Gazal Dhaliwal lives in Mumbai and writes screenplays and dialogues for Hindi feature films. She was born male, but her emotional and psychological identity was always that of a girl. For the first 25 years of her life, her body felt like a prison. From 2007 to 2010, she underwent a medical process to change her biological sex from male to female. Today, she lives a life of freedom and confidence. She is at peace.
Twitter: www.twitter.com/gazalstune | Website: www.gazalhopes.blogspot.com
Bhajan Partap Singh Dhaliwal, 65, and Sukarni Dhaliwal, 63, are Gazal's parents. Mr Dhaliwal is a retired bank manager and his wife a former school teacher. With their love, understanding and support, Gazal found the courage to handle the toughest and most important decision of her life. What society said or thought made no difference to them; all that mattered was their child's happiness.
Amanpreet Bal, Mann Singh, Dharam Dev Sharma, Ranjit Singh Gill, Gurmeet Kaur, Randhir Kaur and Ajit Singh Bal live in the neighbourhood where Gazal spent her childhood years. They extended unstinting love and support when she decided to change her biological sex from male to female.They continue to treat her with the same regard and say they are proud of her.
Deepak Kashyap is a counselling psychologist and a certified life-skills trainer in Mumbai. He is the author of The Pink Booklet which answers questions on LGBT issues. He is also a published columnist in national newspapers and magazines, writing about issues related to sex, mental health, relationships, and emotional disturbances.
| Website: www.deepakkashyap.com
Simran, a hijra, has dedicated her professional life to human rights advocacy and has been a consultant to many organizations on issues of gender and sexual minorities living with HIV. A graduate from Mumbai University, she currently works with the India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi as a Programme Officer for Pehchan, an initiative that strengthens community systems for men who have sex with men, transgenders and hijras to improve HIV prevention outcomes.
Divya is a quantitative researcher. After 10 years of living as a married heterosexual, she came out of the closet at the age of 36. Her former husband, now her best friend, stood by her through this journey and encouraged her to live life on her own terms.
Dr Anjali Chhabria has been practising as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist for over 20 years. She is the founder of Mindtemple, a counselling centre in Mumbai. She has been on the board of directors for the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation and is consulting psychiatrist with Singapore International School. She was also the President of the Bombay Psychiatrist Society from 2001–2002.
| Website: www.anjalichhabria.com
Gautam Bhan is a Delhi-based writer and activist. He has been active in movements seeking gender and sexual rights, and is part of Nigah and Voices Against Section 377. He's the co-author of Because I have a Voice: Queer Politics in India and Series Editor of Sexualities at Yoda Press.
Anjali Gopalan is the founder and executive director of Naz Foundation (India) Trust, a Delhi-based NGO dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS in India. She has led the organization's 10-year legal battle against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and continues to provide support and counselling to the LGBT community. A strong advocate for sexual health and rights of the community, she has spoken in numerous international events about the importance of advancing research and raising awareness on HIV prevention.
| Website: www.nazindia.org
Vivek Anand is CEO of The Humsafar Trust, a community-based organization of and for sexual minorities in Mumbai. He has worked as an executive producer on nearly 40 projects, including ad films, documentaries and telefilms. He has also presented several papers in national and international conferences.
| Website: www.humsafar.org
Sonal Giani manages the advocacy division of The Humsafar Trust. She is one of the founder members of 'Umang', a support group for lesbian, bisexual and transpersons, and a core member of the youth wing 'Yaariyan' of the Humsafar Trust. She is executive producer of the play Ek Madhav Baug and has also directed and assisted on numerous films on LGBT issues. She was part of a TV show, Connected Hum Tum, which documented her life, and a Bollywood film, W, representing the LGBT community.
| Website: www.humsafar.org
Rani Sharma, better known as 'dadi', is a strong supporter of LGBT rights and has publicly raised her voice against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. She consistently urges people to accept and support everyone's right to love, regardless of gender and other society-enforced norms. Her grandson, Sambhav K. Sharma, considers himself blessed to have dadi by his side.