs to be categorically challenged and dismantled, starting from the schooling system onwards. 

Challenging discrimination: Need for an inclusive discourse? 

Similarly, positioning oneself at any point of the LGBT+ spectrum does not in any way devalue a person. It does not make it ‘acceptable’ or ‘normal’ for cis-het people to bully them. Discrimination against someone due to private matters [sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and sex characteristics] is extremely inhuman. If empty words such as ‘protect our culture’, ‘our manners’, ‘our traditions’ are deployed to justify such inhuman treatment of fellow citizens, such a ‘culture’ can only be distinguished by its lack of a culture, lack of sophistication, and simply, barbarism. 

Nowhere in the world is 100% safe for LGBT+ peoples. Even in countries of the global North where protective laws and support structures are in place, people in vulnerable positions, such as LGBT+ migrants and asylum seekers of colour from the global South, LGBT+ women of colour, disabled LGBT+ people, Indigenous peoples with traditions of non-cis-heteronormativity of their own, are near-constantly at risk. What, then, is the most advisable course of action? 

A key answer to this question lies in sound regulations and legislation to protect all people, irrespective of private matters such as sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC). Yet another crucial step involves efforts to raise awareness on respect, consent, and the decent treatment of people. In order to be effective, such initiatives need to be kick-started right from the early years of the schooling system.  

In the absence of protective regulations and mechanisms, many LGBT+ children and youth will continue to experience a great deal of abuse in silence. Consequently, many of them end up with conditions such as chronic depression and PTSD. Traumatic suppression at a young and vulnerable age makes it extremely difficult for many people to ‘come out’, even at later stages in life. Due to their negative lived experiences, many LGBT+ young people are often forced to hide, because of the fear reprisals and discrimination upon coming out. 

Erasure of LGBT+ children and youth? 

This ‘hiding’ leads to something even more dangerous – the forced erasure of LGBT+ youth. This makes it impossible for them to engage in any kind of self-affirmation, or to stand up for who they are and for their rights. 

Instead, they are pushed to the dark margins of cis-het society, where many of them are faced with high levels of danger – of being raped [even by people in circles of friends and family], being exploited and emotionally blackmailed. 

The current schooling system of Sri Lanka is one that makes this ‘erasure’ happen at a very young age. When that happens, children and young people are forced to ‘shut their mouths and keep quiet’ for all the 13 years of schooling, enduring all the abuse, derogatory language, discrimination and bullying. 

When that is the case, it is no surprise that many children and youth lose interest in studies, as focusing on studies becomes near-impossible in the midst of constant bullying, discrimination and abuse inside and outside school. Many LGBT+ children, especially in gender-segregated schools, are forced to keep away from all extra-curricular activities, as there is next to no structure that is meant at creating a welcoming, inclusive and friendly atmosphere for them. 

Erasure, therefore, is an extremely serious shortfall, and can cause irreparable pain and trauma to an innocent young person, preventing them from achieving their potential. This is why we need to work to make our schools friendly, safe and welcoming spaces for LGBT+ children and young people. This is also why we need to make all public services, especially all healthcare services, LGBT+ friendly, and very especially, LGBT+ child and youth-friendly. LGBT+ people, especially youth, are subjected to extremely offensive treatment in healthcare contexts. 

 When one is subjected to categorical SOGIESC erasure at a young age, the nightmare continues into adulthood. Many lesbian, if not non-cis-hetero-normative women [as well as non-cis-hetero-normative men] are very often forced to enter heterosexual marital ties, without their consent [forced consent, we reiterate, is NOT considered consent). This leads to yet another range of problems including domestic violence, psychological trauma, sexual abuse and high suicide rates.  

Attire policing: A Futile and Discriminatory Venture? 

Coming back to the issue of homophobic, if not SOGIESC-motivated bullying in schools, we cannot differentiate such bullying and abuse from interrelated forms of bullying. In schools with uniform policies across the world, female pupils are often subjected to extra and absolutely abhorrent levels of ‘uniform policing’. We often hear of teachers taking issue with the length of an adolescent girl’s skirt, leading to sanctions. In countries with no school uniform policies, teachers take issue with the length of skirts and shorts, the width of necklines and more. In some Western countries with an institutionalised brand of islamophobia, there have been cases of girls of the Islamic faith being sanctioned for wearing skirts that happened to be…too long! 

