Gauri Sawant – The Transgender Mother with A Golden Heart


Acceptance is very dear to everyone. However, there are certain communities in our societies that are struggling for acceptance. The transgender community is one such community. Each day they are at war for their basic rights. Yet, one person fought against all odds to become India’s first transgender mother. Here is the story of Gauri Sawant.


Source: SheThePeople


Transgenders In India 


Transgenderism in India is a widely known culture. They are commonly known as Hijra’s, Kinnars, Aravani, Aruvani, Jagappa, or (derogatorily) Chhakka,. The transgender community is one of the most marginalized communities in India. The mainstream population has no proper awareness of the community. As a result, various superstitions and unwanted stories are attached to the transgenders in India. They are subject to a lot of discrimination, oppression, and exclusion in various aspects of life. 

Many transgenders in India are disowned by their very own families. They are considered a disgrace to the family as well as society. They are deprived of their basic rights to education, employment, healthcare, and so on. As a result, to fill their stomach, the community is forced to beg, perform at ceremonies, or be a sex worker. Most hijras live at the margins of society with very low status; the very word "hijra" is sometimes used in a derogatory manner. 

Statistics 


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In India, the Supreme Court in April 2014 recognized hijras, transgender people, eunuchs, and intersex people as a 'third gender' in law. This granted them the basic civil rights of every citizen. The country also includes an option for them on passports and certain official documents (eunuch "E"). Yet, their battle is far from won. Even today, the community struggles to find proper employment or educational opportunities. 


Gauri Sawant – The Transgender Mother with A Golden Heart 

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Who is Gauri Sawant? 


Gauri Sawant is a transgender activist from India. She currently resides in Mumbai. Gauri was born in Pune as a biological male. Her parents named her Ganesh and raised her as a boy. Her father was a police officer. At a very young age, Gauri lost her mother. With the passing of her mother, she was raised by her grandmother. 

As Gauri grew up, the people around her began to notice that she was a boy with feminine tendencies. She would enjoy draping the saree and applying makeup. Her family didn’t approve of this. She was often forced to behave and do things “like a boy”. Her childhood was filled with struggles and challenges. 

"I didn't feel like a hijra or girl, but I knew I had some unusual traits. I would always make friends with the girls, and never played with the boys. I loved to play ghar-ghar (House) with the girls. I enjoyed it all so much! I would get yelled at about this a lot at home. But I never changed." – Gauri Sawant to YourStory.com

Gauri was mocked and made fun of by the people around her. Many of them even used derogatory terms to address her. Gauri had a very tough childhood. When puberty struck, Gauri realized she felt attracted to the male gender. With a lack of sex education at school, she struggled to define her sexuality. 

Gauri shared a very repulsive relationship with her father. Her father could not accept her and wanted her to live as a “man”. As Gauri began to accept her identity, her relationship with her father took turn for the worse. At the age of 18, Gauri left her house with just Rs. 60 and moved to the city of dreams, Mumbai. 

“My father opened the gate and told me to go away from the house as I was a shame for him in front of the society,” Gauri told The Logical Indian.


Life in Mumbai – The Humsafar Trust 


Gauri traveled to Mumbai with the Rs. 60 in her pocket. The first thing she did was go to Siddhivinayak temple and offer prayers. She had a friend, a gay-turned-trans sex worker, who put a roof over her head for three or four days. 

"I wasn't pretty or fair enough to get into sex work, so she never offered me a gig there. But she fed me and cared for me. By the grace of god, I never had to beg," says Gauri. 

With the help of her friend, Gauri met Ashok Row Kavi, the reputed journalist, and gay rights activist. Ashok’s The Humsafar Trust, gave Gauri shelter and assistance to complete her education. The trust also helped her in the sex reassignment surgeries to complete her transition from male to female. 

The Humsafar Trust was a safe haven where Gauri could finally be herself, express herself, and live freely. She didn’t have to hide her identity anymore. She could dress in the manner that she loved and made her comfortable. Humsafar Trust also provided her with a source of income i.e. Rs 1,500 a month. 

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Gauri referred to Ashok as “Amma”. Under his able guidance, Gauri was able to start her mission to uplift the status of transgenders in India. Her goal was to provide a safe space for transgenders to live, love, and express themselves. 

Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust 


In the year 2000, Gauri founded the Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust. The trust is located in Malad, Mumbai. Her main goal of starting this trust was to promote safe sex. She also provides counseling to transgenders from the Mumbai suburbs. 

Through her trust, Gauri also focused on educating and training the transgenders in basic employable life skills. She prepped them for job interviews, organized various courses so that they find employment. Along with this, she also spread awareness about STDs and encouraged sex workers to get tested. 

Activism 


Gauri Sawant is one of the most vocal people when it comes to the rights of the transgender community. 

- She fought for 16 years for the rights of the five lakh transgenders in India. 

- She is also the petitioner of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) judgment that was passed in 2013. This Supreme Court judgment recognized transgender as the third sex. 

- In 2014, she became the first transgender person to file a petition in the Supreme Court of India for marriage and adoption rights of transgender people. 

- She was made the goodwill ambassador of the Election Commission in Maharashtra.

Apart from these, Gauri also works towards saving the turtles and nurturing the street dogs.





