Bendr Magazine

In January this year, Rolling Stone published a cover of Dua Lipa to many eye rolls. I did a double-take. I had only heard her name in passing, never heard her music. But Dave Lachapelle‘s work shooting the cover story made me catch my breath – it was disco made divine. Writer of the article, Alex Morris’s sub headline reads: How Dua Lipa ignored the trends… and delivered the modern disco classic we didn’t know we needed.

For the longest time Disco was considered the 70s vile stepchild; shoved aside by music snobs and tossed in the direction of the queers. But queer culture embraced the sound. I listened to “Levitating“. Morris got it right. Suddenly, a new age Jackson 5 was booming through my speakers and I see half the world on a disco/funk trip these days. Even hard rock bands like The Foo Fighters released a disco album (Hail Satin) this year, covering songs by the Bee Gees! Gay, straight, feminist, ally and enemy alike are pulling out old records or scrolling through YouTube and Spotify playlists for Disco’s greatest hits. In the heart of this horrible Pandemic, Disco is giving the world a reason to dance again. 

The gay disco aesthetic, a cultural phenomenon that was was once “queer music” is now making a comeback right into the heart of the mainstream and back into hetero culture, from music to media and from apparel to art. Let’s celebrate this – just like Sri Lankan aunties and uncles have been doing so at our weddings for decades anyway. Just before the Baila starts, they gather round the dance floor to shake a tailfeather to music from a DJ with a limited repertoire, playing Boney M and the Village People. Disco has been a part of Lankan culture for as long as it has existed. And it has brought us together. That’s what Bendr & the The Magazine are all about too.

When we started putting this magazine together, the sparkly world of disco seemed the perfect way to respond to our inaugural issue. What better way to celebrate how much alike we are, by being ourselves and bending out of someone else’s stereotypes? The queers are here darling – and we ain’t going anywhere. So tell me, how much more different we must be before we see how very much the same we are?

To the optimists and utopians, the wise ones and smart wits who comprise our contributors for this very special inaugural edition, we thank you for your honesty and bravery to help carve a little corner of history, together. We promise to bring a voice to all voices, heard and unheard who have something new to say, who have a new way to say it. 

To everyone who pitched in, volunteered resources, who believe in what Bendr and TheBendrMag are trying to do, Nadine, Chadini and I want you to know we are humbled and grateful. You give us purpose.

Now, let’s DISCO!


Natalie Soysa


The Bendr Magazine


Core Magazine Team

Natalie Soysa – Editor-in-Chief

Nadine Croos – Content Director

Chadini Fernando – English Editor

Kiruthika Thurairajah – Tamil Editor

Isurinie Mallawarachchi – Sinhala Editor

Shayne Seneviratne – Design & Web Development


Vampire & Zombie

Devika Brendon

Victor Sanchez

Aloka Wijesinghe

Jessical Palden

Keshiyani Edmund

Savindri Fernando

Malki Jayakody

Suhela Abeynayake

Nidesha Indraratne

Thiva Arunaigirinathan

Chadini Fernando

Nadine Croos

Cover Story Shoot

Photography: Natalie Soysa & Jason Warkuss

Stylist: Jude Gayantha Perera

Models – Christina Britto, Shan de Silva & Shayne Seneviratne

Makeup Artist: Dominique Croos

Designers: Curves, Sathika, Panther

Natalie SOysa

Natalie is a photographer, writer & editor based in Sri Lanka. After a 13-year career as a communications strategist and creative director, they went on to focus on several non-commercial initiatives including using their voice as a journalist, photographer, filmmaker and activist to produce work that looks at how various phenomena in Sri Lanka’s recent history has impacted women and queer identities in the country - especial;y from Post-Colonial and Post-Conflict contexts.