When such sanctions are applied, girls are given an extremely problematic message from a very young age – that they constantly need to watch their outfit, so as to not to distract boys and teachers. This also sends the message that skirt length, a bra strap or a visible cleavage are more important ‘causes for concern’, than the right of a girl to be treated with dignity at school, and her right to an education free of socially conservative, judgemental cis-hetero-patriarchal gazes. This kind of attire policing also encourages young girls to subdue, if not devalue their inalienable right to bodily autonomy. 

A uniform policy that focuses on bodily autonomy and gender justice would not involve such repressive practices. Many people seem to consider gender-segregated uniforms as some form of a sacrosanct concept that cannot be transgressed. In reality, strict uniform policies are inherently discriminatory, and they should be altered along a logic of strengthening gender justice. If a pupil assigned female at birth wishes to wear trousers to school or a pupil assigned male at birth wishes to wear a skirt or a summer dress, there is no reason for anyone to be appalled. Instead, it is worth focusing on creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for children who do not and/or cannot conform to cis-heteronormative gender standards set in schooling systems.  Irrespective of a pupil’s gender expression, every pupil has a non-negotiable right to decent, kind and welcoming treatment at school. 

The coloniality of uniforms and ‘uniformity’

As many fellow Sri Lankans tend to tear their hair out over a commitment to cisnormativity in school uniforms, it is worth contextualising the uniform and the schooling systems we have. 

Missionary education was put in place not for a love of the subdued black and brown peoples, but to create servile, ‘yes men’ [and subsequently ‘yes women’] to help the colonisers manage their colonial enterprises effectively. Many inanities that are termed “traditions” in leading [gender-segregated] missionary schools are in fact colonially-imposed mechanisms meant at creating the ideal, subservient, colonised subject who would obey orders and keep their mouths shut, and have their critical faculties squashed and their backbones flattened.  This emphasis on uniforms, if not uniformity, involves compulsory conformity – which is highly incompatible with a modern discourse on education based on rights, critical and independent thinking, bodily autonomy, tolerance and acceptance. 

Missionary education and its key features, such as gender segregation based on the cis fe/male binary, uniforms, and archaic traditions, are all extremely violent and repressive. This is a reality that many Sri Lankans are slow to come to terms with. 

The violence of uniformity: A quick recapitulation 

To highlight the violence inherent in missionary education and all its ‘vices’ such as compulsory uniforms, one of best examples is the system of ‘residential schools’ [French: pensionnats autoctones] created by the European colonisers in the northerly territories of Turtle Island we know as Canada. 

Picture: Hooray to uniformity! The residential schools and its strict policies of uniformity and gender binary were intended at destroying rich Indigenous sociocultural, linguistic, philosophical an artistic traditions of the peoples of Turtle Island. Photograph of a young Cree child forced to attend a residential school, circa 1910. ©National Post

These schools were intended at cultural, social, intellectual, and human genocide. Young children were forcibly snatched away from their parents and communities, and taken to ‘residential schools’ in faraway places, to make sure that it was very difficult for the parents to visit their children. In reality, these residential schools were torture chambers where children were subjected to multiple forms of abuse and torture, in many cases leading to death. The children of the rightful owners of the land were gender-segregated [according to the Victorian understanding of the cis-hetero-normative gender binary]. All the boys had their hair cut very short [which is deeply problematic in cultures where ‘hair’ carries special connotations of sacredness, value and significance]. Children were subjected to beatings and severe physical, psychological and sexual abuse. They were prohibited from speaking their native languages. In many cases, the punishment for speaking their languages were particularly harsh, such as being left alone naked in cellars in sub-zero temperatures and nails being torn off. 

 

 

Picture: How ‘Canada’ came to being. A painting depicting the forcible removal of Indigenous children and babies by the genocidal Christian missionaries and RCMP. Painting entitled “The Scream” by Kent Monkman, First Nations artist of Cree and Irish ancestry and a member of the Fish River band in Northern Manitoba.

To illustrate the violence inherent in Christian missionary education, we quote a personal account of a residential school survivor, Dr Janice Acoose-Miswonigeesikokwe: 

One of the rules, we quickly learned, was that boys and girls were to be completely segregated. Thus, my four-year imprisonment in the Cowessess “Indian” residential school haunts me still, because I have painful memories of seeing my brother Fred, caged like an animal behind a barbed-wire fence I passed on my way to class. I am haunted by memories of that first day of school, too, because I can still feel being ripped away from my sisters, herded down a long, dark hall, pushed into a room to have my hair shorn, powdered with DDT insecticide  (supposedly because all “Indians” were infected with lice), and then showered with severely hot water. 

