EQUAL GROUND interviews Ryan Sallans

EQUAL GROUND interviews Ryan Sallans – a transgender man, International Speaker, Activist, Publisher and Author of the book, Second Son!

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-When did you first realize you were transgender?

In December of 2004, my girlfriend and I were combing through the bookshelves at Calamus Bookstore in Boston, MA. I was 25 years old at the time. While in the bookstore I purposefully bypassed the gay and lesbian sections, and moved into the transgender/transsexual aisle. It was there that I found the book, Body Alchemy, by Loren Cameron. My hands shook and a smile grew inch-by-inch as I flipped through the pages and looked at the pictures and stories of people who were born assigned female, but had transitioned to male. Unfortunately, my excitement wasn’t shared by my girlfriend, who simply looked over my shoulder, scrunched her nose and asked, “You don’t want to look like them do you?”

By the end of her question, my hands stopped shaking and my smile disappeared. I knew what I wanted, the thing I had just connected with, wasn’t something she would accept. When we returned home I began to research transitioning. I did this mainly through online personal web sites and support groups hosted by Yahoo!. I spent three solid months reading everything I could before I decided to begin my transition.

 

IMG_5696-Describe how beginning your transgender transition experience affected you physically and mentally.

 When I first came out as transgender I felt terrified and alone, but also elated and relieved. Information and support around being transgender was limited at that time, and my parents and partner were less than accepting of my decision to transition, but I finally understood who I was as a person. Knowing that I couldn’t share this excitement with my family or partner, I had to keep a lot of my feelings to myself and turn inward for any shred of support. Something that helped me process how my family and partner were reacting at this time was to remind myself that I needed to give them time to understand what being transgender is and what a transition will mean, not only for me, but for them.
-Was your home environment a supportive one given your situation?

As I mentioned in the last question, when I began my transition, my family and partner also began a transition, so it was hard for my home environment to be supportive right away. My parents had to wrap their heads around what it meant to have a son instead of daughter. They also had to process how it would feel for them to use a name and pronoun that wasn’t what they had given me. My partner had to wrap her head around what it would mean for her to be in a relationship with a man. As a lesbian, she also had to ask, how will my partner’s identity affect what other people think about me? How will my identity be seen? Will my community (the LGBTQ) still accept me?

When I put myself in their shoes, I had more understanding of their own processes. I knew that it would require time. It took me 25 years to realize I was transgender, so I shouldn’t have expected my family and partner to be 100% on board right after I came out. Of course, this awareness didn’t mean that it I felt okay with the way I was being treated, it still hurt. Fortunately, I was in therapy at this time, so talking with my therapist, helped shore me up when I was feeling defeated.

-Were there any instances of bullying that stand out in your memory?

When I was a kid, we always referred to it as teasing instead of bullying. I, unfortunately, was a prime target for jokes, rumors and harassment in my school and also at home. At school, kids teased me because of my appearance, and even kids from other schools would make comments about my body, clothing, or hairstyles. I remember, even when playing a basketball game, guys from the other team would shout things out about how I looked. One day, while sitting in math class, two of the popular guys sitting next to me said, “I wonder who could win in a fight between Kim (my old name) and Mike Tyson. . . Probably, Kim.”

While  walking down a street, or through the hallways of my school, I can’t even count the number of times little kids would yell at me, “Are you a boy or a girl?” or “Do you wear boy’s underwear?” I was already very insecure in my body, so the way kids would tease me just made me feel even more alien in my skin.

Unfortunately, the teasing didn’t end at school. I was also lectured at home about my appearance. My parents were not happy with how I dressed; they hated how I did my hair, and were frustrated by how I didn’t have any interests in make-up. When I was in high school, lectures from my parents about how I should look escalated. My mom even went so far as to take me into town to have a consult and demonstration with a Mary Kay make-up saleswoman. The day of my college graduation, I stepped out into our family room in a button-up shirt, linen pants that were slightly baggy and sport sandals, and right when my dad saw me he said, “That’s what you are wearing? You look like a slob.” No, congratulations or statement of being proud of me for not only graduating with two majors, but also with honors.

The insecurities I developed growing up, still follow me to this day.

IMG_5801-What are some of the legal and social challenges (like career-related discrimination for example) you have faced on coming out? 

Employment, restroom and locker room access, visiting a medical or mental health facility and meeting new people all can cause anxiety for transgender people. I have experienced discrimination in the past when applying and interviewing for jobs, where discovery of my transgender identity, ultimately led to me not receiving the position. One place went so far as to change the job description so that I would no longer qualify as a candidate. I considered taking legal action, but decided in the end it would not be worth my time or money, for two reasons: I live in a state where gender identity isn’t seen as a protected class, and it wasn’t an environment I would want to place myself in as an employee, even if I would have been officially offered the position.

Another legal challenge that I had to undergo was related to health insurance coverage and medical procedures. In August of 2006, I underwent a total hysterectomy. This procedure had been pre-certified by my health insurance company, after it was completed, a peer-review board stated it was medically necessary, but four months after this review, the insurance company sent me and the hospital a letter stating that “the gender didn’t match the surgery” (my gender on my insurance card had been changed to male when I began working for an organization where I didn’t want everyone to know I was transgender). The insurance company asked for their money to be refunded, and then I was sent the bill. In response, I contacted a friend of mine that was a lawyer with a non-profit organization, and he helped me file an appeal. It took us two-months to compile everything. The day that I went to mail my appeal, it looked like I was sending off a full manuscript instead of just documents. Fortunately, my appeal was approved, but since that experience, I am terrified of going to the doctor and using my health insurance.

