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What is the best way to understand someone? Empathy. Empathy is the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes, to feel and emotionally relate to what someone is feeling in order to understand the pain or bliss felt by another.

Picture this. You, a cisgender heterosexual (based on an assumption of course) is told that the attraction you feel for the opposite sex, the comfort that you experience in your own skin and gender is INVALID. You are told to “fix” yourself, to not give in to your hormones, that everything you feel, everything you ARE is against nature and cannot be accepted.

Let me try a much simpler approach. You have all been rejected by someone in your life. May it be by a crush, a loved one, your parents or mentors, or even by your friends. Rejection is very painful, isn’t it? It leads to self-doubt and rocks your very foundation. Until you are left with one question, WHY? Why wasn’t I accepted? Why wouldn’t they like me? What did I do wrong?

Questions that you get over with time, depending on where the rejection comes from. Now picture this time of uncertainty and multiply it ten folds, hundred folds! Imagine being rejected by all your loved ones. Imagine being rejected by random strangers on the internet, by friends and foe alike, rejected for your very existence, for who you are.

This is what the LGBTQIA+ community is faced with. REJECTION.

I believe that awareness is NOT what we lack right now. Everyone is aware of the community, the struggles faced by them, the backlash, the support, and the reach. Some of you probably even have friends in that community. You yourself might be a part of it, closeted or not.

Some understand, some refuse to. Some accept it as a part of the outside world but wouldn’t welcome it at their own front door. Some cry, others jeer. Some question and some feign ignorance. Some are closeted by choice, some are forced into it. Some pray for acceptance and some believe that rejection is the path to salvation. Some love, and some would call it anything but that.

But what we forget is, that we are all one and the same.

MY sexuality, MY sexual preference or MY gender isn’t what you should be judging ME on. What I think that I am today, my gender at this very minute, the attraction that I feel for another right now, is NOT, and never should be something that you put me down for.

Because, after all I am like you. A living breathing human, and that should be enough of a reason for you to respect me, my wishes, and my boundaries.

Photographs of the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting are laid out prior to the start of the 46th annual Gay Pride march June 26, 2016 in New York. New York kicked off June 26 what organizers hope will be the city’s largest ever Gay Pride march, honoring the 49 people killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre and celebrate tolerance.

In a very wholesome Australian parliament gathering at which the legalization of same sex marriages was being debated upon, parliamentarian Tim Wilson proposed to his partner of 9 years Ryan Bolger through a very emotional speech and said, “The rings we wear on our left hands are the answer to the question we cannot ask”. Moving the house to realize the lack of a humane approach towards the community and the reluctance in allowing a group of people to enjoy their civil rights, a basic human right. On a happier note, the following week Australia legalized same sex unions. Although Asian countries find it much more difficult to bring up these discussions, it is unavoidable that the community itself is gaining a voice, growing in numbers and deserves an address on such matters.

Keeping aside the fact that homosexuality yet remains to be decriminalized in Sri Lanka, it is quite concerning that we are yet to embark on a road to acceptance.  

Let me be honest, I’d rather if such a concept was not needed. If one could remain unquestioned for being a cis-hetero, then why do people identifying themselves as queer need such an acceptance?

But it would be foolish to believe in the existence of such a utopian world. Maybe, just maybe there might come a time in which coming out videos are unnecessary or is made common amongst those who are straight. A world in which inequality in all forms is abolished. Where women aren’t baby making machines and homosexuals aren’t pushed into conversion camps, forced to go against their nature. But reality strikes, and along with it comes the harsh truth for the need of acceptance. The need for moral support, hope and above all love is vital for this community to strive against those who wish ill upon them. To fight for something that is so freely enjoyed and taken for granted by those who aren’t queer. The right to live as they are.

Pride month celebrates diversity, by providing a bigger space for people to express themselves. It is a month to recognize people who fought, lived, and died at the hands of ignorance and cruelty in this fight for equality. From great mythological warriors like Achilles to the voice of the Bohemian Rhapsody singer Freddie Mercury, those who had struggled with acceptance are numerous. To be free of the judgmental gaze of this society, to be loved, embraced, and accepted for who you are and to celebrate yourself devoid of doubts and fear.

That is all that the queer community asks for, that is all.

Learn, respect and accept. Be an Ally, a Voice, and most importantly a glimmer of Hope.

Written by: Rtr. Abinaya Sritharan

Edited by: Rtr. Dinithi Wijayaratne

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FeaturedOur ProjectsYouth Time

Deja-vu – A weekend to remember


It was a lovely and glamorous Saturday morning on 13th of February 2021. All the 19 participants of “Deja Vu”, an outbound training program organized by the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School at Che Adventure park-Hanwella were super excited to get the day started.