Once stripped of remembrances of home, I was given a number, a school uniform, and an assigned bed in the “small girls’ dormitory”. Over the years, programmed terrorism effectively encouraged me to respond to the number rather than my name. The school uniform, too, stripped me of any individual identity…some nights I cried myself to sleep because I longed to be at home with my family. Other times I cried at night because I remembered daily physical punishments: sometimes my mouth and face were slapped; sometimes my knuckles were pounded with a wooden block; and sometimes my mouth was taped shut for long periods of time. Too many times I was physically punished and psychologically terrorised for speaking out of turn, asking too many questions, or showing “disrespect” for their god by asking for proof of “his” existence…other times I cried in terror when I heard footsteps creeping up the fire escape to our little girls’ dormitory. Those nights I jumped into my sister Mary-Madeline’s bed and clung to her fiercely for protection as I listened to little girls’ tortured whimpers, muffled screams, and desperate cries for help”. [pp. 18-20 of Iskwewak Kah’ Ki Yaw Ni Wahkomakanak, Neither Indian princesses nor easy squaws, Toronto: Women’s Press, 2016 [2nd edition]. 

The last residential school closed only in 1996. The repercussions of the residential school policy continue to the present-day, with survivors suffering extremely high levels of trauma. As a consequence of the violent treatment they received as children, stories abound of many residential school survivors being extremely violent towards their own babies and children. The saga of residential schools is one that graphically illustrates the violence inherent in colonially imposed forms of education. 

Despite all the violence and continuing repercussions, there is no shortage of individuals who continue to justify such genocidal institutions. The logic [or lack thereof] behind such [non]justifications is very similar to the points raised by individuals in Sri Lanka who strongly cling to colonial notions of ‘discipline’ and ‘uniformity’, and condone atrocious practices such as corporal punishment and bullying of pupils. This was the case in some public reactions to Saakya Rajawasan’s decision to wear trousers to school and drape a rainbow flag around her school bag.

Importance of challenging colonial structures of education

Although there is little dialogue on this matter, it is undeniable that missionary education has had a deeply destructive effect on Sri Lanka. Let’s say it out loud: “missionary education was an act of violence. Its intents were extremely sinister and destructive.” In Sri Lanka, the Temperance Movement made it a point to create a system of ‘Buddhist’ [missionary] education that copied the colonisers’ template of education. Abusive behaviour towards juniors perpetrated by seniors and the normalisation of bullying and corporal punishment, to cite but a few, are continuing repercussions of this violent system put in place under colonial rule. 

Not even top-level schools are spared? 

As we could observe with the bad experience of Saakya Rajawasan at Colombo International School, not even the English-speaking, Western-oriented top-level ‘international’ schools that cater to world-class universities are immune to bullying and daylight discrimination against pupils. The root cause of this lies in the social conservatisms of those who occupy senior management responsibilities in such schools. In many cases, such individuals have been ‘schooled’ in missionary schools where bullying, discrimination and policies that are ‘celebrations of cis-hetero-patriarchy’ are routine practice. Having attained senior management positions in international schools that work with a global student body, such individuals lose the plot. 

 The sorry situation at Colombo International School is a fine example. Although Acting Principal Sarah Philipps signed off the letter of shame sent to Saakya’s parents, Chairperson Armyne Wirasinha must take full responsibility for the bullying of Saakya, as the person at the helm of the school’s management structure. Silence, in this case, involves endorsement, and it is clear that neither the Sixth Form teacher nor the Acting Principal received any best-practice-related guidelines from the management on creating a positive, affirming and welcoming environment for LGBTQI+ pupils. 

