HIV Positive, rape survivor, unbeaten: Tr Amruta

NEW DELHI: 31 year old Amruta Alpesh Soni, working with the Hindustan Latex family Planning Promotion Trust, is in the news because her matrimonial advertisement on a matchmaking website has received several favourable replies. Soni is a transgender, a rape survivor, and living with HIV.

Consider this matrimonial ad: Age 31, an English Graduate, an MBA from Symbiosis and an avid swimmer. It looks like a regular ad published to attract potential suitors, but add the words ‘HIV Positive’ and ‘Transgender’, and the advertisement becomes unique.

Amruta Alpesh Soni, 31, is a transgender suffering from Aids. When she wanted to look for a companion she opted for the general,,that went well with her resolve to be counted as normal and not odd.

“I don’t want welfare schemes exclusively for us; I want the schemes for the general public to benefit us as well,” she said in an interview recently.

According to Soni, her proposal for marriage has been received very warmly by the potential candidates.

“Most of the respondents have introduced themselves as divorced or widowed men,” she said. “But I suspect that most of them belong to the transgender community but don’t want to reveal it straightaway because of the ‘transphobia’ in our society,” she added.

Her story is one of struggle against prejudice. At 16, her parents disowned her, threw her out. She was molested by an uncle, then took refuge among a band of ‘hijras’. She opted for sex reassignment surgery (a sex change operation) and found herself peniless and in deep debt of her ‘guruji’- the leader of her group of Hijras. To repay the debt she started working as a petty sex-worker, and got raped and beaten up by loafers many times. It was then that she contracted the HIV virus, she says.Amruta

“After the rape, when I was taken to hospital for a check-up, the doctors paraded me against my will before trainees to show them how a vagina had been created in my body and how my breast implants looked. Even policemen were not ready to lodge a complaint. They said a sex-worker couldn’t be raped”, she said, recalling the insensitivity that TGs face.

A Bombay (Mumbai) shopkeeper who befriended her financed her studies. She graduated from Jamia Milia Islamia and then went for her Marketing degree. She owns a flat now in Mumbai and has adopted her nephew “informally”, whose father died sometime back.

She has become a vocal champion of her community’s rights. She is currently employed with Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust, and is to give her first public speech at Annual Philadelphia Trans Health Conference at the Pennsylvania Convention Centre – a few days from now.

Soni looks forward to her maiden speech in Philadelphia. She is a bit nervous as it’s her first public appearance. “I’m nervous but happy. I want to tell the world that transgender people are not born just to beg; they can work and have a life beyond their gender identity.” she affirms.

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Posted by on June 3, 2015. Filed under Breaking News,INDIA -WIDE,RAINBOW. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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