-What has changed since the time you first came out that might alter how other trans  people experience life?

 I am still in awe regarding how much has changed over the past ten years for the transgender community. The way the online world has exploded, the way politics is evolving, and how much mass media is focusing on transgender identities today is astounding. This isn’t to say we don’t have a lot of work to do, but ten years ago, at least where I lived, trans identities remained silent and untouched. To give you a few examples of how things have changed, currently there are nine states, plus the District of Columbia that ban discrimination by insurance companies around excluding transition-related care. In 2014, it was ruled that Medicare will cover transition-related care for transgender people, no longer seeing the medical needs as experimental, cosmetic or unnecessary procedures. More and more colleges and universities are moving toward changing their policies and procedures to be trans-inclusive, including women-only institutions. And the United States Justice Department has announced that transgender identities fall underneath the category of sex discrimination, giving transgender employees more workplace protections than what they have had in the past. Again, with these advancements and changes, it doesn’t mean that everything is wonderful and covered for transgender people, but barriers that seemed impossible to break down ten years ago, are and will, continue to change.

-What are some misconceptions of being a FTM transgender person would you like to clear?

 I would say the biggest misconceptions people have about transgender people overall is that we are freaks, confused, sexual predators, or have a mental illness. The other misconception that just makes me want to scream is that transgender people are a threat to other people in public restrooms or locker rooms. These viewpoints are ridiculous and extremely offensive. To everyone out there, trans folk use restrooms for the same reasons everyone else does, there is nothing else going on. So please, let us move past this idea that a trans person is just going to start flashing their genitalia or look under stalls to see other people, it is offensive, and is causing further unneeded distress and anxiety for the community.

I would say the biggest misconceptions people have about transgender people overall is that we are freaks, confused, sexual predators, or have a mental illness. The other misconception that just makes me want to scream is that transgender people are a threat to other people in public restrooms or locker rooms. These viewpoints are ridiculous and extremely offensive. To everyone out there, trans folk use restrooms for the same reasons everyone else does, there is nothing else going on. So please, let us move past this idea that a trans person is just going to start flashing their genitalia or look under stalls to see other people, it is offensive, and is causing further unneeded distress and anxiety for the community.

-Where do you think the world is right now when it comes to the acceptance of transgender people when it comes to jobs, the way they are portrayed in the media, etc. and what do you think can be done to make people understand it better?

Every place in the world is different regarding acceptance and inclusion of transgender people within their culture. In October of 2014, I had the great fortune of being sponsored by the United States Embassy to visit Mexico City and speak at the International Lesbian and Gay World Association (ILGA) Conference. I met transgender people from around the world there, and I was both inspired and empathetic from the stories I heard around how they were treated in their countries.

In looking at the United States, I feel the increase in: visibility through mass media, professional associations recognizing the need for competent and accepting care, providers interested in transgender medicine, federal and state policies that are inclusive of transgender people, all put us in a place where we are not the best, but we are definitely not the worst. For example, we are seeing more parents coming out and supporting their transgender or gender creative children. And we are seeing a push for schools and curriculums to move away from gender binaries, i.e., segregating classrooms and activities into boys and girls, and also looking at ways to provide a safe-learning environment for transgender students.

Yet, while we have made great strides, the trauma and distress that we see statistically regarding the transgender community is disheartening. In 2010, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) along with the National LGBTQ Task Force conducted a national online survey of transgender people across the nation. There were almost 6,500 respondents, and what they found regarding employment, mental and physical health, family acceptance, treatment by law enforcement, violence, discrimination in public spaces, and the risk of suicide was disheartening.

While more and more people are becoming aware of transgender issues, people in power who are completely ignorant on the topic are pushing back and trying to further control and marginalize transgender people, either through ridiculous bills that may be voted into law, or policies within institutions that are used to isolate transgender people from others.

To improve our country and the awareness around transgender identities, we need to continue to share our stories, push back and fight policies that will only cause further harm, and allow time for people who are not wanting to harm us, but just don’t quite get it, to find that place where they finally understand.

-What made you want to become a motivational speaker?

 I attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Anthropology, Master of Arts in English, and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology. So, even prior to my transition, I was a professional speaker and sexuality educator. After I began my transition, I found that when I shared my own transition story, the audience was more empathetic and open to learning about transgender identities. I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a motivational speaker, but I do find that some people find motivation from the presentations that I deliver. I’ve been a public speaker since 1999, and feel very fortunate for the places that I have traveled, the people I have met, and the stories that have been shared with me along the way.

bookpose6 -You are also now an author. What was your motivation in choosing to write your critically acclaimed book “Second Son”?

 Having a Masters’ degree in creative writing, I decided to write a book, to show not only a transgender narrative, but to share a story from someone in the Midwest. Oftentimes folks in the Midwest are ignored, or seen as not being as important because we don’t live in the big cities. I wanted people to know that trans people exist everywhere, and the issues that impact folks on the coast, also impact us in the middle. Another reason I wanted to publish a book is that transgender men are often invisible when it comes to coverage, so I hoped that my story would help increase interests in the lives of transgender men, as well as be a supportive text for people with a trans identity.

 

-You are a renowned motivational speaker and author. What would your advice be to other FTM transgender persons out there who feel there is no hope when it comes to relationships, intimacy, careers, bullying and other discrimination and having confidence?

