Since its founding in 2004, EQUAL GROUND has been committed to improving the conditions for LGBTIQ in Sri Lanka, where homosexuality is still criminalized.
EQUAL GROUND’s project focused on initiating change by engaging all youngsters, not necessarily LGBTIQ. In a two day workshop, the organization worked together with 25 recruited youth Agents of Change on three objectives: introducing LGBTIQ rights from a human rights perspective, encouraging them to spread this knowledge within their social environment and setting up collaborations between youth organizations. Monthly meetings were organized as a follow up on this 2-day gathering.
2 day youth workshop with 20 LGBTIQ people and straight allies representing the Sri Lanka Legal Aid Commission, Sri Lanka Law College, University of Colombo and the Youth Parliament. The following topics were addressed:
- Human rights and difficulties faced by LGBTIQ people in Sri Lanka;
- Gender identity and constructs, as well as patriarchal social structures;
- Gender-based violence;
- Sexual health, sexual rights, reproductive health and reproductive right;
- Communication skills;
- Assignment writing and techniques;
- Discussion and evaluation.
Field assignments included the introduction of human rights topics and LGBTIQ issues to peers. Follow-up fellowship meetings took place in order to:
- discuss how to best advocate in their communities;
- share experiences.
- Participants gained a better understanding on human rights and how stigma and discrimination of LGBTIQ people is an infringement of these rights;
- Attitude changes were accomplished after gaining better understanding of how gender and other constructs are used to suppress certain groups in society;
- Participants learned how to communicate various issues to their peers in a beneficial and non-confrontational way;
- Bringing together representatives of various youth organizations led to encourage further cooperation and collaboration.