Butterflies for Democracy

The Butterflies for Democracy will stand in solidarity along with allies, family and friends of the LGBTIQA community to protest the blatant disregard for democracy currently prevailing in the country. We will come together on 7th December 2018 at Lipton Circle from 4pm till 6pm to demand that sanity, democracy and decency prevail and that the rights of the LGBTIQA community be recognized.


For over 135 years, the LGBTIQA community has been marginalised and discriminated against due to archaic British Laws that were introduced in 1883, which our Governments have clung on to for over 70 years of independence in order to vilify and marginalise our community. Meanwhile, the UK and 35 other Commonwealth Countries have moved to remove these laws. As recently as weeks ago, our neighbour India decriminalised consensual same sex relationships, freeing over 200 million LGBTIQA persons from under the yoke of British Colonial laws. We ask, why not Sri Lanka?

Politicising and denigrating the LGBTIQA community has been the mantra of conservative politicians in order to garner votes and scare people into thinking that being LGBTIQA is some sort of sickness or perversion – neither of which is true and neither of which can be proved scientifically or medically.

We are gathering at Lipton Circle to remind the President and politicians of this country that we represent a large voter base in this country. We also remind the very same persons that the Constitution of this country protects our rights as equal citizens and that we must be treated as such. We demand that democracy prevails and insist that democracy is nothing without equality, respect and dignity for all citizens of this country. We stand in solidarity with the many groups who have been speaking out for the same in this moment in time, and warmly invite them to join us.
Contact: butterflies4democracy@gmail.com
#butterfliesfordemocracy #LGBTIQ #LKA #democracy

Continue reading this…

We shall be the Butterflies for Democracy

The ‘First Citizen’ of our country who was elected by our vote and subsequently betrayed the public mandate, has resorted to using the term ‘Butterfly’, a derogatory term alluding to minority sexual orientations. He has done so to hurt, shame and insult his political opponents and the LGBTIQ+ community as a whole, in order to protect his waning popularity and to justify his anti-democratic acts. We stand here today in protest to the aforesaid act and in support of the continued protest by civil society to the ongoing attack on our democracy.

We weren’t hurt by the President’s Butterfly Speech. It made us stronger. A butterfly is a symbol of social change, hope, life, and diversity. But we are hurt that the politicians in the ‘current government’ led by him have betrayed the values of democracy. We are hurt because these politicians, who were elected through the public vote, have become marketable goods auctioned for offers worth millions.

Many of us supported Mr. Sirisena in 2015 to defeat the previous government which blatantly violated human rights, attacked and murdered journalists and social activists, and breached law and democracy. We condemn his repulsive act of reuniting with anti-democratic politicos of the previous government and conspiring to grab power for them, in the process, betraying the trust we placed upon him.

This is a reminder to him that he cannot use homophobia as armor to protect himself, and that he and every other public representative and political party should act to pave way for the Sri Lankan LGBTIQ+ community to live with dignity, respect, and equality of law and justice.

Furthermore, with utmost disgust, we vehemently condemn the blatantly one-sided media reportage and political interference in the media, which is apparent in the present context. Media Freedom is the foundation of democracy.

Homophobia is a concept introduced by the British, an imperialistic endowment born in the Victorian age of Morality. It has been 70 years since we gained independence. The contract adhered to by the British administrators of governance back then is continued by our own politicians. It will be a huge mistake on their part to believe that they could cling to power anti-democratically by sacrificing not just us, but the rights of all minorities, by spreading racism, religious disharmony and instigating ethnic conflicts.

We, as the ‘Butterfly’ community, vehemently condemn this ongoing conspiracy which is anti-democratic and power-hungry. We believe that human rights are protected in a democratic society. We ‘the butterflies’ will keep on fighting to protect it. The world can be changed, not by violence, but by the sound of a thousand butterfly wings rising for peace, justice and respect. Therefore, we shall be the Butterflies for Democracy. Every single insult and attack against us is an encouragement for us to continue our struggle.

Butterflies for Democracy

07th November 2018
Liberty Roundabout

Continue reading this…

Find peace of mind: free counseling service for LGBTIQ persons

LEARN MORE

EQUAL GROUND is hiring.

Organization Profile

EQUAL GROUND Sri Lanka works for the social, political, civil and economic rights of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) community of Sri Lanka. Our work revolves around raising awareness and engaging in high level advocacy work that takes place domestically and internationally. We are on the lookout for bright and dynamic individuals who would like a career in advocating for LGBTIQ rights.

During our hiring process we will be focusing on the following competencies.
• Valuing Diversity and Inclusion
• Decision Making
• Problem Solving
• Teamwork
• Motivation
• Work Ethic
• Integrity
• Adaptability/Flexibility

Remuneration will depend on qualifications/experience at industry standard with EPF & ETF.

