Gay Guide

Sri Lanka
Pink Star Rating

4

Capital

Columbo

Other Main Cities/Resorts

Dehiwala, Moratuwa, Jaffna

Scene and Culture

There is a sizeable gay population in Sri Lanka but many gays and lesbians cannot come to terms with themselves due to family pressures and behavioral expectations imposed by Sri Lankan culture. A gay identity does not make much sense to many homosexuals. Male homosexuality in any event is illegal. There is no gay scene in the western sense in Sri Lanka but there are several gay groups who lobby for reform and provide support and counseling to gays and lesbians. Many of these groups also organise occasional gay events such as parties and outings. Sri Lanka has a lot to commend it but we would not recommend it as a specifically gay destination.

Gay Age of Consent

Illegal

Lesbian Age of Consent

Not mentioned in law

Legal Notes

Homosexual acts between men, regardles of age, are prohibited under Section 365a of the Penal Code with a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment. The law is not enforced and there have been no prosecutions for 50 years but in a largely Buddhist country homosexuality is seen as a sin. Local gay groups complain that the mere existence of the law is enough for the police and anti-gay groups to brand gays and lesbians as "perverts" and lawbreakers. They argue it is discriminatory and stigmatises gays and lesbians leading to abuse of gay people in their community. In 1996 The Sri Lankan gay group "Companions On A Journey" was established. During it's 6 year existance has suffered harassment including assaults on its founders, death threats and the stoning of its offices. There is still rampant homophobia in Sri Lanka for example the Sri Lankan Press Council ruled in favour of a paper that published a letter saying convicted rapists should be let loose amongst a lesbian conference to give them "a taste of the real thing".

Population

19.24 million

Currency

Rupee SLRs

Climate

The best time to visit Sri Lanka is during the slightly cooler and drier months of November to March. Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with little seasonal variation in conditions and humidity, which is frequently around 90%. The island experiences the SW Monsoon in May and the NE Monsoon in November. Average annual precipitation varies between 1,270 mm and 1,900 mm on the southeast plains to between 2,540 mm and 5,080 mm on the southwest plains. Average temperature ranges in Colombo are from 23c to 31c and from 14c to 24c in the highlands.