 My advice for anyone, whether they are a trans man or of a different identity is first, to not give up hope. This can be difficult, I know because I still struggle, but sometimes we push and push to try to find acceptance from people that cannot give it, when what we should really be doing is finding a home and place within ourselves; in order to understand more of where we should be looking and what type of people we should be letting into our lives. Transitioning can also be very overwhelming. I remember how I felt when I first began my transition process and when I speak with people who are newly beginning their own journey I can see the bewilderment in their eyes, which can quickly move to discouragement.

I try to reassure people that their transition will happen, it just will not happen all at once. I then try to help people think about both short- and long-term goals. I ask, what is something you feel you could focus on right now that could help you feel like you are moving forward? Then, what would be your goal by this time next year? How do you see yourself in 20 years? After hearing people’s answers I restate the importance of giving themselves time, and to appreciate the process that they are in at the moment, for example, if someone is just starting on hormones, I suggest that they revel in it, journal about it, take photos for their own personal library and hold onto the joy they may feel. As you move further into a transition, life moves further away from your trans identity, which can sometimes be frightening because you’ve spent so much time focusing on the transition that you may lose other parts of your identity. The second book I am writing is focusing on this place, and the journey that I am now creating that goes beyond being trans.

-Last but not least, what in your opinion makes a “man”?

This is a difficult question to answer because gender is a part of our identity, but it is not all of our identity. For someone to be described as a “man” or a “woman” we are not describing the whole person. So, when I hear what makes a “man,” I’m left with a question mark because it should really be, what makes an authentic person? I think this is a question that we can all explore. For me, what makes an authentic person is someone who is open to exploring the complexity around who they are, how they feel, and what is right for them in terms of expression. Then taking that understanding and finding pride in the fact that you don’t have to conform to a stereotype, a box or a role, we are all unique and there can never be one definition that summarizes who we are as individuals.

 

Sri Lankan Cricket Fan uses derogatory language on Aussie player

PRESS RELEASE

COLOMBO 11th March 2015 

On the 8th of March 2015, Australia played against Sri Lanka at the Sydney Cricket Ground emerging victorious in reaching the quarter finals. A crowd amassing thousands cheered Maxwell on as he propelled Australia to victory over Sri Lanka completely oblivious to the anti-gay slur upheld by the fan written in Sinhala. The photo went viral on Sri Lankan social media showing a man in a Sri Lankan cricket jersey brandishing a sign that labelled Maxwell a “fag” in Sinhala during the Cricket World Cup match.  The word Ponnaya, which was penned in Sinhala on the poster is a derogative word to describe an effeminate gay man but is used widely as a term similar to ‘faggot’ to denigrate homosexual men in general.

Sri Lankan social media swiftly moved to condemn the actions of the man responsible for labelling Glenn Maxwell a ‘Ponnaya” thus using the derogatory slur.   Despite Australians not understanding the Sinhala word on the placard, Sri Lankans both living in Sri Lanka and abroad were appalled by the audacity of the man whose placard insulted an Australian cricket player on their own home soil and disrespected the LGBTIQ community both nationally and internationally.

Sri Lankan politician Malsha Kumaranatunge who happens to be the daughter of the previous Minister of Sports, Jeevan Kumaranatunge, was quoted on social media saying:

 “Cricket is a game you play with respect. Respect for your own team but most importantly, respect for your opponents. Holding placards like this, insulting players of the host country, in their own soil, is not only disrespectful to the people of Australia but reflects us Sri Lankans in a poor light. Using homophobic terms to insult opposing players or anyone is un-acceptable. Cricket is for everyone. Whether you are Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu, rich or poor, gay or straight. Respect.”

The son of former Cricket Captain Arjuna Ranatunga, Dhyan Ranatunga too mentioned he did not understand the people who seemed to find the actions of the man who used the homophobic slur to be funny and a “joke” and considered the actions of the perpetrator of the homophobic slur at the match to be contrary to the concept of cricket as a “gentleman’s game”. 

He went on to further condemn the man by saying; “This is just pathetic and disgraceful by whoever this guy is, and also to anyone who sees this as a joke. Cricket is supposed to be the “gentlemen’s game”, and this certainly isn’t an act of any ‘gentleman’. He’s disrespecting the game of cricket, and Sri Lanka too! He’s not a fan of cricket, not a fan of Sri Lanka. It’s such a shame he’s wearing a Sri Lanka jersey! We are better than that!”

Aritha Wickramasinghe who is an ardent Sri Lanka cricket fan and a renowned lawyer at an international law firm too vehemently opposed the usage of the homophobic slur telling trusted LGBTIQ news source Pink News:  “Homophobia in sport, especially in Cricket, is something that all cricket loving nations must get together to tackle. Using gay slurs such as this at a World Cup is insensitive and insulting to the millions of young gay men and women that endure discrimination and violence because of who they chose to love. As a Sri Lankan Cricket lover, I am ashamed of fans like this. This is not funny and it certainly isn’t cricket.”

EQUAL GROUND, Sri Lanka’s only truly mixed organization advocating the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning persons in Sri Lanka, is appalled by the action of the man responsible for the homophobic insult during the cricket match that has since made news in International media and portrayed Sri Lanka in a negative light. As an organization striving for equal rights and respect for LGBTIQ persons, an already marginalized and stigmatized minority in Sri Lanka, EQUAL GROUND views the blatant disrespect shown by the man in question as furthering the notion that it is acceptable to discriminate against the already vulnerable LGBTIQ community.

 “The fight for equal rights remains a major obstacle so long as respect for all sexual orientations and gender identities are denied both in sport and out of it. Sport banter is not a justification for downplaying players of any team by using derogatory and discriminatory remarks that are racist, sexist, ableist, transphobic or homophobic in nature,” said Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of EQUAL GROUND. 