Media & Communications Officer

Job Description
We are currently recruiting individuals with experience in the field of Media and Communications. The Media and Communications officer is expected to create and distribute communication material for EQUAL GROUND such as draft press releases, website copy, social media content, newsletters, and other copy, with a focus on clear, jargon-free messaging. They are also expected to manage EQUAL GROUND social media profiles and engage with other stakeholders in sourcing content and advertisements for the EQUALITY Magazine.

Qualifications & Requirements
• A combination of education and experience in Media and Communications is required. Sound knowledge about Social Media platforms
• Understand and follow oral and written instructions
• Excellent administrative and coordination skills, with experience of working in a similar role, in a busy and fast paced environment
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word and Excel in particular)
• Storing initiative and ability to work a minimum of supervision
• Ability to multitask, working with several jobs simultaneously and to agreed deadlines.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English proficiency a must

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Graphic Designer

Job Description
We are currently recruiting individuals with experience in the field of Graphic Design for our Media and Communications Unit. The Graphic Designer is expected to create communication material for EQUAL GROUND for Social Media, Publications and so on. They are also expected to manage EQUAL GROUND social media profiles and engage with other stakeholders in sourcing content and advertisements for the EQUALITY Magazine.

Qualifications & Requirements
• A combination of education and experience in Graphic Design is required.
• communication skills are critical to the job as Graphic designers communicate ideas through text and image
• Graphic designer need to be a creative thinker
• needs to be comfortable with design software, such as Quark, InDesign, and Adobe
• should be fluent in multiple programming languages (including HTML and CSS) as well as web design content management system platforms, such as WordPress
• strong time management skills – able to multitask, juggle multiple assignments over long periods, and meet all established deadlines
• need to know how to develop legible, well-designed type. Knowledge of color theory is critical
• Sound knowledge about Social Media platforms
• Understand and follow oral and written instructions
• Excellent administrative and coordination skills, with experience of working in a similar role, in a busy and fast paced environment
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word and Excel in particular) aswell as Design products such as AI, Photoshop, Quark, InDEsign etc.
• Storing initiative and ability to work under minimum of supervision
• Ability to multitask, working with several jobs simultaneously and to agreed deadlines.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English proficiency a must – Sinhala and/or Tamil also a necessity

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Senior Project Officer

Job Description
We are seeking bright and enthusiastic individuals with excellent administrative and organisational skills to lead our Project Implementation Team. Minimum 2 years experience in project and budget management is highly desirable.
Working closely with the Executive Director, the Senior Project Officer will be responsible for:

• Full administration and coordination of projects throughout the planning, implementation and dissemination cycle.
• Planning, organising and facilitating meetings, workshops and training programs with a strong attention to detail. (all Trainings provided in this area)

Qualifications & Requirements
• Sociology/Human Rights, or Social Sciences degree level of education or equivalent experience.
• Excellent administrative and coordination skills, with experience of working in a similar role, in a busy and fast paced environment
• Experience of working with multiple stakeholders, internal and external, ability to deal with people at all levels
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (Word and Excel in particular)
• Familiarity with basic financial documents (e.g. invoices, order forms, timesheets) to high level of numeracy and in-depth knowledge of financial documents, budget management or accounting experience for the senior role
• Ideally some line management experience is required for the senior role
• Accuracy and attention to detail
• Storing initiative and ability to work a minimum of supervision
• Ability to multitask, working with several jobs simultaneously and to agreed deadlines.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English proficiency a must – Additional language skills in Sinhalese and or Tamil desirable.

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Legal/Advocacy Officer

Job Description
Working closely with the Executive Director the Advocacy Officer will play a key role in conceptualizing and executing Domestic and International policy advocacy strategies to implement EQUAL GROUNDs strategy goals for 2018-2020. The Officer will actively contribute to EQUAL GROUNDs global and country-level advocacy strategies, building awareness and support for LGBTIQ rights while engaging with domestic and international stakeholders.

Qualifications & Requirements
• Lead and support the development of compelling advocacy products (policy briefs, presentations, speaking notes, etc).
• Support the development of background materials to support policy advocacy (briefing notes, meeting frameworks, concept notes, etc).
• Attend high level advocacy meetings with stakeholders.
• Ability to work in a fast paced environment and delivering high-quality work under tight deadlines.
• Exceptional skills in analyzing and communicating complex information in an accessible way for a non-technical audience.
• Bachelors or Masters degree in International Development, Public Affairs, Law, Political Science, or a similar field with a minimum of 3 years’ experience.
• Background in gender studies, human rights and/or law is an asset.
• Excellent English and Sinhala or Tamil writing and presentation skills essential.

Some domestic and/or international travel may be required.

To apply, please email your CV with two non-related references to equalground@gmail.com. Please mention the job position you will be applying to in the subject.

