The Chaos Within… TWATS

52 young people have come together and identified themselves as TWATS!

Together We Are The Solution.

Twat – noun vulgar meaning vulva.

Twat – noun slang meaning idiot.

Definitely derogatory! Yet… I find this empowering. In the field of HIV, Sex and Sexuality, in South Asia especially, we need idiots who are willing to put themselves forward to be identified by their willingness to talk openly about HIV. Idiots? Yes, idiots. With the ethos of Dostoevsky, an Idiot is one that does not conform to social and cultural expectations. If we are to build a team of young people in Sri Lanka who will be advocates for the rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV) and our very real, yet oft ignored, sexual minorities, and advocates for the rights of young people to enjoy access to accurate and frank sex education (moving past teachers requesting us to read that chapter at home because it won’t come for the exam), then we have to be willing to be an idiot.

Irony aside, is it foolish to speak about HIV awareness in a country that enjoys the lowest HIV prevalence in the region?

No. It is foolishness not to. The time for slapping ourselves on the back about not having a significant number of PLHIV (thereby playing a dangerous game that allows those who live with HIV to be reduced to faceless numbers, and so forgotten and ignored) is past. Why not flip the focus and take the necessary steps to ensure that Sri Lanka remains a low prevalent country? HIV infections increase every year… yet sadly those who are identified with HIV belong to low socio-economic groups (they are the only PLHIV willing to come forward out of NEED) and although over 90% of PLHIV in our country have contracted HIV through unprotected, condomLESS, heterosexual sex, it is still wrongly perceived as a gay disease.

This is why we need Dostoevsky’s Idiots. This is why we need our young team of twats. We need to go out there and engage with people, to shake them free of misconceptions that cling with the tenacity that only ignorance and half-boiled information allows. We need to put an end to the silence that veils so many discussions on sex and sexuality, relegating sex and sexuality to no more than vulgar innuendo or at best a discussion on the relative merits of the latest porn star.

I salute our young and not so young team of TWATS. I am proud to be one of you.



1 Response to “The Chaos Within… TWATS”

  1. 1 charles Nigel de Silva July 17, 2009 at 09:18

    Way to go! lets hear it for the Twats!!!! well said HB, and about time tooooooooo!!!!!! Its been ages since i have actually seen a group of people actually getting together and doing something constructive for a change. and not for the names sake!!!! Hope i can be of any assistance in my own capacity.

    Good luck guys and hats off to you all!

    Yours Positively


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