EQUAL GROUND profusely apologizes to Glenn Maxwell on behalf of all Sri Lankan Cricket fans – whether they agree or not with the apology – for being denied the respect every cricket player rightfully deserves from an opposing team and its fans.

EQUAL GROUND urges the Sri Lankan government and the respective cricket boards of Sri Lanka, Australia and New Zealand and the ICC to take up this matter seriously and enable special measures and protocols to ensure no disrespectful, discriminatory and defamatory remarks are ever tolerated within the arena of cricket in any country.

 

 

maxwell

POSITIVE OUTCOME AT THE UN FOR LGBTIQ COMMUNITY IN SRI LANKA!

Colombo, 15th October 2014:  There is finally good news from the UN for the LGBTIQ community of Sri Lanka.  In an unprecedented statement the Government of Sri Lanka informed the Experts Committee reviewing Sri Lanka for ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) that “Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) is protected under Article 12 of the Sri Lankan Constitution.”

Earlier, the The Experts Committee requested the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to respond to several questions regarding sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Para five of the list of issues (LOI) submitted by the expert committee asked:

Please indicate the measures taken to protect persons from stigmatization and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and indicate whether they are protected by the constitutional provisions on non-discrimination”. 

While not responding to the question on protection the GOSL stated:  “Article 12 of the Constitution recognizes non-discrimination based on the grounds of race, religion, language, caste, sex, political opinion, place of birth or any one of such grounds as a Fundamental Right.  This measure protects persons from stigmatization and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identities.” 

 The full report can be viewed on the OHCHR website – CCPR/C/LKA/5, para. 339.

Following up on this statement, during the review held on the 7th and 8th of October 2014 at the OHCHR in Geneva, the Government was asked to explain the following:

  • What has the government of Sri Lanka done to amend article 12 of Sri Lankan Constitution to include SOGI?
  • Why has the Government not decriminalised Homosexuality?
  • What is the Government intending to do to protect LGBTI persons in Sri Lanka?

In reply, Ms. Bimba Jayasinghe Thilakeratne, Additional Solicitor General with the Attorney General’s Department in Sri Lanka made the following observations:

“Article 12.1 ensures equality for sexual orientation and gender identity.”

 “Article 12.2 Laws discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are unconstitutional.”

 “Sections 365 and 365A of the Penal code do not target any particular group but is there to protect public morality.”

 While Sri Lanka did not directly answer the questions posed, the answers given by the Additional Solicitor General can be viewed as a positive response.

In this regard, the Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND had this to say:  “We are extremely pleased with this outcome and applaud the government for clarifying the interpretations of the Constitution and the law regarding SOGI in Sri Lanka.  While this may not rain sunshine for the LGBTIQ community just yet, there is now at least, a sense of hope things will start changing in Sri Lanka and that the LGBTIQ community will be able to hold their heads a bit higher as the days go by.  We also urge the Government to open dialog with the LGBTIQ community, particularly those advocating for better treatment and equality for LGBTIQ individuals in this country and put in place, nondiscriminatory laws and statutes that will protect our community.”

EQUAL GROUND submitted 2 shadow reports for this review collaborating with the Center for International Human Rights or Northwestern Law School, the global Initiative for Sexuality and Human Rights of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights for the first and Kaleidoscope Australia for the second.

Contact:

EQUAL GROUND, Sri Lanka
Tel: +94-11-2806184/ +94-11- 5679766
Fax: +94-11-2805704

Email: equalground@gmail.com
Web:  http://www.equal-ground.org
Web Blog: https://equalground.wordpress.com

Twitter:  _equalground_

Facebook: www.facebook.com/EQUALGROUND

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/equalground123
“Equality for all Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities: Human Rights for everyone”

 

SETTING THE RECORD ‘STRAIGHT’

Much has been said, written and blogged about the LGBTIQ community here in Sri Lanka with even more being said about EQUAL GROUND, its ED, staff and members.  This is our attempt to set the records straight and answer those out there that insist on spreading spurious fabrications about us and the community we work for.

One of the most serious, misleading and false accusations is that all homosexuals are pedophiles.  EQUAL GROUND therefore has been charged with spreading homosexuality and thus in these insane mindsets, responsible for spreading pedophilia in this country.

All homosexuals are pedophiles

A number of researchers have looked at this question to determine if homosexuals are more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexuals, and the data indicates that that’s not the case.

For example, in a 1989 a study led by Kurt Freund of the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Canada, scientists showed pictures of children to adult gay and straight males, and measured sexual arousal. Homosexual men reacted no more strongly to pictures of male children than heterosexual men reacted to pictures of female children.

A 1994 study, led by Carole Jenny of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, surveyed 269 cases of children who were sexually molested by adults. In 82% of cases, the alleged offenders were heterosexual partners of a close relative of the child, the researchers reported in the journal of Pediatrics. In only two out of 269 cases, the offender was identified as being gay or lesbian.

“The empirical research does not show that gay or bisexual men are any more likely than heterosexual men to molest children,” wrote Gregory M. Herek, a professor of psychology at the University of California at Davis, on his website. Herek, who was not involved in the 1989 or 1994 studies, compiled a review of research on the topic.

Homosexuality is an illness

 

Psychology viewed homosexuality in terms of pathological models as a mental illness through the early years and most of the 20th century. Specifically labeled as androphilia; the attraction to masculinity, gynephilia; the attraction to femininity, ambiphilia; the attraction towards both masculinity and femininity. Although these terms are not defined as gender-biased concepts, it was most commonly used in attempt to diagnose homosexuality and bisexuality. These classifications were reasons for much research but no empirical or scientific basis was found to classify homosexuality as a disease or abnormality. This led to professionals in medicine, mental health, and behavioral and social sciences to oppose the then existing assumptions about homosexuality.

