Advocates in Sri Lanka continue pride promotions despite threats


EQUAL GROUND

LGBT advocates and allies with EQUAL GROUND in Sri Lanka refused to allow threats of violence stop them from showing their pride.

On May 28, the organization was supposed to take a stall at the popular Good Market in Colombo to begin publicizing and raising excitement for Colombo PRIDE 2016. After receiving extremist threats, the Good Market refused to allow EQUAL GROUND to have a stall. In an attempt to protect themselves from the actions of extremists, the Good Market offered the organization a stall at the Entertainment Center, only if they did not advertise their name or Colombo PRIDE.

Instead of allowing EQUAL GROUND to accept this situation, allies at Butter Boutique, which previously held a stall at Good Market, allowed EQUAL GROUND to setup a pop up in their parking lot. Local police also showed support by having four police officers present all day as protection in case of violence.

The event was incredibly successful, and members of EQUAL GROUND filmed the video below to highlight the success, as well as personal testimonies of advocates and allies.

In the video, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera of EQUAL GROUND asks the owner of Butter Boutique, Rukshi, why she felt so compelled to allow EQUAL GROUND to set up on their property, despite the threats of violence the store was getting. "Because it's the right thing to do, it is basic human rights," Roxy responded. "When you know something's right, there is a part of you that needs to get involved with it. It doesn't matter, they can taunt us, they can threaten us, they can try to shut us down, but when it's the right thing to do, you should do it and you have to do it."

EQUAL GROUND is a non-profit organization that fights for the human and political rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning community in Sri Lanka. It is commited to creating a safer space for LGBTIQ and offering them better opportunities for self help.

Colombo PRIDE officially kicks off tomorrow, June 10, and the celebration will continue until June 18. A full schedule can be seen below.