Themal Ellawala ’17, a psychology major at Clark University, returned to Sri Lanka this summer to research how culture, gender norms and stigma affect non-heterosexuals in the island nation where he grew up.

Ellawala (pictured above) is interviewing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and others (LGBTQ+) who fall under this “non-heterosexual” umbrella in and near Colombo, the largest city in Sri Lanka. His research – which is supported by Clark’s Steinbrecher Fellowship as well as the Simon and Eve Colin Award for Undergraduate Creativity in Psychology – confirms how sexual minorities in Sri Lanka have “suffered through in silence” as they experience “multiple forms of oppression,” he says.

Such oppression is very real to Ellawala, who identifies as queer. READ FULL