Around 12.00noon Rtr. Theekshana picked me and Rtr. Sandithi, who was the chair of the project to pick up necessities for the games that were organized and also some snacks and drinks for the participants. We then picked up Rtr. Akila and Rtr. Lakshan on the way and finally headed to Che Adventure Park. We were the first to reach there so that Rtr. Sandithi could sort out some last-minute accommodation concerns that had risen. The rest of the club members, Rtr. Hasitha, Rtr. Mark, Rtr. Niflaz, Rtr. Rishad, Rtr. Kalani, Rtr. Ruwin, Rtr, Zara and Rtr, Raeesa were picked up by Rtr. Nadun and Rtr. Daksith and they reached Che adventure park around 3.30pm. After being greeted by a very refreshing welcome drink, we were settled in our tents by the officials at Che. We received two tents, each having 8 rather comfortable double beds, two washrooms and two shower cubicles.

After Rtr. Thisura, Rtr. Suwithi, Rtr. Hiru and Rtr. Asel arrived at around 4.30pm, the project officially kicked off. We divided ourselves into two teams and played cricket on the playground at Che until dusk came and we couldn’t even see the ball anymore. We decided to return to our tents to freshen up before dinner. But when we arrived at our tents, we were disappointed to find out that the electricity was cut off. Until that was restored, we played some songs in a JBL and all of us had a dance off.

When the electricity finally got restored everyone freshened up and gathered in front of our tents for the bonfire. After around half an hour of struggle to set it up, we had a gorgeous blazing fire, and everyone was mingling around it. Until the dinner was ready, we sang songs while sitting around the fire.

We then had a delicious dinner of egg fried rice, BBQ chicken, BBQ sausage, garlic bread, fried fish and a dessert of fresh fruits. We spent some more time talking and singing songs around the bonfire and then while some of the team went to bed early the rest of us stayed up playing Uno up until around 12am. I wish I could be all like “what happens in Hanwella, stays in Hanwella”, but I guess everyone has to know about how Hiru broke a bed at Che after coming and flopping onto it, sitting around and listening to Zara’s horror encounter and how Hasitha slept with a night mask of toothpaste. We then spent hours sharing stories with each other. We all know that 2am talks are what hits the deepest, so it was certainly a wonderful opportunity to get to know everyone better. Some of us who had severe insomnia and had nothing much to do then went for a drive at around 4.30 in the morning while the rest who were drowsy and tired went to sleep.

Everybody was up and about by 7 am, freshening up and having their morning tea that the Che team brought up to our tent. We then sat in front of the tent and spent some time talking to each other while the organizing committee sorted out the day’s activities. We went to breakfast at around 8 am. After heartily devouring the delicious spread of local breakfast varieties that the team at Che served us, we spent some time taking pictures while the organizers set everything up for the day’s activities.

The first was archery. A team member from Che instructed the participants on how to take an aim and also how to position the bow and arrow. Once everyone got the chance to shoot three arrows each the instructor moved onto speak about the riffle and how to maneuver it. Everyone got the chance of loading the gun thrice and shooting. After that everyone proceeded onto some games that the organizing committee had arranged.

The first was Hospital tag which focused on getting everyone to move. The second was human tangle where everybody had someone’s handheld and everyone had to untangle themselves without releasing their hand. The last game was one where 50 balls were collected in a pile in the middle of the ground and everyone was divided into two teams and they could only take one ball at a time and the team with the most number of balls won. Then a massive water balloon fight took place which was actually very refreshing since it was quite a hot day. All the games were very entertaining and made everybody bond better.

Since the checkout time was fast approaching, we didn’t get a chance to dip into the beautiful river. Therefore, all of us made plans to check out from Che Adventure park and head over to Rtr. Akila’s place. After a little airborne stunt that Theekshana pulled off which Sandithi claims to be a NDE, we arrived at Akila’s around 1pm.

All of us spent about an hour tucking into the mouth-watering takeout from a Chinese restaurant we grabbed on the way. Then we went and dove into the pool and spent about three hours of quality time there, playing games like piggy in the middle and just simply relaxing in the pool. The most exciting project yet in my Rotaract life thus ended with us heading home at around 6pm.

Written by: Rtr. Anjula Perera

Edited by: Rtr. Lakshan Banneheke

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FeaturedOur Projects

Journey as a Newbie


I joined Achievers Lanka Business School as soon as I was done with my A/Ls to pursue ACCA and after a month I was introduced to our exuberant club. When I initially joined Achievers to study ACCA, as everything was virtual, I didn’t know anyone at all and I didn’t have any friends to even ask for notes which I missed. Going from always being in school with friends around and doing adventures all around the school to having virtual classes from morning to evening and not knowing anyone and only having my screen as my friend was a disaster. I hope everyone could relate to this to some extent.

