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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Economic Independence Is A Security That Needs To Be Provided To Transgenders: Chef Ritu Dalmia

  • IWB Post
  •  June 12, 2018

In 2016, a joint petition was filed by five people in the Supreme Court to review Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. One of them was chef Ritu Dalmia, the founder of a fine-dining restaurant called Vama in London.

Born in a traditional Marwari family, Dalmia came out at 23 after she moved to London.

“I fell head-over-heels in love with a woman. I did not struggle with it or question it. I embraced it without going through any turmoil. When I look back, I feel I am much luckier than many others who really have a hard time accepting something so new and something that makes you ‘strange’,” she said.

After this, she disclosed it all to her mother first. “And, I left it to her to inform my father. She was very supportive, though it did shock her she never uttered a mean word,” she said.

But Dalmia accepts that she being economically independent provided her an advantage that many others in her place don’t have. “Economic independence also meant that I was not answerable or dependent on anyone. I have seen other people from smaller towns who do not have access to the same means that I do, and, the rampant discrimination, disrespect, and harassment that they have to deal with because of their gender identity is heartbreaking. They have so many other wars to fight and they should have (at least this) security provided to them by law,” she said.

Unable to settle in London, Dalmia sold off her shares of the restaurant to her partner Andy Verma and returned to Delhi in 200. She opened “Diva”, an Italian restaurant along with a partner, Gita Bhalla in posh Greater Kailash II in the same year.

The continued judgement and discrimination faced by the LGBTQI community is something she can’t stand.  “Lack of education and a narrow worldview makes people say the things they do. I get a lot of hate mails and when one reads what these people write, I can’t help but feel sorry for them. Such terrible lives they must lead that makes them so hateful,” she said.

H/T: The Indian Express



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