Motherhood 


Gauri Sawant herself is a mother to a young girl. Most of us must have come across a Vicks AD video that shared her motherhood journey. Gauri recalls a conversation with an aunt at a wedding when she was barely 10. The aunt asked her what she wanted to be when she grows up. Gauri answered, ‘I want to be a mother.” Everyone around her was totally confused thinking how can a boy be a mother. 

"A mother is a mother. There isn't any assigned gender to be one," says Gauri. 

In 2008, Gauri adopted five-year-old Gayatri who was left orphaned after the death of her mother. Gayatri’s mother was a sex worker and died of HIV. Gauri came across Gayatri and her mother during her routine HIV awareness drive in the red-light areas. 

"When she was pregnant with Gayatri, she would come here and eat dal-chawal and nimbu ka achaar with us. I had given her my good wishes. But after that she never contacted me." 

After her mother’s death, there were talks of selling off Gayatri into sex work too. This fell on to Gauri’s ears and to save the little girl, Gauri adopted her. Gauri recalls the first time she met Gayatri. She describes the kid as pale and skinny who had white spots on her face from lack of calcium. Yet she had a childish charm to her. 





Gauri tells that she had to teach the kid every little thing. Just like a mother, she would teach her how to take care of herself and scold her when she would misbehave. Gauri loves her daughter unconditionally. However, life as a transgender mother was extremely difficult. 

When the mother-daughter would walk in their neighbourhoods, they would get stares or be called names. People would call Gayatri Chhota hijra (Baby eunuch). Gayatri was weak in studies. She would often imitate her mother and the other transgenders around her. The kid also started threatening people when she was scolded for something. 

"She was looking for a reason to skip studying. In school, her teacher called me to say she was found clapping like us. She is straight, I am a transgender, why should I spoil her future?" expressed Gauri. 

Gauri took the tough decision to send the kid away to boarding for a better future. Gauri has big dreams for her daughter. Above all, she wants her daughter to be a good human being and be accepting of people around her. She also wants her daughter to know right from wrong and take wise decisions. 

"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. 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," says Gauri to Mumbai Mirror. 

Aajicha Ghar (Grandmothers House) – Gauri’s Dream Project 


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Source: Milaap



Gauri wants to provide a safe and friendly environment for the upbringing of destitute girl children. For this purpose, she wants to build a house for abandoned girls who will be cared for by senior transgenders. She plans to name the house Aajicha Ghar. Gauri is currently looking for donations to help her bring the dream project to life. You may contribute to her cause. 

What can we do? 


The transgender community everywhere around the globe have to go through a lot of struggle even for their basic rights and living. We can help make things easier for them with our simple acts. 

- Respect and acceptance is the first step. Start with a simple smile. When you come across any transgenders don’t make faces. Just smile or ask them about their day. Don’t call them names or be insulting towards them. 

- Sensitize those around you trans people and trans issues. Be accepting of the community. Help break transphobia. Participate in or organize workshops or awareness drives in schools, colleges, and neighborhoods to help people understand the transgender community. 

- Educate. Due to a lack of opportunities, many transgenders are illiterate. You may contribute your time to educate them about their rights, life skills, and employability skills. 

- Support them. When you see a transgender running any small business or selling something, support them. Help them find equal work opportunities in the job market. 

- Donate. There are many NGO’s working for the betterment of the transgender community. You may donate money or any other materials to these NGO’s. 

Conclusion 


Gauri Sawant’s life is an inspiration to so many. Though she faced a lot of flak and was subject to initial troubling, she fought back with courage and patience. She never let any obstacles stop her from working for the community. Even when life threw her challenges, she remained hopeful. She is a beacon of hope and courage to so many. 

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"If you see a hijra on the traffic signal, give her a packet of Good Day biscuits. She will be happy, and trust me, she won't throw it on your face. But give her 20 such packets, what will she do? Will you work if you don't get paid for six months?" – Gauri Sawant 

We salute the spirit of Gauri Sawant who has set an example for so many more others to follow. Share her inspirational story with others. 

What inspires you the most about Gauri Sawant? Share your thoughts with me in the comment section. 

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32 Comments

  1. A very inspiring journey indeed. And very powerful soul! I am glad that she never gave up the fight. I hope that her dream project comes true.

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  2. Wow people throw their own kids out of the house???!!!! As in why do they have kids in the first place. Why is God giving kids to worthless people? And not to people who deserve kids? Sheesh! I hope Gayatri goes places and does well in life.

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  3. I had read and seen her story before too. but with this post, learnt so many other aspects of her personality. indeed her journey is inspiring. thanks for sharing this with us,

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  4. This post has left me teary eyed. So inspiring. They are the communities who know what a sense of belonging and respect is worth. Recently I had been listening to an Audiobook Queeristan on audible.. By Parmesh Sahani.. He mentions Gauri as his one of the role models.. I have been recommending this book to everyone recently.. Glad to come across a similar post.. The book is about LGBT inclusion in workplace and how companies can go in this direction.. It's amazing..

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  5. That is an inspiring and heartening story. I have heard about her before but guilt described her journey very well. Not only did she emerge out of the stigma of life, she has taken on the task of making it better for others! That takes a strong heart and personality.

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  6. