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Sonali Dalvi

It is truly believed that “love” can work as a miracle at times. Love is not only meant to be found between two people of opposite genders, but this entire expanse functions on the foundation of love. Be it hues of respect, admiration, kindness, concern, self-realisation, motivation and what not- all dependent on one core element of emotion that is love. This time we unfold the story of Ms. Sonali Dalvi, who seeks peace and happiness on the one and only concept of love; “Love for all and all for love”.

Ms. Sonali Dalvi is a transgender woman, a proud member of LGBTQ community and works for the rights of LGBTQ and transgender community. She is a TEDx speaker, came 1st in transgender marathon held in Pune in 2019 and has been honoured with over 275 prestigious awards. But this journey of her has been on a path which was arduous up till here and still continues to be. Life is nothing but a journey which is sojourn and every dark tunnel has an end followed by an opening leading to a brighter tomorrow.

When she was a child, that period was an era of Door Darshan with no mobiles, social media and awareness. Acceptance for anything which stood apart from the crowd, was not welcomed. It was difficult for her to come out to her parents as she wasn’t aware and sure of her situation herself, Ms. Dalvi had no idea that she is not the only one but many who are going through a consistent phase of hesitation. One thing which has kept her upright throughout has been self-realisation and pride in own self. Ms. Dalvi used to be called by several mocking names and given tags like Bayla, Chakka, Mamu and what not! But she never felt the need of labels to define her existence and the way she was. She has counted herself as a woman from childhood itself. You cannot change what you refuse to confront, but can definitely render the greatest service to your own self; that is self-realisation.

While pursuing her masters in Finance, she was working as a volunteer in an NGO for transgender rights. People used to stare at her for being different. Stereotyping was getting converted into “Stare-Your-Type”. There she realised that it’s not her who needs to change, rather those people who need to change their mindset for their community. Trans people are no different. Just like male and female are two genders which differ from each other yet has been served with justified rights, they deserved the same. Just like anyone else. Their only need was to be loved by all, irrespective of all, just like all. “I am what I am and I am proud of myself” are the words said by Ms. Dalvi herself, just like all the citizens of this country who are proud of themselves whether they are a dancer, a teacher, a musician, a chef, an artist, an actor and what not that too irrespective of their sex.

They have come a long way in this battle, and are still determined to prove their worth for all of it. After Supreme Court’s verdict and Nalsa’s judgement of legal recognition of the trans community, things are better and changing for good. But still they are bereft of many basic human rights like domestic violence, right to marriage, child adoption rights, property rights and many more. Yet as we know, something is better than nothing and something is more than enough to keep you going with the same courage for that same motive. After legal recognition, even Ms. Dalvi’s parents accepted her who provide her with extensive support along with her friends, family members and relatives. She is very happy at present with her family’s support and their acceptance of her true self. Afterall, only if acceptance starts from home you can fight the battle for complete acceptance.

She is happy, yet not satisfied as there is a long way to go; miles to go before they reach. It has been a tough, demanding, challenging and long battle and the battle will go on and they will win and beat all the stereotypes, once and for all. With social media and awareness there has been drastic change in public’s perspectives and judgements. Majority of the youth is with them, fighting with them and for them. Slowly, day by day people are realising what is deserving and what is worth fighting and asking for.

She found a second family when she united with the LGBTQ community, where she didn’t feel the need to explain anyone about her tiniest bit of her choices and preferences. A family that understood her and whom she equally related with.

She says, “be who you are, be happy, feel proud and spread love” as nothing can withstand the fearlessness and vigor of the cocoon of love protecting everyone under one roof. The only thing she till date wishes is love from all and for all as she believes that only if you spread love, you will be loved by all.

Even in this time of difficulty, she is helping 44 trans women of her community by supplying them with dry ration, medicines and masks.

The day you decide to fight for what you deserve; nothing can stop you and it will only begin when you start owning your own self with pride and dignity. When you seek respect, you first need to respect yourself. Respecting yourself starts with believing in yourself and your existence. For self-realisation, a rebel demands a strong authority and a worthy opponent. It takes courage to take a stand for a community which has been treated as an outcast since ages. So, the day your start believing in yourself is the day you are ready to make the entire world believe you.

- Team Satyavachan

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