Not lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people, but British Foreign Policy creating divisions
Posted on August 2nd, 2017

by Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy The Island

It takes courage to admit one’s failings and even more to try and rectify it. That is why British High Commissioner James Dauris’s ’50 years on: LGB&T Rights brings success’, which was published on 27 July 2017 in The Island opinion column, must be applauded. Indeed, it is a heartening story he relates, of Britain’s march to civilization. As he himself admits, Britain has a long way to go still.

HC Dauris, if he moves away from the cocktail circles, and cares to be objective and true to his conscience, will find he is in the right country in this endeavour. The lessons here, if he learns, will be of immense value to Britain to have inclusive and fair relationships in its own society as well as with other countries, especially with non-Caucasian people.


This country, conservative as its society maybe, is neither intrusive nor judgmental as the British establishment has sadly been. HC Dauris remembers Alan Turin, who was persecuted to the extent he committed suicide. Most unfortunately, Turin is not the only illustrious figure who had contributed immensely to Britain to be hounded as the biography of Oscar Wilde reveals. Little comfort to that great mind to be pardoned in 2017, when in his living years he was condemned to two years of hard labor that destroyed his health, for most of his sentence denied even a pen or paper, shamed and ostracized him even from his loved ones, to die in exile in utter penury.

In this country people talk, but that talk has all the weight of a helium balloon. The Opposition has repeatedly accused key members of the present cabinet of the same crime that Wilde was accused. Compromising images of certain powerful ministers have even made its rounds in social media. That,

however, did not stop us from voting for this government, and today, among the accused are some of the most powerful ministers in this government.

As far as people here are concerned, two consenting adults are only answerable to their mothers on these issues. On the other hand, we attach importance to matters that directly impact us. That is why the extremely charismatic Mahinda Rajapaksa was ousted, despite freeing our country from 30 years of terrorism. Despite his past performance, the mounting accusations of corruption became a grave concern. Therefore, people voted for a government who promised good governance, ignoring that key members are openly supportive of LGB&T rights.

Some of the accused have been Members of the Parliament for decades and that proves that LGB&T had never bothered Sri Lanka. The reason those accused of LGB&T could not still sit on the coveted executive presidential chair is not because of their sexuality, but because of the bad advice they get from Britain and her immediate neighbours; the very same advice has them so unpopular today that they fear even a local government elections!

As a consequence of this fear, the dengue epidemic has gotten out of control in 2016 and 2017. The terror we eradicated by annihilating the LTTE appears to have made a comeback in the form of a dengue mosquito. Yet, the advice from Britain is to enact the Geneva Resolution to the last letter. That advice is like the Sinhala adage: “Where are you going-coconuts in the bag”!

It is not only in politics that Sri Lankans accept LGB&T as a personal choice. Had HC Dauris visited Sri Lanka perhaps a decade ago, he would have enjoyed entertaining himself at a certain restaurant whose co-owner was openly a transvestite. In fact, the restaurant walls were adorned with his photographs in various clothing typically worn by females. Though not an alpha male, he was more masculine than feminine. His ample ‘curves’ betrays his love for exquisite dishes. Thus, to see him in tiny tutus was a sight indeed. Yet, that did not stop Colombo from loving his cooking.

The Sri Lanka Tourist Board regularly relied on him to host visiting international chefs with culinary shows viewed world over. Hence, not only have we accepted him for who he is, we are also proud of him for the asset he is to our culinary and hospitality industry. It was certainly not because of his fetish and sexual preferences his restaurants eventually closed down, but his poor management of finances.

Another person we are equally fond of puts up the funniest stage comedies. Even after this person underwent a sex change operation his plays continues to draw its audiences. He is criticized only when his plots become predictable.

HC Dauris very correctly notes, “There is more to be done on our journey towards being the inclusive and fair society we aspire to be.” However, Britain recognizing LGB&T are also people, who have the right to choose their lifestyles, is only a fetal kick in their endeavor to be an inclusive and a fair society. The main hindrance that stands in Britain’s way is not LGB&T; it is their blatant hypocrisy.

The British PM May, vows not to let human right laws hound the British soldier for defending British interests. Yet, that same British government, in which the British foreign services play a decisive role, has thrown its full weight behind those baying for the blood of our own soldiers for defending the sovereignty of our own country. Our soldiers did not invade another country, on some flimsy pretext, nor did they destabilise and destroy a region. On the contrary, in fact the North and East are now stable Provinces. If our soldiers have committed excesses, it is nothing compared to the war crimes committed by the British soldiers, which is summarily dismissed as “unfortunate collateral”. The atrocities committed in suppressing the 1818 Uva fight for freedom is just one example.