Lack of critical thinking and the necessity of ‘unlearning’

Most importantly, this colonially-induced system of primary and secondary education has created upper and upper middle classes who refrain from thinking critically, who venerate cis-hetero-normativity, with zero tolerance to the slightest non-conformity, and who sheepishly obey orders and seldom question the structures around them.  Despite Sri Lanka’s strides in free education through the Kannangara reforms and subsequent developments, it is undeniable that a colonial brand of missionary education continues to regulate the entire sphere of primary and secondary education in Sri Lanka to this very date. This ‘coloniality’ in our education system is inherently connected to persistent barbarisms such as corporal punishment in schools. To give but one example, a recent news headline read  Sri Lanka Deputy Minister wants school children to be caned”, because in the said deputy minister’s perspective, corporal punishment by caning pupils is the “only way” to establish discipline in schools. This politician is not alone, and many MPs, elected representatives, religious leaders and professionals continue to condone such barbarisms. When coming out of a system of education like ours, it takes a great deal of energy, self-reflection and commitment to unlearn the cycles of oppression that operate around us, and relearn to look at things in a critical perspective. 

This system in place is such that it produces people who will go to any lengths to ‘protect’ these repressive aspects. Some very vocal public figures who stand for gender equality (such as certain male cricketer-celebrities) never make the slightest comment about the importance of challenging gender-segregated education and routine bullying in elite schools. Cosying into their male privilege and comfort zones, the same guys avoid a single word on the disgusting nature of the gender pay gap in sport. 

The bottom line, then, concerns the functionalities of the entire system of education. It is a system focused on memorising and consequently, does not encourage independent thinking. It is a system that makes children and young people obey orders without questioning them. It is a system that has no place for a discourse on affirming, celebrating and taking pride in ‘difference’. Therefore, it is a system that simply cannot accommodate a modern and dynamic discourse on “rights”.

Instead, it is a system that makes children and young people trivialise, if not categorically ignore any discourse on rights. Young people like Saakya Rajawasan who resist are then penalised, oftentimes severely, for not toeing the line. 

You reap what you sow? 

Being brought up and ‘schooled’ in such repressive educational structures is directly linked to the sheer intolerance of ‘the other’ among many Sri Lankans [e.g. intolerance on the basis of ethnicity, religious faith, sociocultural background, sexuality, gender identity, sex characteristics, and many other factors]. Even when a certain brand of ‘refinement’ comes out of people schooled in places such as elitist missionary schools, it is immediately noticeable that such refined souls have problems with basic perspectives of gender equality, gender justice, and thinking beyond patriarchal frames.

A former Foreign Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka, schooled in a place where “river, lake and mountain meet” and at Oxford once created a diplomatic incident by undiplomatically quipping “shopping is for sissies” and subsequently, “flowers are for sissies”. This, for one, is a fine example of how high corridors of education, from Trinity to Oxford, are focused on sustaining the patriarchy, where refinement does not necessarily include a process of unlearning gender stereotypes and inconsistencies [On that note, it is also important to reiterate that universities are places where gender-based injustices are taken for granted. Hence the vital importance of global campaigns such as #decolonisetheuniversity, #whyismyprofessorwhite, #decolonisethecurriculum and #Rhodesmustfall, #metoo as well as the work of student unions and societies in enhancing equality and justice education in Western universities]. 

The need for new approaches? 

New approaches to primary and secondary education, which focus on the rights of the child, bodily autonomy, independent and critical thinking, are essential to the education sector. In the absence of these, many children who have done nothing wrong will be subjected to high levels of trauma, which, in worst case scenarios, can end up leading to depression and high drop-out rates. Explicit and well-formulated policies of safeguarding that focus on LGBT+ children and young people are absolutely vital. Policies of this nature go hand-in-hand with efforts to end repressive practices such as corporal punishment. In formulating and implementing such policies in a place like Sri Lanka, it is important for policymakers to pursue an intersectional approach, taking local specificities into account. If special attention is not provided, for example, to the inclusion and equal treatment of children irrespective of ethnicity, socioeconomic and linguistic factors, any action plan on strengthening equality in education is bound to fail. In sum, such an initiative needs to be locally-grounded, with SOGIESC specifics included as part and parcel of a broad national policy framework on safeguarding. 

Only one path ahead? 

To conclude, we wish to reiterate that in this 21st century, especially in ‘neocolonies’ such as Sri Lanka, there is no longer a reason to cling to gender-segregated education, to strict gender binary-based uniform policies, draconian policies on pupils’ hair and the general presentation of pupils. When we reflect upon a modern system of education, what we ought to envisage is a system that trains young people to think critically, raise critical questions, respect difference and otherness, and most importantly, a system where young people are treated in a spirit of equality, beyond futile stereotypes and violent practices of yesteryear. 

The one and only path forward is the ‘progressive’ path, focusing wholesomely on equality, justice, and inclusion. 

•••

About the authors: Aloka Wijesinghe is a writer and SOGIESC rights advocate. She is the co-founder of Lesketeers. Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana is a political analyst and gender justice advocate. She is the author of Decolonising Peacebuilding: Managing Conflict from Northern Ireland to Sri Lanka and Beyond.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    5

    All 4 religious teaching in Sri Lanka disapprove this acts of Lesbian and homosexual acts ..
    This is western cultural product ..
    Why do we in Asia need this culture..its inhuman culture; its against nature ..
    We live in this modern world.?
    What else left from humanity we do this ..humanity is in peril with such inhuman social value inflicted by western culture.
    We must be proud of our culture in Sri Lanka..

    • 3
      0

      “All 4 religious teaching in Sri Lanka disapprove this acts of Lesbian and homosexual acts ..
      This is western cultural product ..”

      Religions also teach other things (like not robbing the public wealth) ……… why only signal out homosexuality?

      Culturally “approved” or not there are homosexuals is every country/society ………. I hope you understand/realize that the West do not encourage homosexuality ……… but only encourage homosexuals to “come-out” and live their lives as normal people and have the same rights as the rest of the society; not be discriminated. As any “evolved” modern society should.

      Religions may disapprove of homosexuality on the surface ………. but as evidenced by recent events ……… behind “closed-doors” some of the worst homosexual atrocities against young children were committed by the various religiosities.

      Who’s to Bless; Who’s to Blame?

      • 0
        0

        Nimal is right. In Melbourne, the woman principal of a school run by an extremist Jewish cult had been abusing two sisters for longer than a decade. When the girls raised the issue she escaped to Israrel where she is being protected by the Zionist criminals.

        So despite Judaism is against muff diving and other animalistic sexual activities, it is going on. But their media only targets the Catholic church. They will go to hell anyway.

    • 4
      0

      Sri Lankan

      “All 4 religious teaching in Sri Lanka disapprove this acts of Lesbian and homosexual acts ..”

      I am not sure where you this idea.
      Hinduism and Buddhism are silent on this subject unless I have lost something in translation.
      Could you cite your reference please.

      • 1
        0

        NV,
        Our friend Sri Lankan clearly has not read the Vinaya Pitaka, where it explains , among other sexual matters, how monks should not “have intercourse with disembodied heads in a cemetery” or even “have prostitutes sit on them”.

    • 3
      0

      “Non-cis and non-het children and youth have always existed everywhere [we mean it – absolutely everywhere across the world] and will continue to exist.”
      True, but is it necessary to advertise your sexual preferences while in school? Would ” het” children be allowed to carry flags depending on what “het” sexual activity they prefer? Missionary or doggy for example.
      Clearly not. So why should “non-het” children be allowed to do so?
      The authors may be well-meaning, but all rights have limits. They stop at the borders of other people’s rights.

      • 2
        0

        old codger

        There are serious practical problems that “non het” children face at school. What about toilet facilities for transgender children, teachers, and employees.

        • 1
          0

          NV,
          They could have 3 toilets: Male , Female, and Neither.
          Have you checked out the latest Indian Visa application?

  • 1
    0

    ‘A key answer … lies in sound regulations and legislation to protect all people, irrespective of private matters such as sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, and sex characteristics’.
    .
    When such ‘private matters’ are brought to the public domain, won’t they lose their privileged privacy status?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 6
    0

    I am not sure about the situation in Sinhale but homosexuality prevailed in Hindusthan even at the time of Buddha. In ‘Vinaya Pitaka’ (Code of conduct for monks), there are rules regarding homosexuality. But to my knowledge, no such rules for lay persons.
    Even in Sri Lanka, homosexuality and prostitution made illegal by Christians who colonized the country. It is high time that we get rid of these laws. By making prostitution illegal who gets benefitted? Police. I leave it to readers to guess how.

    • 2
      3

      Eagle Blind Eye

      “I am not sure about the situation in Sinhale but homosexuality prevailed in Hindusthan even at the time of Buddha.”

      You should know it with first hand experience.
      Didn’t you spend a lot of time in your local pansala, the monk offering you sweets, thala guli, kalu dodol, ………….. in return for ……………..