Since the 1970s, the consensus of the behavioral and social sciences and the health and mental health professions globally,  is that homosexuality is a normal variation of human sexual orientation, while there remain those who maintain that it is a disorder. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder. The American Psychological Association Council of Representatives followed in 1975. Thereafter other major mental health organizations followed and it was finally declassified by the World Health Organization in 1990. Consequently, while some still believe homosexuality is a mental disorder, the current research and clinical literature demonstrate that same-sex sexual and romantic attractions, feelings, and behaviors are normal and positive variations of human sexuality, reflecting the official positions of the World Health Organisation, American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association.

 

Homosexuality is unnatural

 

This is such a common sentiment here and in fact, is still listed in the Sri Lanka Penal Code which refers to Carnal intercourse against the order of nature.  Time’s Health and Family magazine debunks this theory in an article that asserts; it’s (homosexuality) a common trait, found in up to 10% of the population. It appears to run in families, suggesting that it is hereditary, at least in part

 

The article says that while homosexuality may not be written in our DNA sequence it is written in how our genes are expressed.  In other words, in certain modifications to how and when DNA is activated.  These changes can have environmental roots, so are not normally permanent enough to be passed from parent to child.  But occasionally, they are.”

Sergey Gavrilets, a NIMBioS researcher and an author on the paper that outlines the new theory of homosexuality, published in The Quarterly Review of Biology says: “It’s not genetics. It’s not DNA. It’s not pieces of DNA. It’s epigenetics.”  Specifically, the new theory advocates that homosexuality is due to epigenetic marks, or “epi-marks” which relates to the sensitivity to hormones in a mother’s womb.  Gavrilets and his colleagues believe that gene expression may regulate how a fetus responds to testosterone, the all-important male sex hormone. They further argue that epi-marks may help to buffer a female fetus from high levels of testosterone by suppressing receptors that respond to testosterone, for example, (thus ensuring normal fetal development even in the presence of a lot of testosterone) or to buffer a male fetus from low levels of testosterone by up-regulating receptors that bind to the hormone (ensuring normal fetal development even in the absence of high levels of testosterone). Normally, these epi-marks are erased after they are activated, but if those marks are passed down to the next generation, the same epi-marks that protected a man in utero may cause oversensitivity to testosterone among his daughters, and the epi-marks that protected a woman in utero may lead to under-sensitivity to testosterone among her sons.(Read the full article at: http://healthland.time.com/2012/12/13/new-insight-into-the-epigenetic-roots-of-homosexuality/)

Homosexuality has been scientifically documented in more than 450 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and other animals across the planet BIOLOGICAL EXUBERANCE, Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl.  In fact some say that there are over 1500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and other animals display homosexual tendencies. 

Rather scientific, yes!  Hard to understand, maybe!  But scientific data does not lie and, as more and more data becomes available, it will prove undoubtedly what LGBTIQ activists and others have been saying for decades (and that which Lady Gaga so beautifully sang ) – “Born this way.”

Sad that we have to emphasize this but we must due to the many falsehoods being spread about EQUAL GROUND and its work. EQUAL GROUND is a professional nonprofit organization seeking equal rights for the LGBTIQ community of Sri Lanka. We are not pedophiles, we are not carnal perverts, we are not a match making service, we do not provide advice on sexual acts and we are not a house of prostitution!

 

LOGO FOR PRIDE!

Your design maybe the next proud logo for Colombo PRIDE 2013. 

Calling all designers young and old, gay or straight – design the next logo for Colombo Pride 2013 and stand a chance to win fabulous prizes!  In addition, the winning design will be featured in all Colombo PRIDE 2013 publicity, including media adverts and articles, on tickets, posters, banners, and will be featured prominently on our website, blog and social media sites.  The winner will be interviewed for Rainbow News and Youtube (only if the winner is agreeable!).

Annual PRIDE celebrations – an important event in the Sri Lankan Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning community’s (LGBTIQ) calendar – have been held for the past 8 years in Colombo and its suburbs. Colombo PRIDE affords the LGBTIQ community of Sri Lanka the time and space to stand proud and tall and join with each other to truly celebrate diversity!  Colombo PRIDE is not just a celebration for the LGBTIQ community only.  Colombo PRIDE urges and encourages everyone and anyone to participate in the festivities and celebrate Diversity in a very special way!  Diversity is the nucleus of this country and we should all get together and join hands in making every single citizen of this country – whether gay or straight, male or female, Sinhala, Tamil, Burgher or Muslim – feel proud to be SRI LANKAN!

Competition details:

  • Your logo must be a dynamic representation of the Diversity of the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ community and LGBT Pride.
  • You cannot (obviously) duplicate any other organization’s logo, or any other Pride celebration logo!  We want something original, dynamic, colorful and hip!
  • You must be Sri Lankan and live in Sri Lanka to be eligible.
  • You can send in as many as 3 entries each.
  • Your entries must be submitted in 300dpi (and above) TIFF and JPEG images by email to: colombopride2013@gmail.com.
  • Each entry must have your name, email address and phone number and must be sent individually.
  • The decision of the judges consisting of members of the Colombo PRIDE 2013 subcommittee and the EQUAL GROUND Board of Trustees is final.
  • All logos once submitted will be the property of Colombo PRIDE and EQUAL GROUND (the convener of Colombo Pride).

