Hearts across the country melted to puddles about a week ago when Vicks released their brilliant new ad ‘Touch of Care’. Touching upon the delicate issues of adoption and transgender rights, this ad was a breath of fresh air that brought tears to many eyes.
Well, the transgender woman featured in this brilliant ad, Gauri Sawant, is not just a heart-warming screen presence, but as Mumbai Mirror reports, an active LGBT rights activist and the adopted mother of Gayatri – a child whom she saved from being sold.
Born as Ganesh Suresh Sawant and raised in Pune, Gauri realised early on that something set her apart from the rest. Having identified more closely with the female gender since the beginning, she endured bullying and mocking from her peers, growing up.
As an adolescent, she felt attracted towards the male gender despite not fully understanding the concept of sexuality at all. Gauri spent many years playing dress-up in secret with her grandmother’s sarees and make-up. Once in college, however, her transition was a lot more evident and her family did not approve. So she left home to find her own journey.
Now 37, Gauri has lived as a transgender woman and an avid social activist in Mumbai for more than 20 years, according to Mumbai Mirror. Assisted in her transition by the Hamsafar Trust, Gauri has now set up her own NGO, Sakhi Char Chowghi in Malad, Mumbai – and has dedicated her life to providing transgenders, hijras, homosexual men, and female sex workers among other groups, a space of freedom and safety.
And no matter the struggles along her path, Gauri wanted to be a mother too, and there’s obviously no stopping this powerhouse of a woman. Her daughter Gayatri, was left orphaned and was about to be sold off in 2001 when her mother, a sex worker, died of HIV. Gauri chose to adopt the little girl and raise her as her own daughter.
Now the proud mother of 16-year-old Gayatri, Gauri walks tall and continues fighting all odds… as, in her words, every mother does.
“A mother is a mother. There isn’t any assigned gender to be one. I don’t feel special. I became a mother because of Gayatri and she is my pillar of strength. I did what every mother does.”
“My father wanted me to be a policeman, but I couldn’t. I want Gayatri to achieve her goals. She has all the freedom for what she wants to be. I shall give her everything I can.”
Gauri puts her daughter’s future above all else, much like any proud mother would. You’re an inspiration to not just all transgender women, but mothers and, if I may, all humans.
You can read Gauri’s complete story here.