I would say joining Rotaract Achievers was one of the best decisions I made as that added spice to my disastrous online classes and made me more productive, energetic, enthusiastic and it kept me excited.

The first project that we were able to take part in was food voyeur which was similar to a culinary competition which was done virtually, which gave all of us an interest in culinary arts. From the time we joined the club, our club always gave as an opportunity to be the better version of ourselves while spreading positivity.

There on we were introduced to the rotation program where all the newbies of the club were rotated to all the avenues of the club, which gave us insights of all the avenues. I was first rotated to the Club Service avenue initially and I was amused with the fun filled activities of the club. This actually kick started my journey as a newbie since starting from an avenue like club service made me more enthusiastic and more excited. The first project I chaired was How dare you, which was a truth or dare game that we played among our fellow Rotaractors within the club to get to know each other, which led to everyone making new friends. My co-chair of this project was the first friend whom I got to know from our club (trust me unexpected friendships are the best!!!).

Thereafter I was rotated to the International Service Avenue where I chaired the project “Infusion” where we exchanged traditional food recipes with the Rotaract club De Beyrouth in Lebanon and attempted to prepare it. This time we had an opportunity to do this project physically where we all got together and made Falafel (recipe sent from the Rotaract club De Beyrouth). This project made us all learn a new recipe while having fun. Following the project Infusion, we had Karaoke night which was also a newbie project and which was the first project that featured all the club members to meet each other.

The final avenue that I was rotated to was Professional Development where I chaired the project “Hope” which was a workshop conducted to create awareness on depression and how to deal with the people with depression. This was a very impactful project that I believe will have a lasting impact on those who attended.

We were only able to rotate thrice due to the time constraint, yet it gave all of us a vast knowledge and an idea on what Rotaract is and more insights into our club. As we were able to chair projects, we were able to learn and write reports as well and got an exposure on how to handle projects within the club. The newbie rotation program gave me an opportunity to write reports for all 3 avenues which I was rotated to and it was then, that I learnt about writing reports for projects.

I was never a fan of editing and content writing. But this rotation program helped me develop my editing and content writing skills too.

The newbie rotation program benefited all of us in several ways. Especially this program was very helpful to improve my people skills. I have mentioned the benefits I gained from it throughout my blog.

Initially when I joined the club I had no idea on how exuberant it would be as all of us knew that we might not be able to do physical projects and everything is going to be virtual which will not be much interactive. But at the end I was ecstatic to see how most of our projects were carried successfully on virtual platforms, while we were also able to enjoy, have fun, learn and gain insights from them.

This rotation program played a vital role when applying for the Board of Directors as I had a firsthand experience and being in some of the avenues helped me to decide what fits me the best (I felt like Club Service/International Service suits me more) and I was able to gain knowledge on how each avenue works. I applied for Club Service and International Service as my primary and secondary avenues respectively and I got the opportunity to be the Club Service Directress of the Rotaract club of Achievers Lanka Business School for the year 2021/2022 and I am so excited to organize and chair more fun filled projects.

I would like to conclude by thanking the board 2020/2021 for coming up with this wonderful approach which involved all of us in our club projects which motivated us to be an active member and also for encouraging, motivating all of us to always be a part of the Rotaract Club of Achievers Lanka Business School.

Written by: Rtr.Sashmittha Manickam Kumar

Edited by: Rtr. Lakshan Banneheke

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The Lounge

The Lounge S2E8 – The Leader Behind Our Success


තිසුර කිව්වම ගැම්මක් තමයි ඉතින්…One of the most charismatic Leaders you’ll ever meet, with some invaluable advice for any Rotaractor or President, and finally revealing who his favourite Rotaractors are! 🤩🤭Presenting our beloved President Rtr. Thisura Ramanayake, with the Final Episode of ‘The Lounge – Season 2’. 🔥

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The Lounge S2E6 – “I’ll be there for you”


With two childhood best friends, a duo who hated each other at first glance but are now inseparable, and our ingenious Mastermind, they made an epic team! 🤩Here’s reflecting the journey of our Executive Committee, with some tactics they implemented to uplift our club against all odds this year! ✨

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The LoungeUncategorized

S2E5 – A Momentous PR journey


Which one of them tried taking a picture while hitting the maximum speed limit of the car?🧐 And which one of them drank a bottle full of paint without even realizing? 🥴
Meet our PR team as they share all their stories, with many constructive strategies and useful tips towards the success of Public Relations! 🤩

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The Lounge

S2E1 – The Story of Club Service


What better way to end the Rotaract year than look back at how you tackled a challenging journey together, and… roasting your president in public? 🤩🤭Meet our Club Service duo with the first episode of The Lounge – Season 2, and get ready to learn, laugh and grow. ✨Like and Subscribe 😍👉🏻

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