Natasha is a gender equality champion, human rights activist, and LGBTIQ advocate.
Country: Sri Lanka
Movement: Women and Trans Initiative
As a child, Sri Lanka-born Natasha dreamt of being like Mother Theresa when she grew up. Yet, while the desire of doing good was very much alive, she was not sure what this meant in the world.
“I migrated to Australia, became a nurse, and started to exercise my profession. However, I was emotionally unsatisfied. I wanted to create a lasting impact, I wanted to find the root causes of problems and find solutions.”
She was on a homecoming journey and returning from Australia to Sri Lanka meant difficult challenges.
"As a queer woman, I was struggling with my sexuality. I contacted the Queer community in Sri Lanka and started helping other queer people to overcome their challenges, I didn’t even realize I was doing activism at that time. I felt content and motivated".
Through this exploration, she found a space where she belonged, where she was understood, and where everyone could be themselves and would not be judged. She knew how important this opportunity was for her and wanted to provide it to others.
“I dream of a society that does not discriminate or judge people for their differences but acknowledges diversity and embraces everyone as they are'', which is the vision driving the force that motivates her.
She realized that a big cause of this is "the lack of empathy and compassion in our early teachings as children".
As a response to the limitations faced by the LGBTIQ community in her country, she became the founder of the Women and Trans Initiative, a collective for women, queer women, non-binary and trans individuals to come together and imagine an inclusive society. This space provides emotional, legal, medical, and sustenance support for LGBTIQ individuals in precarious conditions.
She recently started an initiative to provide a safe space for completely different individuals from various life paths, to come together and build empathy through sharing their lived experiences, Katha nokarana Katha.
“Everyone deserves a space to be loved, cared for, and heard. No one should be left behind, no one should feel less than, I hope to create a world where everyone has a life worth living”, states Natasha with confidence.