Queer/Transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American Performer, Writer, Comedian, Activist



D’Lo​ is a queer/transgender Tamil-Sri Lankan-American speaker and performer whose work ranges from keynotes and workshops to stand-up comedy, from one-person shows to poetry and spoken word. Rooted in social justice, D'Lo brings the fierce with the funny through his presentations and stand-up comedy about being a queer/trans artist and activist raised within an immigrant family and community, as well as his stories about being an artist schooled by hip-hop, feminists, and queer artist elders.

D'Lo loves to engage audiences in dialogue around issues that matter to them as well as what is happening in the world at large. Within the last couple years, we have dealt with waves of Covid deaths, on top of the global racial reckonings and the continuing war on Black lives, uprisings, the rise in anti-Asian hate, anti-trans bills, and more. D’Lo’s post-presentation Q&A discussions provide space, for young people especially, to share their experiences . Whether live on campus or on Zoom, D'Lo's presentation is a great opportunity to bring together different campus groups and departments - Asian/South Asian, Women/Queer/LGBTQ, Creative Writing and Theater/Performance departments and other performance/comedy/hip-hop communities - to build bridges and dialogue around Art for Social Change.

D'Lo's TV/film credits include the HBO series LOOKING, the Amazon series TRANSPARENT, the Netflix series SENSE 8 and MR. ROBOT, and NBC's CONNECTING, as well as the web series EASTSIDERS, DYKE CENTRAL, MINIMUM WAGE, and his very own web series PRIVATE DICK. He can also be seen in the new short feature film, THE SYED FAMILY XMAS EVE GAME NIGHT, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2021.

D'Lo is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his work. Most recently, D’Lo was awarded the Artist Disruptor Fellowship for TV Writing through the Center for Cultural Performance, the Civic Media Fellowship through USC's Annenberg Innovation Lab funded by the MacArthur Foundation, a Cultural Trailblazer Award from the City of Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, and a CTG Sherwood Award for Theater.

His solo shows Ramble-Ations, D’FunQT, D’FaQTo Life and To T, or not To T have toured theaters and festivals nationally. He is currently working on his latest solo called Queer Noise with support from CTG's Library Series and the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In 2020, he started QORE, a Queer South Asian Comedic Artists Collective, in response to the rising ideology of intolerance both in Modi's India and Trump's America. QORE currently hosts space in LA for South Asian Artists for Black Lives.

D'Lo's work has been published and/or written about in academic journals, literary anthologies, and print/online journalism sources, such as The Guardian, NBC, and The Advocate. He was invited to be a commentator on CNN, has appeared in Buzzfeed and Fusion videos, and the award-winning documentary PERFORMING GIRL centers his queerstory as a trans artist.

He facilitates ‘writing for performance’ workshops, and created the “Coming Out, Coming Home” writing workshop series for South Asian and/or Immigrant LGBTQ Organizations across the nation, which provide a transformative space for workshop participants to write through their personal narratives and share their truths through a public reading. He also frequently collaborates with NQTTCN (National Queer/Trans Therapists of Color Network).

Born Queer into a Tamil-Sri Lankan Hindu family and raised by Hip Hop, D'Lo's presentations go beyond mere lectures - they combine stories, comedy, spoken word/poetry, and solo-based theater.

D'LO presents D'FAQTO LIFE A show by an infiltrator who lives underground, conspiring ways to make you think and laugh in no particular order.

De Facto (de fac·to): in practice but not necessarily ordained by law. actually existing, esp. when without lawful authority existing in fact, whether legally recognized or not

Using excerpts from D’s different solo shows, D’FaQTo Life (pronounced De Facto) is a roller-coaster ride of emotions with stories executed through comedic theater and storytelling. D’Lo shares from the perspective of being raised a child of immigrant parents and trying to negotiate how identifying as “queer” intersected with a passion to create political art in America.

Some topics in the presentation include: art as a tool for social justice, making art a regular practice, comedy as spiritual medicine, navigating a cis/het world as a queer gender non-conforming person, the lengths queer people of color go in order to find their path in a queerphobic society, his journey struggling with being an activist and self-care, his ongoing relationship with his ancestral motherland, and the important role that connection plays with the madness/conservatism/bigotry that has surfaced with a vengeance post-45.

  Topic Areas

High School Programs
Race/Racial Justice/Racism
Asian/Asian American
Hip Hop

  Related Links


Interview with D'Lo: Will the Real Queer Transgender Tamil Sri Lankan-American Please Stand Up?


D'Lo Performs Comedy at Trans Pride Los Angeles


Amma (Full Piece)



D’Lo delivered an extraordinary keynote presentation at the Gender Studies Symposium last year. Poignant and funny, personal and political, reflective and provocative, D’Lo’s talk was the perfect conclusion to our three-day event. He told moving stories, shared amusing photos, spoke from the heart, made us laugh, and helped us to think. D’Lo delivered exactly the kind of address we’d hoped for when we booked him. We appreciated his willingness to craft a presentation that worked for our needs. We couldn’t have been happier!
Kimberly Brodkin faculty director, Gender Studies Symposium, Lewis & Clark College, Portland OR

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