Women and Media Collective launch Report ‘Disrupting the Binary Code: Experiences of LGBT Sri Lankans Online’

Kathmandu (Pahichan) January 26 – The Women and Media Collective (WMC) at the Lakshman Kadirgarmar Institute today launched a report entitled ‘Disrupting the Binary Code: Experiences of LGBT Sri Lankans Online’. The report was the research launch of the EROTICS project, supported by the Association for Progressive Communications. The EROTICS research unpacks the ways in which sexual minorities in Sri Lanka harness their rights on the internet.

The first part of the research, Virtually Queer: Human Rights of LGBTQ Sri Lankans in the Online Space, by Paba Deshapriya and Michael Mendis, examines the landscape of ICT policy and sexual rights in the country. It provides a broad overview of the socio-political environment in which LGBTQ Sri Lankans live. The second part of the study, Not Traditionally Technical: Lesbian Women in Sri Lanka and Their Use of the Online Space, by Dr. Shermal Wijewardena and Subha Wijesiriwardena is an analysis of how Lesbian women engage with the online space. This section brings to light the gendered and sexualised experiences of Lesbian women’s online engagements. Against the backdrop of the criminalisation of homosexuality in Sri Lanka, which subjects the LGBTQ community to various forms of discrimination by the state and society, this study looks at how freedom of expression online can contribute to breaking taboos and amplifying the voices of sexual minorities in Sri Lanka.

The event consisted of the authors of the report presenting their findings, followed by the reviewers of the research (Zainab Ibhrahim and Jayanthi Kuru-Utampala) sharing salient points of the studies, and finally the opportunity for members of the audience to ask questions and share their thoughts on the presentations made. Bakamoono’s English Editor Sharanya Sekaram attended the event and captured some of the discussion on Twitter which can be read here.

The report is yet to be made available online but to obtain a hardcopy please contact WMC.