A CASH PRIZE OF RS.10,000 PLUS 5 FREE TICKETS TO NEXT YEAR’S (2013) ROCKING RAINBOW PRIDE PARTY WILL BE AWARDED TO THE WINNING ENTRY. 

Entries must reach us by 5pm (Sri Lanka standard time) on December 31st 2012.

Happy designing!

To view details of the organisation and its work – please go to http://www.equal-ground.org

இளைஞர்கள், வயதானவர்கள், ஓர் பாலின சேர்க்கையாளர்கள், எதிர் பாலின சேர்க்கையாளர்கள் – அனைத்து வடிவமைப்பாளர்களுக்குமான அழைப்பு!

கொழும்பு பிரய்ட் 2013 இற்கான அடுத்த பெருமை மிக்கஇலச்சினையை வடிவமைத்து, அற்புதமான பரிசுப் பொருட்களை வெல்லும் வாய்ப்பை பெற்றுக் கொள்ளுங்கள்.மேலும் வெற்றி பெரும் இலச்சினை ஊடக விளம்பரங்கள், கட்டுரைகள், நுழைவுச்சீட்டுக்கள், சுவரொட்டிகள்,விளம்பரப் பலகைகள் உட்பட, கொழும்பு பிரய்ட் 2013 இன் அனைத்து விதமான விளம்பரப்படுத்தல்களிலும்இடம்பெறும். முக்கியமாக எமது இனணயத்தளம், வலைப்பதிவு, மற்றும் சமூக ஊடகத் தளங்களிலும்காட்சிப்படுத்தப்படும். வெற்றியாளருடனான நேர்காணல் வானவில் செய்திகள் மற்றும் யூ டியூப் போன்றவற்றில் வெளியிடப்படும் (வெற்றியாளரின் சம்மதத்துடன் மட்டும்!).

வருடாந்த பிரய்ட் கொண்டாட்டம் – இலங்கையின் ஓர் பாலின சேர்க்கையாளர்கள் (Lesbian, Gay), இரு பாலினசேர்க்கையாளர்கள் (Bisexual), மாற்றுப் பால்நிலையினர் (Transgender), இருபால் அங்க உடலினர்(Intersex) மற்றும் தமது பாலியல் நாட்டம் பற்றி தெளிவற்ற சமூகத்தினரின் (Questioning Community) – LGBTIQநாட்காட்டியில் ஒரு முக்கியமான நாள். இது கடந்த 08 வருடங்களாக கொழும்பு மற்றும் புறநகர்களில் இடம்பெற்று வருகின்றது. கொழும்பு பிரய்ட், இலங்கையின் LGBTIQ சமூகத்தினர் பெருமையுடன் ஒருவருடன் ஒருவர் இணைந்து, உண்மையாக பல்வகைமையை கொண்டாடுவதற்கான நேரத்தையும், இடத்தையும் வழங்கிவசதி அளிக்கின்றது! கொழும்பு பிரய்ட் LGBTIQ சமூகத்தினருக்கு மட்டுமான கொண்டாட்டம் அல்ல. கொழும்புபிரய்ட் அனைவரையும் மட்டும் அன்றி, எவரையும் எமது கொண்டாட்டங்களில் பங்குபற்றி பல்வகைமையைவிசேடமான முறையில் கொண்டாடுமாறு வலியுறுத்துகிறது, ஊக்குவிக்கிறது! இந்நாட்டின் கருப்பொருள் பல்வகைமை. ஆகவே, நாம் எல்லோரும் ஒன்றிணைந்து, கைகோர்த்து இந்நாட்டின் ஒவ்வொரு பிரஜையையும் உருவாக்க வேண்டும் – ஓர்பாலின சேர்க்கையாளர்களாக இருக்கலாம் அல்லது எதிர்ப்பாலின சேர்க்கையாளர்களாக இருக்கலாம். ஆணாக இருக்கலாம் அல்லது பெண்ணாக இருக்கலாம். சிங்கள, தமிழ், பர்கர் அல்லது முஸ்லீமாக இருக்கலாம் – நாம் எவராக இருப்பினும் இலங்கை நாட்டவராக இருப்பதை எண்ணிப் பெருமைப்படுவோம்!

போட்டி விபரங்கள்:

• உங்கள் இலச்சினை, இலங்கையின் LGBTIQ சமூகத்தினது பல்வகைமையையும், LGBT இன் பெருமையையும், சக்தி வாய்ந்த முறையில் பிரதிநிதித்துவப்படுத்த வேண்டும்.

• நீங்கள், இன்னும் ஒரு நிறுவனத்தின் அல்லது வேறு பிரய்ட் கொண்டாட்ட இலச்சினையை போன்ற ஒன்றை வடிவமைக்கக் கூடாது! ஆக்கபூர்வமான, முனைப்பான, கவர்ச்சியான மூலப்பிரதியே எமக்கு வேண்டும்!

• நீங்கள் இலங்கை நாட்டவராகவும், இலங்கையில் வசிப்பவராகவும் இருக்க வேண்டும்.

• நீங்கள் ஆகக்கூடியது 03 ஆக்கங்களை அனுப்ப முடியும்.

• உங்கள் ஆக்கங்கள் 300dpi, TIFF மற்றும் JPEG படமாக, மின்னஞ்சல் ஊடாகcolombopride2013@gmail.com என்ற முகவரிக்கு அனுப்பி வைக்கப்பட வேண்டும்.

• ஒவ்வொரு ஆக்கங்களும் உங்கள் பெயர், மின்னஞ்சல் முகவரி மற்றும் தொலைபேசி இலக்கம் என்பவற்றை கொண்டிருக்க வேண்டிய அதே நேரம், அவை தனித்தனியாக அனுப்பப்பட வேண்டும்.

