They say hard work is the only way to accomplish results that last and Zoya Thomas Lobo made that happen. With almost no money in her pocket and loads of passion in her heart, Zoya Lobo embarked on a journey that left millions inspired.
Today recognised as India's first trans photojournalist, Zoya Thomas Lobo's journey hasn't been a smooth one. From once begging in Mumbai local trains to now bringing out stories of people with her camera, she has indeed come a long way.
Zoya Lobo made it to HerZindagi's list of women achievers for the month of July and during our Instagram live session with her, we asked her to take us through her true story. Read on.
Proud Of The Recognition Coming Her Way
Zoya Lobo's life changed when a picture of migrant workers gathered around Bandra railway station clicked by her got picked by many big media houses. That one picture brought her a lot of recognition. Ever since then, her inspiring story has been going viral on social media.
View this post on Instagram
Talking about the same, Zoya Lobo shared that she feels more proud of women like her. She further shared that every woman should stop living in the past and think about the present and future. Zoya Lobo further shared that a lot of people would laugh at you but you should keep up with your strength and move ahead in life.
Coming Out To Her Family
When Zoya Lobo found she was different from other children, she had a fear of opening up to her family. However, she finally decided to open out to her mother. Zoya Lobo said, "It was difficult for me to come out to my mom but she supported me. Moms never let their kid go down even if their kid is stubborn or in a difficult situation. Moms always understand their children."
"It took hardly 3 or 4 months for my mom to accept me but my elder sister didn't appreciate it. It took her 11 years for her to accept me," she added.
Making Her Dad Proud
It wasn't easy for her sister to accept Zoya after she came out. It took her a couple of years to finally accept her. Zoya Thomas Lobo in our exclusive Instagram live shared, "My sister told me that I had put my dad's name down but I told her no I haven't done any such thing. The day I got my name published in the newspaper, when I got the byline, the photos that I clicked got published, I was happy and proud that my father's name and surname is in the newspaper. I made him proud."
Her Love For All Things Artistic
When we asked Zoya Lobo if she was always passionate about photography, she shared that she had a thing for artistic things ever since her childhood. She said, "I have always been an artistic person and my childhood friends know it very well. I had a lot of interest in science and I wanted to be a scientist. After that I turned to painting, I was a big fan of MF Hussain. Later I got to know about abstract painting and I used to bunk my school and go to Jehangir Art Gallery to watch painting and photography exhibitions but at that time I didn't know what is photography or photojournalism. During the Kala Ghoda festival, I got to know that what is photography and with time my journey as a photojournalist began."
Zoya's First Dream Assignment
Zoya Thomas Lobo's first assignment, which she says was her dream assignment that came from Canada for a science magazine. She shared that this international project helped her a lot during the pandemic and she enjoyed working on it. The project was based on the trans community, around what issues we all faced during the pandemic, what were the ups and downs. Zoya Thomas Lobo further shared that she is also working with a local paper as a freelance journalist.
Society's Changing Perception Towards The Trans Community
There is still a large section of the society that is not willing to accept the trans community and often treats them inhumanely. Members of the community like Zoya Lobo have experienced many horrific incidents in the past which are proof that there is still a lot to change.
Talking about society's perception of the trans community, Zoya Lobo said, "I feel 25 percent of the population's perception towards the trans community has changed and there is a lot more to change because until and unless there is social awareness about the trans community there won't really be any change in the society. I want people, families to get more aware about this."
On Why People Should Embrace Their Identity
View this post on Instagram
Zoya Lobo's journey of identifying herself and embracing her identity wasn't easy. For years, she found herself out of place and finally got the courage to open up to her family. We asked her to share a message for all those who find it difficult to find their own way and embrace their identities. She said, "It's time you open up to yourself in a strong way. Hiding your identity isn't a great thing, open up and fly in the open air and sky because there are people who are going to help you, motivate you, support you. Today the generation is creating social awareness and through this, you all will get encouragement to open up yourself."
Zoya Thomas Lobo's journey is proof that you can turn your dreams into reality with hard work. Tell us your thoughts on Zoya Lobo's journey on our Facebook page. For more such inspiring stories, stay tuned to HerZindagi.