Like most LGBTQ teens growing up in smaller towns, it took Gazal Dhaliwal a long time to “understand” her own identity and even longer for her parents to accept it.
“I wanted to make films, but now, I had to make sure I was ‘settled’, so I applied to engineering colleges. That’s where I heard the word ‘transsexual.’ It just fit- I found an identity,” the writer of Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga narrated while speaking to Humans of Bombay as part of a promotional campaign celebrating “unexpected and heartwarming love stories that show that love is love, and the world would be a better place if we just #LetLoveBe” for the film.
At 16, Gazal ran away from home because being denied her basic truth became too much of a burden to bear after a point. But, unlike most of us, Gazal, who also wrote the dialogues of films like Lipstick Under My Burkha and Qarib Qarib Singlle, has grown up to achieve two of the biggest dreams of her life in a very much fairytale-esque manner.
She always knew that she was a woman, simply born in the wrong body. She also always aspired to be a Bollywood actor someday. Today, with every new achievement, with every new milestone, Gazal has become one of the strongest voices of the trans community in India.
But even when she realised that she is a woman, she felt that undergoing a sex reassignment surgery was a distant dream. “I felt that changing my biological sex could never be a reality. I was frustrated and I fell into depression. I had two dreams in my life – films and becoming a woman and both seemed distant.”
However, enrolling in a film school was the catalyst she needed in her life. “It took me 2 years to decide to go to a film school. There, I made a documentary on the transgender community and sex reassignment, that won awards. When my father saw it, he turned to me and asked ‘so when are you doing it?’ I still remember that moment.”
Once her transformation began, the overwhelming support from her parents can easily be perceived as a lesson in acceptance and love all desi parents need to learn.
Gazal continued, “One day, my mother told me that my parents had told all our neighbours about my new name and my new identity and that they must address me that way.”
“I’m so grateful to have a family that stands by me in ways I hadn’t even imagined. My parents have been my pillars. My father says that he always wanted a girl and now that’s exactly who I am…daddy’s little girl,” added the trailblazing screenwriter, before signing off.
You can read the full post on HoB’s official Facebook page .