• கொழும்பு பிரய்ட் 2013 இன் உபசெயற்குழு மற்றும் ஈகுவல் கிரவுன்ட் (EQUAL GROUND)அங்கத்தவர்களை உள்ளடக்கிய நடுவர்களின் தீர்மானமே இறுதியானது.

• சமர்ப்பிக்கப்பட்ட அனைத்து இலச்சினைகளும் கொழும்பு பிரய்ட் மற்றும் ஈகுவல் கிரவுன்டின் (EQUAL GROUND – கொழும்பு பிரய்டின் அவைகூட்டுநர்) உடைமை ஆகும்.

வெற்றியாளருக்கு 10,000/= ரூபாய் பணப்பரிசுடன் அடுத்த வருட (2013) களியாட்டங்கள் மிக்க ரெயின்போ பிரய்ட் (Rainbow Pride) கொண்டாட்டத்திற்கான 05 நுழைவுச்சீட்டுக்களும் பரிசாக வழங்கப்படும்.

உங்கள் ஆக்கங்கள் 2012 டிசம்பர் 31 ஆம் திகதி, மாலை 5 மணிக்கு (இலங்கை நேரம்) முன்னதாக எமக்கு அனுப்பி வைக்கப்பட வேண்டும்.

சந்தோஷமாக வடிவமைக்க எமது வாழ்த்துக்கள்!

எமது நிறுவனம் மற்றும் அதன் பணிகள் பற்றி மேலும் விபரங்களை அறிந்துகொள்ள ABOUT US என்ற பொத்தானை அழுத்துங்கள்.

2013 වසරේ කොළඔ අභිමානී සැමරුමේ නිළ ලාංඡනය සඳහා නිර්මාණ ඉදිරිපත් කර අගනා තත්‍යාග දිනාගන්න. මේ සඳහා කිසිඳු වයස් භේදයකින් හා ලිංගික නැමියා භේදයකින් තොරව සැමටම නිර්මාණ ඉදිරිපත් කළ හැකි අතර ජයග‍්‍රාහී නිර්මාණය 2013 වසරේ කොළඔ අභිමානී සැමරුමි නිල ලාංඡනය ලෙස යොදාගනු ලැබේ. එලෙසම ජයග‍්‍රාහී නිර්මාණය සියළුම මාධධ්‍යයන් වල( ටිකට්පත් වල, පෝස්ටර් හා අනෙකුත් අභිමානී සැමරුම් ප‍්පපචාරය වන අතර ජයග‍්‍රාහී පුද්ගලයාගේ කැමැත්ත මත යූ ටියුබ් ජාලය වෙත ඔහුගේ හෝ ඇයගේ සම්මුඛ සාකච්චාවක්ද කෙරෙනු ඇත.

වසර 8ක කාලයක් පුරා අභිමානී සැමරුම ශ‍ලංකා සමසෙනෙහස් ප‍පජාව හා සංක‍්‍රාන්තික ලිංගික ප‍පජාවගේ දින දර්ශනයේ විශේෂ තැනක් ගනු ලබන්නේ එහි වචනයේ පරිසමාප්ත අර්ථයෙන්ම ඔවුන්ට විවිධත්වය සැමරීම සඳහා වන එකම තෝතැන්න වීම එහි විශේෂත්වය නිසාමය. කොළඔ අභිමානය තම විවිධත්වය සැමරීමට සැමට දිරිදෙන අතර ඕනෑම කෙනෙකුට මෙ සඳහා එක්විය හැක.එලෙසම කොළඔ අභිමානී සැමරුම සමසෙනෙහස් ප‍පජාව සඳහාම වෙන් වූ සැමරුමක් පමණක් නොවේ, ලංකාවේ වෙසෙන සෑම පුද්ගලයෙකුගේම තම විවිධත්වය කුමක් වුවත් ශ‍ලාංකිකයකු වීමෙ ප්‍රෞඩත්වය සැමරීම සඳහාමය.

තරඟ විස්තර

නිල ලාංඡනය කොළඔ අභිමානී හා විවිධත්වය නියෝජනය විය යුතුයි.

වෙනත් සංවිධානයක හා අන්තර්ජාලයෙන් උපුටා ගන්නා ලද ලාංඡනයන් ඉදිරිපත් කළ නොහැක.

ඔබ ශ‍ලාංකිකයකු විය යුතු අතර ශ‍ ලංකාවේ පදිංච් කරුවෙකු විය යුතුය.

එලෙසම මේ සඳහා එක් පුද්ගලයෙකුට නිර්මාණ 3 බැඟින් එවිය හැක.

ඔබේ නිර්මාණ 300 dpi TIFFත්‍ හෝ JPG ආකාරයට සකසා colombopride2013@gmail.com විද්‍යුත් තැපෑලට යොමුකළ යුතුය.

සෑම නිර්මාණයක් සමඟම ඔබේ නම, විද්‍යුත් තැපෑල් ලිපිනය සහ ජංගම දුරකථන අංකය සඳහන් කළයුතුය.

අප ආයතනයේ භාරකාර මණ්ඩලයේ තීරණය තරඟාවලියේ අවසාන තීරණය වේ.

නිර්මාණ එවා අවසන් වූ පසු එම නිර්මාණ අප ආයතනය සතු දේපලක් වේ.

ජයග‍්‍රාහී නිර්මාණය සඳහා මුදලින් රු.10,000 තත්‍යාගයක් හා ලබන වසරේ පැවැත්වෙන වර්ණවත දේදුනු සාදයේ ටිකට්පත් 5 ක්ද පිරිනමනු ලැබේ.