Office Manager

Job Description
The Office Manager will be responsible for providing a wide-range of support to the Executive Director and the Project and Media & Communications Staff. This includes, but is not limited to calendar management, handling personal logistics, coordinating with stakeholders and other types of administrative support. The office manager will work independently and with a deep sense of urgency to ensure that the director’s needs are supported in a professional and confidential manner.
They will also be responsible for the upkeep of office premises and human resources management.

Qualifications & Requirements

• Ensure office-based team’s needs are met regarding supplies.
• Manage and maintain director’s schedules, requiring interaction with both internal and external and coordinate a variety of meetings and trips.
• Provide collaborative professional support using independent judgment and discretion to ensure optimal work, confidentiality and information flow.
• Manage logistics, timelines and calendars to ensure the most effective use of the director’s attention and focus.
• File and retrieve corporate documents, record, and reports.
• 2+ years of progressive responsibilities providing high level administrative support.
• Demonstrated proficiency in Google Suite applications with the ability to learn other technology as needed.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills, along with editing and proofreading aptitude.
• Ability to manage multiple priorities, projects and display flexibility in a fast-paced and changing work environment.
• Must demonstrate a high level of responsiveness in communicating with employees of all levels and other external constituents using all forms of communication.
• Interest in LGBTIQ issues
• English and or additional language skills in Sinhalese or Tamil.

We are an EQUAL OPPORTUNITY employer.

Continue reading this…

Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo PRIDE 2018 launches

PRESS RELEASE

Launch of the Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo PRIDE 2018

COLOMBO, 28 June 2018–The Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo PRIDE, organised by LGBTIQ+ advocacy organisation EQUAL GROUND, launched on 28 June 2018. The Festival is supported by the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Sri Lanka and the Maldives and a number of European Missions based in Colombo and New Delhi. The festival was opened by Chief Guest Nimmi Harasgama.

The festival, which runs from 29 June – 1 July at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute auditorium, will showcase 17 critically-acclaimed, LGBTIQ+ themed films from Europe and Asia.

Speaking at the launch of the festival, Chargé d’affaires of EU Delegation, Paul Godfrey said, “LGBTIQ rights remain largely unrecognised in Sri Lanka and of course legal discrimination remains encoded in Sri Lankan law. This government has made a number of significant and important advances in human rights, but sadly ending discrimination against LGBTIQ people has not been one of them. The Abhimani European Film Festival is a celebration of our common humanity. The EU hopes that the festival will help showcase that lesbian and gay people around the world live normal lives, having the same successes, emotions and challenges that we all share”.

Executive Director of EQUAL GROUND, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera said, “For 135 years the LGBTIQ community has struggled under the yoke of colonial laws. These discriminatory laws have prevented the many men, women, and trans persons, all Sri Lankan citizens, from being productive and contributing members of society. This has to change. By highlighting our issues through Colombo PRIDE annually, we aim to bring attention to the many violations that take place based on just who one loves. This film festival highlights the peaks and valleys of Queer life in different countries–some good, some bad. However, the underlying theme is that freedom and dignity belong to all persons regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. Our issues must be given the space it deserves to bring attention to those who ignore or are ignorant that LGBTIQ rights are human rights”.

The Abhimani European Film Festival will feature films from Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, the UK, and Switzerland, as well as from India, Tonga, Taiwan, and Australia. This year’s festival brings together the European Film Festival, which promotes cultural exchanges between Europe and Sri Lanka, and the Abhimani Queer Film Festival, which celebrates and fosters an appreciation of LGBTIQ+ film.

For scheduling and information please check Abhimani

END

Contacts:
Political, Trade and Communications Section
Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives
Tel: + 94 11 2674413-4

Continue reading this…

Announcing the Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo Pride 2018

It is with great pleasure and pride that we announce the merging of the Annual European Film Festival with the Abhimani Queer Film Festival, one of the oldest Queer Film Festivals in South Asia.

COLOMBO PRIDE 2018 together with the Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and Maldives will collaborate to launch a unique and exciting Film Festival this year – The Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo PRIDE 2018 – featuring LGBTIQ films from across Europe and other regions of the world. The European Film Festival promotes cultural exchanges between Europe and Sri Lanka and aims to promote understanding between the people of Sri Lanka and Europe. The Abhimani Queer Film Festival celebrates Queer Cinema fostering an appreciation of LGBTIQ films from around the globe while promoting the support and acceptance of Queer Culture in Sri Lanka and abroad.

The Festival promises a great line up of short and full-length films primarily from Europe, in addition to Tonga, Australia and India.  It promises to be a unique cinematic experience for persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities and the first of its kind in Sri Lanka!

Dates -29th June 2018 – 1st of July 2018
Time -3.00pm – 10pm
Venue – Lakshman Kadirigamar Auditorium
Address – 24 Horton Pl, Colombo 07

For updates on programing, venues and times please check the Abhimani European Film Festival for Colombo Pride 2018 .

Continue reading this…