Academics weigh in on the topic of homosexuality and same sex marriage
After India’s Supreme Court ruled that homosexuality was not a crime, The Catamaran asked academics what that ruling could mean for Sri Lanka.
Human rights advocates around the world celebrated with India last month, when the Supreme Court of India scrapped section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, thus ending the criminalization of homosexuality. Equal Ground, a Colombo-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, estimates that approximately seven percent of Sri Lanka’s population is homosexual. A third gender is not recognized in Sri Lanka.
The Catamaran interviewed various Sri Lankan academics about their views on the groundbreaking ruling in India. Some were not prepared to speak on the issue using their real names:
A male Sinhala lecturer said: “Homosexuality is against nature. It is against our religion and culture. Manu Sastra prohibits this practice. This subject has become the trend now. It is nothing but lust. This is cultural degradation. I look at third gender (transgender) people with empathy because it is not their fault but a hormonal problem. The media should stop mocking them and calling them derogatory names. This is an unsuitable practice in our culture and lifestyle. It has been criticized in Buddhist Jathaka Stories. Buddhism is opposed to it.”
Sebaraj, an Assitant Lecturer said:
“The Bible opposes it. God’s purpose of creating male and female is to procreate future generations. It cannot be done by homosexuals or with same sex marriages. It is unnatural. Since this is based feelings people can overcome this. Many become homosexuals to live freely and to move away from responsibilities. When it is legalized, it creates an environment for others to follow. Like dinosaurs, the human race will also disappear from the Earth one day if this is allowed. I have my respect for third gender persons. They should not be isolated from the society. They should be given equal rights.”
Abu Ammar said:
“Same sex sexual attraction is a perversion which should never be allowed and must be eradicated. There is a prospect of sexually transmitted diseases getting spread due to this. This is not allowed in Islam and it is a punishable offence according to (our) religion. Muslims being followers of the Qur’an and Hadith (Prophet’s Tradition) are prevented from indulging in such practices. Further I disapprove of any discrimination against third gender (individuals),” he said.
A female lecturer:
“The Bible says: ‘And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.’ God created humans as male and female. Same sex marriages will not create future generations. Therefore, this should not be legalized in Sri Lanka. Their sexuality is attributed to their environment and experience in the younger age. So it’s easy to change.”
Thilini Rajaguru, an assistant lecturer said:
“The changes in the hormones are usually the cause for this kind of sexual orientation. This is quite natural and it cannot be changed, and is not a serious issue either. Further, the right to love is equal to everyone. I admit that the law should be equal to everyone. But, at the same time, since we are followers of our culture and certain social norms it is important to take care of them too. We must also understand the problems faced by transgender people. Some of these people when they get psychologically affected are moved even to the extent of committing suicide due to public bullying. This act of mocking must stop and they must be allowed to fully integrate within the society.”
Lecturer R. Artika said: “When we accept the relationship between a man and a woman, we have to accept same sex relationships too. The community should also understand the problems of the transgender person also. The rights of gay people must also be recognized and they must be given equal rights and those rights legalized.”
Asanthi, a university student said:
“If love is beyond race, religion, language and culture, then it is beyond the differences of the gender. We have to respect the feelings of the individuals. Nobody needs mercy. If they are not interfered with their individual freedom, that’s enough.”