The Diva With a Difference

Top chef Ritu Dalmia on why being a lesbian never drew a boundary or defined her

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As a person, Ritu has always been strong enough to deal with her sexuality. It dawned on her that she is a lesbian at the age of 22. In her own words, her inner struggle lasted precisely one week. And then came acceptance. She said to herself that if this is how she is and she is not going to fight it.

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“I was never ashamed about it. I told my mother and I got full support from her. She accepted my partner with open arms. My partner was more of her family than I am,” shares Ritu. “I had lot of support because I myself was okay about it,” she adds. Ritu has never been a person who will go out and publicly announce her sexuality. As a strong individual she wants to be known for what she does than to be known for who she sleeps with.

But there was something which triggered her to come out in public — when the law deems you a criminal merely due to your sexual preference that makes you feel worse. “I am a well-known person. I have brought a lot of fame to India. I have made my country proud. I pay my taxes. I give employment to 300 people. Why should I be considered a criminal? This was not acceptable to me. That’s why I decided to come out in the open,” Ritu asserts. She felt that the unjust law would affect the future generations.

About the reaction of the general public when she filed the petition, Ritu says, “There was a lot of trolling for two and a half years. But that was a small price to pay for what we have achieved.” When asked if she ever faced any workplace discrimination, the 45-yearold restaurateur who has been in a relationship for 18 years now, says, “I heard a lot of comments behind my back about my sexuality. I have always ignored it.” She wants to make sure that discrimination at work place goes away