The speaker will discuss her Ph.D. thesis which was a study of contemporary Sri Lankan transgender communities and their identity negotiation. Challenging the conventional dichotomies of private-public, everyday-spectacular, this study explores how transgender communities manoeuvre through the conventional and discriminative systems and craft political spaces in their everyday lives, and how these stories have remained invisible (or suppressed) in the dominant narrations of history. This research adhered to the argument developed by the subaltern studies that dominant histories have a narrow view of the ‘political’. Therefore this research reflects on the ways in which knowledge of transgender identities was produced in colonial and post-colonial Sri Lanka by exhuming written and unwritten transgender voices and histories. This study based on the contemporary Sri Lankan context, will also contribute to decolonising and democratising the existing body of knowledge on gender and queer theory which tends to focus on the Western experience.
Dr. Kaushalya Ariyarathne
Centre for the Study of Human Rights
University of Colombo