Bendr Magazine


Derived from ‘Gender Bender’, Bendr is a community: a design and dialogue platform that attempts to bend gender norms by facilitating open but safe dialogues on all things gender and sexuality in Sri Lanka. We run as a private group and dialogue on various topics each week, which are presented as a series of simple yet vibrant graphic designs that inspire dialogue and debate. Few in Sri Lanka are familiar with feminist and gender thinking outside academic circles and this also provides us opportunity to present these concepts and theory in simple and easily digestible visual content.

We’re proud of the little community we’ve helped bring together and plan to keep growing organically. Topics range from Gender Stereotypes to Gender and Sexuality, Sexual & Reproductive Health (SRH), gender identity and more. One week we talk about sexual harassment and the next week we explore transgender issues or how society views masculinity.

The number of sub-topics we can dialogue on are endless because of the way gender has embedded itself into just about everything around us.

Since March 2019, we have already designed and created over 350 pieces of thematic content on these varying topics. We have also found a successful mix of vibrant visuals and insightful writing that inevitably gets the conversation going. What began as a small initiative to engage our friends in a healthy dialogue on gender and sexuality resulted in impacts we didn’t imagine. Word spread, many people joined the dialogue organically and have now begun talking about gender in their own circles of line. Several local (Sunday Times, Pulse, The Morning) & regional publications (Indian Women Blog) also featured our work and impact on society even at a fledgling stage. With zero funding or ad-spend, we have managed to make big waves in terms of encouraging a wider dialogue around gender and sexuality. But this is only the beginning.


BendrMag is BENDR’s newest venture. With the kind support of FPA, IPPF and some of our own funding, this new online magazine is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka: a features magazine on all things gender, sexuality, feminism and more - but targeted to an all-island, trilingual audience in an attempt to help get the narrative right on these communities by offering a space for new and seasoned queer/feminist voices to share their thoughts, stories, videos and voices in a public space.

We find that mainstream media often presents the narrative incorrectly, address women and queer idententities mistakenly, write irrelevant content that doesn’t relate to present audiences - and simply omit the story altogether sometimes. In this context, BENDR felt it important to carve out a new media space for our communities and that’s exactly what The Bendr Magazine is all about! Join us, read us, create for us - our closet doors are always open!