Disrupting the Binary Code: Experiences of LGBT Sri Lankan’s Online, a research study looking at sexuality and ICT’s was launched recently. As part of the EROTICS South Asia Network, (short for exploratory research on ICT’s and sexuality), the study was conducted in partner with 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 Chapter 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 Chapter 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 pioneering study looks at how freedom of expression online can contribute to breaking taboos and amplifying the voices of sexual minorities in Sri Lanka.
At the launch a panel discussion was held with the researchers together with the research reviewers. Following the presentations on the findings of the research, there was an open discussion with audience members comprising of women’s rights and human rights activists along with members from the LGBT community from areas such as Colombo, Katunayake, Galle, Puttlam and Jaffna.