Attending the event were senior university lecturer Varadas Thiagaraja, lawyer and film director Visakesa Chandrasekaran, lawyer and journalist Radika Gunaratne and community activist Ibrahim Shadrach.
Should tender an apology
Thiagaraja said here that the president should tender an apology to the LGBTQI+ community and should accept responsibility if any harm came to a member of the community.
According to him, the worst harm from the president’s utterance was done to the poor segment of the community, who would be sidelined by society, lose their jobs and harassed by the police and state institutions.
He said the ‘butterfly’ reference was intentional and a major blow on the LGBTQI+ community.
Thiagaraja urged that the right of the community’s members to engage in politics be respected.
He also accused the president of completely disregarding the good governance policies.
A dangerous development
Film director Chandrasekaran said the president has compared Wickremesinghe’s political inabilities with his so-called, still unproven sexual inclinations, which is unacceptable.
Also, he has encouraged the public against the LGBTQI+ community, which is a very dangerous development.
He said, however, he had issues with Wickremesinghe too, as he has done nothing for this particular community.
Island mentality and protectionism
Joining in, lawyer Gunaratne noted the president was speaking about ‘butterflies’ after appointing the transgender Niluka Ekanayake as governor of the central province.
She questioned the right of political leaders to force LGBTQI+ members to live within a so-called cultural boundary.
According to her, most Sri Lankans cannot think beyond the ‘island mentality’, and president Sirisena was no different and has become a victim of protectionism.
He has blown a personal mistake out into national proportions, said Gunaratne.