(New York) – Transgender people and others who do not conform to social expectations about gender face discrimination and abuse in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
The 63-page report, “‘All Five Fingers Are Not the Same’: Discrimination on Grounds of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in Sri Lanka,” finds that people who don’t conform to gender norms face arbitrary detention, mistreatment, and discrimination accessing employment, housing, and health care. The government should protect the rights of transgender people and others who face similar discrimination, Human Rights Watch said.
“They won’t protect someone like me,” said “Fathima,” a 25-year-old transgender woman in Colombo who did not involve the police after thugs beat her in 2012.
Transgender people also face discrimination in getting health care, including being labeled mentally ill; extra inquisitiveness and lack of privacy from medical staff; and unwillingness by some medical staff to tend to them.
“Their words are more piercing than needles,” one transgender man said of staff at public hospitals and clinics who asked unnecessary personal questions.