Connect to share and comment

A guide to the dynamic economics, politics, and culture of the world's most populous region.

Sri Lanka's getting gayer, officials fret

Island's authorities report an "increase in the number of homosexuals"
Sri lanka gay 2011 09 23Enlarge
Models celebrate an annual Gay Pride week in a fashion show in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2010. Sex between men is a criminal offense in Sri Lanka and lesbianism has been officially labelled "sadism" but the island's gays are pushing to legalize homosexuality. (Ishara S. Kodikara/AFP/Getty Images)

Xinhua, China's state-managed news outlet, has produced a real doozy: an alarmist report about an increase in gays in Sri Lanka, an island nation off India's coast.

The report's headline, "SRI LANKA FACES INCREASE IN HOMOSEXUALS," sets the tone early. (The subjects of headlines usually "face" something unpleasant, such as a prison sentence or a disease outbreak.)

Sri Lanka's gay boom has somehow occurred "despite its strong Buddhist culture and traditions," Xinhua reports. Then we learn that "a survey conducted by the Sri Lankan Health Authorities have revealed that there are over 30,000 homosexuals and over 40,000 prostitutes in the island amongst its estimated 20 million population."

The rest of the report goes on to report brothels and disease alongside alongside vague warnings of a spike in homosexuals.

But at least the gays are studious, Xinhua suggests, as "most homosexuals are found to be in school and university hostels."

Still, whoever mans the Sri Lanka gay beat for Xinhua doesn't strike this sort of tone. Just a couple months back, the Beijing-based outlet published this humdrum report quoting a gay rights activist who's pushing for equal workplace rights.

Journalists chiding other journalists is tacky, but I can't help myself. Hey Xinhua, if you already had the gay rights activist's phone number, couldn't you attempt to get the other side of the story for your Sri Lankan-gays-are-all-diseased-hookers-in-college story?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/sri-lankas-getting-gayer-officials-fret