Bendr Magazine

In Conversation with Thishu Dasanayake

“I’m just a normal guy”

says Thisu Dasanayake,

“I’ve faced a number of difficult situations from society, to the workplace, back in my school days, tuition classes and even to this day. Sometimes it’s just too hard to cope with mentally”

“Compared to my school going days it’s much easier to cope with society’s outlook towards us, there is a little progress. I’m very straightforward; if someone tries to discriminate against me for who I am, I will tell them off directly. But if it’s not worth it, I just let it go. Earlier when I had to face harassment on social media for any of my posts I would delete it because it would mentally bring me down, but now I just find it hilarious and ignore that person.”

“Back in the day I used to MC/DJ most of the gay parties and pageants in Mount Lavinia and while I haven’t had a confrontation with the authorities as yet, my friends in the LGBTIQ community have faced a lot of problems where they have been held in police stations and treated badly for no simply being queer.” ​

“The SL government has to adapt and change the laws pertaining to the LGBTIQ community. I can see many lawyers who work for the LGBTIQ community, with all of our help we need to change these laws and bring new life to this legislation. There are so many young LGBTIQ individuals who are constantly suffering, this change in laws could help them to lead a better life.”

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“I don’t like to label myself as gay, lesbian, transgender, etc. We are human beings just like everyone else, capable of doing everything else that they too can do. Being transgender, a cross dresser or gay or lesbian is a very personal thing.”

Many people in society think that the LGBT crowd are very weak or “durwalai”, they use very dirty words to offend and cut us off (in sinhalese – he said apiwa Kapala danawa) , I don’t want to mention that here, it’s very ugly. Even in social media, Sri Lankan society thinks that we can’t do anything and apiwa pahath karala thamai hithanne). Everyone is human. Some people think that the LGBT crowd in Sri lanka mostly work only in the fashion industry, as beauticians with models but I’ve met so many who work as lawyers, doctors and engineers too. So I think considering us weak and incapable is very wrong and that mindset needs to change.

“The SL government has to adapt and change the laws pertaining to the LGBTIQ community. I can see many lawyers who work for the LGBTIQ community, with all of our help we need to change these laws and bring new life to this legislation. There are so many young LGBTIQ individuals who are constantly suffering, this change in laws could help them to lead a better life.”

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Thiva Arunagirinathan

I am a photographer / filmmaker from Colombo Sri Lanka. My work mostly revolves around street, photojournalism and architecture the more commercial types include portrait, food, product, fashion and wedding photography. I have worked as a DOP on a short-film and a documentary in the past