Lecture by Chamindra Weerawardhana
Moderation: Sushila Mesquita
This lecture focuses on transfeminist activism, highlighting the necessity, relevance and importance of a Transfeminist of Colour perspective in confronting present-day challenges to gender justice. Apart from issues arising from the social conservatisms and discriminatory practices of a cis-heteronormative world, the ‘challenges’ in question also involve problems within the trans and wider LGBTQIA+ communities. These include NGO-industrial complexes, exclusionary hierarchies of activism, funding-related dependencies, de-politicizing activism, and forces that compel us to make our work ‘apolitical’. In this lecture, Chamindra Weerawardhana will discuss how a transfeminist perspective that is inspired by Women of Colour-led activism (from Stonewall to Black Lives Matter), Indigenous gender-plural activisms and global South feminism/s is best placed to constructively address the problems that we face in LGBTQIA+ activism at multiple levels – from international diplomacy and high politics to national priorities and work at the grassroots. Based on her own lived experience as a trans Woman of Colour activist and political analyst and a parent, navigating three countries in three different continents, this lecture is part of a broader research and activist initiative that seeks to expand the remits of transfeminism as perceived in the Western (especially Turtle Island-based) academy and build upon the rich and vibrant legacy of Transfeminist of Colour activism.
Chamindra Weerawardhana – born in Sri Lanka, educated in France and Ireland – is a researcher, political analyst and freelance journalist, specialized in the areas of gender politics (with a special interest in Trans politics and reproductive justice) and the politics of deeply divided societies (with a special interest in global South/s, gender justice, and political parties).
Sushila Mesquita is working at the Gender Research Office of Vienna University and teaches postcolonial/queer theories at different universities. They are involved in various transnational anti-racist, queer-feminist and popcultural groups and projects.
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