සියලුම නිර්මාණ දෙසැම්බර් මස 31 වෙනි දින සවස 5.00 ට පෙර එවිය යුතුය.

16 Days of activism

16 days of Activism marks the global campaign committed to ending Gender Based Violence. For 16 days this campaign will work towards eliminating violence and abuse against women world-wide.

EQUAL GROUND dedicates the 25th of November to the 10th of December to all Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender women who have been victims of violence, abuse and injustice.
According to much research, LBT Women  are doubly victimized- Firstly, for been women and secondly for belonging to the LGBTIQ Community.

Through this page we hope to empower these women & spread awareness on relevant issues that LBT Women face in their day-to-daylives.
We urge YOU to join us in our efforts to step up & take action to empower and strengthen the lives of ALL Sri Lankan women.

Like us on Facebook, send us your messages of solidarity and record your stories (you need not use your real name) of violence and discrimination with us…we can help you make a difference for all of us by posting your stories! Send us your stories ateg.16days@gmail.com

ගෝලීය වශයෙන් පවත්වනු ලබන කාන්තතාවන්ට සිදුවන ප‍්‍රචන්ඩත්වයට එරෙහි දින 16 කි‍්‍රයාදාමය

ලොව වසන සෑම කාන්තාවක්ටම සිදුවන හිංසනයන්ටඑරෙහි හඩගසයි.

නොවැම්බර් 25 වෙනිදා සිට දොසැම්බර් 10 වෙනිදා දක්වා සමසෙනෙහස් ද්වි සෙනෙහස් සංක‍්‍රාන්ති

ලිංගික කාන්තාවන් වෙනුවෙන් වෙන්කරනු ලබන අතරඔවුන්ගේ ජිවිත නගා සිටුවන්නට ක‍්‍රියා කරයි.

ඔබගේ කථාවන් අදහස් හා හිංසනයන්/ප‍්‍රචන්ඩත්වයන්ට එරෙහි ඔබෙ පණිවිඩය අප වෙත එවා

හිංසනයන්ට එරෙහි හඩනගන්නට අප හා එක්වන්න. eg.16days@gmail.com

உலகத்தில வாசிக்கும் அனைத்துப் பெண்கள் பாதிக்கப்படும் வந்முரைஹளுக்க

எதிராக இந்த 16 நாட்களின்நடவடிக்கை உலக முழுதாக குரல் எழுப்பும்.

ஈக்வல் கிரவுண்ட் இம் மாதம் 25 திக்கத்தில் இருந்து டிசம்பர் 10 திகதி

வரை ஒர்பாலின , ஈர்பாலின மற்றும்அரவாணிகள் முகம் குடுக்கும்

வன்முறைகளுக்கு எதிராக குரல் எழுப்புவதற்கு தயாராக இருக்கிறது.
நாங்கள் நம்ளுடன் சேர்ந்து இவ்வகையான வன்முறைகளுக்கு எதிராக

குரல் எழுப்புதட்கு உங்களைதுரிதப்படுத்துகின்றோம்.
இந்த வன்முறைகள் சம்பந்தமாக தங்களின் கதைகள், கருத்துக்கள்

நம்ளிடன் அனுப்பி தங்களின் இதயத்தில்ஒர்பாலின , ஈர்பாலின மற்றும்

மீது இருக்கும் ஆதரவு தேர்வுக்க வேண்டும் என்று அன்புடன்

அழைக்கின்றோம் eg.16days@gmail.com

TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBERANCE

 

 

EQUAL GROUND launches Facebook page in support of transgenders in Sri Lanka in commemoration of Transgender Day Of Remembrance 2012. We not only support transgender people and their decision to see their true selves, we also believe in the true human dignity of all transgender people. Please join us in supporting our Sri Lankan transgender community by posting your messages of support on Facebook.

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Transgender-Day-of-Remembrance/560229504002981?sk=info


සංක්‍රාන්තික ලිංගික ප්‍රජාවගේ සැමරුම් දිනය නිමිත්තෙන් ඊක්වල් ග්‍රවුන්ඩ් සංවිධානය නව ෆේස් බුක් පිටුවක් එළිදක්වනු ලබයි.  අප අපගේ සහයෝගය පමණක් නොවේ සබැ මනුෂ්‍ය ජීවිතයකට දිය යුතු ගෞරවයත් අපි ඔවුනට පුදකර සිටින්නෙමු.   ශ්‍රී ලාංකික  සංක්‍රාන්තික ප්‍රජාව වෙනුවෙන් ඔබගේ පණිවිඩය අප වෙත එවා ඔබගේ සහයෝගය දක්වන්න  

ஈக்வல் க்ரவுண்ட் , திருனர்களின் நினைவு நாள் கொண்டடுவதட்கும் அவங்களுக்கு ஆதரவு செளித்தரத்துக்கும்  புது பக்கம் திருனர்கல்காகவே தொடங்கிறது . நாங்கள் திருனர்களுக்கு  நம் ஆதரவு மற்றும் அல்ல மனித உயிர்களுக்கு செலுத்தவேண்டிய கௌரவமும் தெரிவிக்கின்றோம். தயவுசெய்து  தங்களின் கருத்துகலை நம்மளுடன் பகிர்ந்துக்கொண்டு   திருனர்கள்மீது தங்கள் இதயத்தில் உள்ள அன்பு தெரிவிக்க வேண்டும் என்று கேட்டுக்கொல்கில்றோம்
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