One may argue that our soldiers fought against our own citizens, whereas Britain fought against enemy states. Yet, in the guerrilla movement to oust the British from Malaysia in 1948, the Commonwealth soldier fought against British subjects as Malaysia was then under the British. It is alleged that as a warning, captured guerrilla fighters were crucified and left in the hot sun to die.

As HC Dauris passionately endorses the need to be inclusive and fair, he must question the rationale of all British dignitaries, from Tony Blair downwards, of making a beeline to the North to shake hands with the Tamil National Alliance, ignoring everyone else in the country. What is so inclusive about the TNA? It is questionable how those who are insisting on accountability as the British Government overlooks the TNA’s shameful past, where they allowed their terrorist arm to forcibly use Tamil children as young as eight as cannon fodder. At the very least, does the TNA represent the entire Tamil community in Sri Lanka? Would they welcome the Upcountry Tamils, who they consider to be low caste, to the North and the East?

Or, is it that the British dignitaries are curious about this Opposition – the only one of its kind in the World, perhaps – that is working hard to keep this government in power?

As the British representative, why hasn’t HC Dauris requested the British dignitaries to call on the representatives of other communities? The Buddhist prelates wield much influence over the Sri Lankan society and it is to them we all go when faced with a problem. Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith is greatly respected by even non-Catholics. Why are they being ignored by the British dignitaries? Is it because, they do not yearn for the British colonial days as the TNA does? The Cardinal is on record that Kandy is the example of peaceful cohabitation of different religions living in perfect harmony next to each other. He points out that the Catholic Church, the Muslim mosque and the four Hindu Devales are all besides the Temple of the Tooth, which is the center of Buddhism that is the following of the majority of the population. Are such observances an inconvenience to the British foreign policy?

If HC Dauris is genuinely desirous of being inclusive and fair, he must understand that it is not LGB&T that is creating the divisions in our society. It is governments such as his, that deliberately take sides in our internal conflicts, to keep our countries from stabilizing and progressing. As a consequence, we are eternally in debt. That debt is translating itself into an invasion on our sovereignty.

Thus, HC Dauris must understand that LGB&T is not the problem in this country. If he genuinely thought it was, and did not broach it simply to distract us, then he must sit down and do some serious homework, as his knowledge of his host country is far from satisfactory. He will then understand the despicable role his own country is playing to tear the inclusive and fair societies in countries like Sri Lanka’s. Then he must advise his government to stop dancing with the devil’s advocates such, from shielding criminals like Adele Balasingham, who has committed many crimes against humanity, and give us space to find our own solutions to the problems created by the ancestors of British foreign services. Only then can Britain safely reach its destination of becoming a civilized society that is inclusive and fair.

50 years on: LGB&T equality brings success


By James Dauris 
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka

James Dauris

On 27th July the United Kingdom will mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. On this day in 1967 the Sexual Offences Act was passed, decriminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults over the age of 21. Homosexual acts had until then been outlawed by legislation passed in the nineteenth century.

Today we take pride in the UK’s commitment to non-discrimination on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity. We talk openly about our commitment to promoting and protecting rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people, recognizing not only that they deserve to be accorded the same dignity, respect and rights as other citizens, but that it’s in all of our interests that this is so.

This was not always the case in the UK and our history has its own sad stories of discrimination and marginalisation. One of the most striking of these is that of Alan Turing, the genius who cracked the Nazi enigma code and whose work gave birth to the modern computer. (The 2014 film “The Imitation Game” is based on his life and work.) Turing was prosecuted and punished in the 1950s under penal code provisions criminalising homosexuality. The trauma of his ordeal led him to commit suicide in 1954.

2 Responses to “Not lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) people, but British Foreign Policy creating divisions”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    MR lost the Elections in Jan 2015 :
    We think it was not due to some corrupt elements in the MR Govt, but due to other reasons.

    One reason was because he was going to tie up the SL Rs. to the Chinese Yuan for a period of 3 yrs.

    The other item was the exposure of the mini-subs in the Vanni tied to the LTTE (suicide squad).

    And, of course, the MR Govt did not stop the war with the LTTE as requested by some in the West, or allow the rescue of the LTTE leaders etc from the Vanni.

    It was a hard time, calling for hard decisions. MR made them all, at high cost.
    What a pity that the high powers did not like that (Naheta ahanne na ! – high powers want puppets like you-know-who !).

    Strange acts from the high powers, when the USA trained the SL Army in the South !

    Some things are stranger than fiction, isn’t it ?

    We are still with MR – he is our Sri Lankan Hero !!

  2. Christie Says:

    What is this High Commissioner talking about, What about your Sharia law and Honor Killings.

    I challenge you to criminalize Caste based discrimination which your government has put aside due to High Caste Indian Lobby.

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