      • 1
        0

        NV,
        No. I did not have first hand experience. That is why I said I am not sure. It looks like you had first hand experience in eating thala guli, kalu dodol in return for ….. Did you enjoy it?

  • 4
    1

    Sri Lankans are in the main very tolerant towards people of different sexual orientations . However , incessant ‘in your face’ gay rights advocacy by persons like the author of this article can prove to be counter productive.

  • 2
    0

    Aloka Wijesinghe and Chamindra Weerawardhana article starts ~ “The electronic, print and online media in Sri Lanka, except the Colombo Telegraph, have been silent about the blatantly homophobic bullying at Colombo International School,……”.
    CT was NOT silent. On
    October 3, 2018 author COLOMBO TELEGRAPH, “Colombo International School Violates Fundamental Rights Of A Pupil”
    October 4, 2018 author: Chamindra Weerawardhana “Shame On You: Colombo International School”
    October 8, 2018 author: COLOMBO TELEGRAPH “Colombo International School Homophobic Bullying Saga: Victimised Student Goes Public – Activists Commend”
    .
    Either Aloka and Chamindra are misleading us or more likely do not read.
    Several commenters pointed out that the school administration has only administered the dress code. Dress codes are there in every facet of our lives – for example in cricket spectators who invade pitch without cloths are harshly tackled, handed over to police who take action. Why Aloka and Chamindra?

  • 3
    1

    I have not heard LGBTQ rights evn in North america. Why Sri lanka.[edited out]

  • 2
    0

    The ignorance is the cause of all injustice Man man causes to his fellow humans and the plant he lives in most of the time unintentionally.

    First to start with the issue of transgender lot of ignorance can be seen among those who comment, I do not blame them, because we still have our minds colonized though the colonial masters have left.

    This is the beauty about The Noble Buddha’s pure teaching without any culture or tradition mixed in, I do not criticize or want to judge the many Schools of thoughts not just in. BUDDHISM, but even among other religions. Everyone is free to form his own opinions and thoughts of beliefs as long as it does not deny the freedom of others. Cont.

  • 1
    0

    The family unit is under attack on many fronts all over the world. It is not confined to a particular country or culture. LGBTQ and it’s many variations is just one front of this attack.

    s

  • 2
    0

    Hate not what you know not
    Cont. 2
    ___________
    The Noble Buddha’, also The Yogis among Hindus, some Mystics teachers among,, Jewish Kabala, negative Mystics among the Christians and the selflessness struggle to empty the cup from all of its self (Nafs) among the Mystics of the Islamic faith are all like mountains rising from one land side by side.
    The Noble struggle of this unique platform that brings all and everyone together is all. About one thing and that is to. Train ones mind and no. Other religions on the face of the earth has made it an integral unit inseparable from its philosophy is only Buddhism, while Traditional Islam let’s you use its many rituals such as the five pillars to calm down and tone it (Nafs The mind)
    Cont

  • 2
    0

    HATE NOT WHAT YOU KNOW NOT
    Cont. 3
    The mind is the most powerful mechanism and yes most of it is in our minds, even most of the ailments can be healed through the mind and .some personal problems can be solved through the mind too.
    But not every ailment or problem can be solved by the mind.

    The most damaging and destructive of all that can be healed and solved by the mind are starting with hate, any and all types of hate, you need to empty the cup and Buddhist teaching of training the mind can be a be so valuable to help removing all that hate that has been programmed into a child from home to all forms circles of the Society.

    But it can not help you if you have a medical issue or a financial aid issue.

    Cont……

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    HATE NOT WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT NOT
    _—-
    CONT. 04
    ___—-
    I Would like to only talk of Transgender as I have interviewed more than 30″ of them mostly overseas and just ONE IN. SRI. Lanka.

    I see transgender can be divided into two categories.
    Clinically appearance and the other is without any physical appearance but they suffer from severe gender dysphoria .

    One is the transgender child is clinically born that way with physical appearance seen even as a child or slow development as the child grows up.
    Most of them will have either a male genital along with the female and some may have a male Organ but not sexually active, as time goes by there are chances to see the children with a more obvious male organ along with the female develop other changes.
    Cont..

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    Hate not what you know not
    ———————————–
    Cont 6
    ———-
    The male orientated child may start having physical changes like more of a physical activity masculine changes including heavy facial hair growth, etc,
    While the female may start developing visible breasts.

