Periclean Scholars Class of 2023 spend Winter Term partnering with LGBTQIA2S+ organizations in Sri Lanka

Members of the class travelled to Sri Lanka’s north and east to document the personal stories of LGBTQIA2S+ Tamils.

During Winter Term, members of the Periclean Scholars Class of 2023 traveled to Sri Lanka to continue the cohort’s effort to learn about, document and disseminate the personal stories of Tamils identifying as LGBTQIA2S+ that live in the country’s north and east. This trip functioned as a follow-up to work done by the scholars in Sri Lanka in May-June 2022.

The students traveled to the cities of Batticaloa and Jaffna, where they met with members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community, and used verbal interviews, video and still photography to document the community members’ individual experiences. For the past three years, the Periclean Scholars Class of 2023 has been involved in an invited partnership with two Tamil LGBTQIA2S+ organizations and have been working to assist them in disseminating their personal narratives to a wider audience outside of Sri Lanka. The scholars are currently editing and compiling the narratives they have collected into a comprehensive multimedia project that the class will make publicly available in the late spring of 2023.

Although members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community in Sri Lanka face significant bias, discrimination and harassment, the goal of this multimedia project is to focus on the strength, power and resilience of these community members against the challenges that they confront daily. This multimedia project is intended to both educate non-Sri Lankans regarding the lived experience of Tamil LGBTQIA2S+ community members and showcase their resistance against social, political and legal structures that seek to criminalize and diminish their diverse identities.