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Sonalee Rashatwar (she/they), MSW, LCSW, MEd is an award-winning social worker, sex therapist, adjunct lecturer, and grassroots organizer. Based in Philly, she is a fat queer non-binary therapist working as a sexual violence crisis counselor, specializing in treating sexual trauma, body image issues, racial or immigrant identity issues, and South Asian family systems, while offering fat and body positive sexual healthcare.
Popularly known as TheFatSexTherapist on Instagram, their fame hit an all time high when they were featured on Breitbart in March 2018 for naming thinness as a white supremacist beauty ideal. Sonalee is a sought-after speaker who travels nationally to curate custom visual workshops that whisper to our change-making spirit and nourish our vision for a more just future.
Sonalee is not paid for her labor as a community organizer, where she has fundraised and facilitated a free five-day political action summer camp for LGBT+ South Asian and Indo Caribbean youth. Sonalee received their Master of Social Work and Master of Education in Human Sexuality from Widener University in 2016 and have been working in the field of anti-violence for 7+ years.
View my interview from the Explore More Summit where we discuss the following:
My journey with my body and sexuality, which is powerful and beautiful.
Trauma, disassociation, and what it means to live as a survivor in the short and long term following sexual trauma.
Learning how to trust ourselves and our inner wisdom, and why we must unlearn everything we've been taught. I also dive into Afro-centric thought and how an approach of internal inquiry can set us all free.
Areas of Expertise
As an immigrant and community organizer working across ethnic borders, I offer unique insight into the ways residual colonialism continues to warp sexuality norms. Much of what we experience as acceptable sexuality has been shaped by colonialism. I develop cutting edge workshops on how gender and sexual behavior is marginalized by these moving systems of oppression.
Disability as a natural part of the human experience, which is why I offer a distinctive culture of acceptance, freedom from stigma, and release of shame for all of my clients. All bodies are good bodies. And all bodies deserve love, care, and respect from a clinician who is constantly working to disrupt the field by broadening disability inclusive treatment modalities.
For more than 6 years I have worked with individuals (ages 13+) who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. As a sex therapist trained to address generalized sexuality-related issues, I have specially-defined expertise within this domain of gendered violence and sexual trauma. At the intersection of warm comfort and radical acceptance, my therapeutic foundation feels more like a post-trauma doula. I provide a non-medical guided-experience after sexual trauma, using physical and emotional support to help clients realize their new realities.
South Asian sexuality
Much of my graduate experience was spent writing about the immigrant sexual experience and unlearning dominant sexual norms. I build workshops for clinicians to better understand South Asian individuals and families living within the North American diaspora as a special clinical population due to their specific migration histories. These workshops include an uncommon assessment of South Asian sexuality and ethnosexual identity development.
Sexuality is morphed by the pressures of compounding oppressions, which is why I offer solution-focused workshops that affirm the colonized experience and contribute to the radical imagination of our decolonial sexual futures. We must unlearn the ways we are forced to exist normally, and begin to imagine the ways we can flourish outside of this pressurized system. By aggregating individual forms of sexual resistance, I am able to weave together workshops explaining broader ideas of collective sexual liberation.
I offer an extraordinary pro-body perspective that is exclusively anti-diet. This means I will never invoke moral food code by telling you to replace foods you love with foods you hate. I operate from a deeply body positive model, which teaches body acceptance and eventually body love by first healing body image trauma from within. This involves rejecting external pressure from diet culture and re-centering around our body's inner compass. I also construct workshops for clinicians to learn to recognize fat culture and treat fat trauma.