    But then you have those who do not develop any visible physical changes, but struggle with issues from. health to psychological issues in many cases due to social stigma especially living among an extremely tribal minded society leads the kids to commit suicide.
    ————
    But there are some cases where a child may have a mild episode of hormonal changes or a phase that may go away as they grow older, or in extreme cases may need medical help.
    However it is extremely sensitive and care should be taken when children complain about such feelings of change in gender.
    No one should self medicate, which I was told what the one and only Transgender person I spoke to have done, it is extremely dangerous injecting hormonal drugs smuggled into the country, it can destroy other vital organs and even lead to terminal cancer.
    Cont

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    Hate not- what you know not
    ————————————
    CONT. 7
    Whenever a child complains of any form of GD, it is wrong to assume anything and the worst is to turn to tribal alternative when we have advance Science from which can benefit alot today.
    Superstition is cruel, so one needs to careful.

    We do have quite a good number of doctors in Sri Lanka who have the expertise to diagnose problems of GD and conform if it is really a clinical GD or a phase that the child is passing through.

    You will need to first talk to your family physician, then get him or her to recommend a physician who have the expertise on GD, and from the there on if it is clinical the doctor will be able to guide you through the process of hormone therapy,, and to surgical and counseling.
    .Cont.

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    “Aloka Wijesinghe and Chamindra Weerawardhana”

    Obvious you are trying to capitalize on the case of Saakya Rajawasan to gather support for your cause. Since you feel so strongly as is evident from your article it may be best to approach the Ministers concerned to table this matter in Parliament. It may be a good diversion for the Government facing numerous issues.

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    Many institutions have dress codes for their workers, members, students etc. Most have different dress codes for men and women. Very few have unisex dress codes for those who work in or are attached to the institution. The institutions may be centers of learning, banks, hospitals, airlines, telecom service providers etc. Any organization has the right to lay down dress codes for those work or study there. They also have the right to enforce those dress codes. That has always been the practice everywhere, at all times. But now some persons want to upset the apple cart because they have their own questionable agenda – one that would be deemed to be an ‘immoral’ agenda by the mainstream citizens.

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    @Estate Labourer,

    I disapprove of What you say, but I will defend to death the right for you to say it. – ))))))

    So I presume by what you suggest,, no matter if the child born girl clinically starts turning to a boy with no control of her hormones and same with the boy who suddenly develops boobs ,

    According to you,

    Let the boy who became a girl with no control or power to stop it wear trouser uniform to school with bulging boobs and as for the girl who turned to a boy wear a skirt, nice with hairy legs and face with rough bristles of masculine facial hair.(Seem you have an appetite for hairy legs huh)

    That would be a signature dress for CIS, or alternatively you can approach Donald duck and ask him if he has any old leftover kilt from his ancestors that you can borrow, CIS can absorb it as part of their great uniform..

    Wow estate Labourer knows a bit more than Tea leaves.
    how wise have everyone in. SRI LANKA suddenly become,.

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    Dear All
    Thank you for the article/analysis and all the open and transparent comments further help us all to understand the subject.
    My thoughts are we have not allowed even male/female sexual feelings that nature has given us and this has always been pushed under the carpet culturally for sure and may even be religiously not sure. This is one of the reasons teenage and the young perhaps ended up expressing frustration through violence one need to note. Further the sexual crimes also committed in my village and in the school/college hostels we never discuss openly too. this all goes back to the same oppressive and hypocritical culture in the name of protecting whatever etc.
    Then how would one expect the institutions and the society to respond to the said event in the article when this involves the same sex? negative from the beginning.
    Whatever your sexuality/sexual preferences individual right of the person should be protected. Then only one can talk about all else with regard to human rights??
    Also think the suppressed nature of the sexuality be it straight or LGBT is what affects us all with regard health/general well being/quality of life even to say will realise the best potential of humans too?? there is a drastic difference in well to do countries and not so well to do countries are not just limited to geo politics but has a correlation to cultural cloning that went on for a long time.
    Who am I to say what other sexual feelings are for breading purpose only and should be under the dating/marriage institutions etc. The result is Indian continent for example is overflowing with people through the so called cultural intercourse and may a big maybe it is natures way of saying I design people differently too nowadays?? so do not question my design correct??

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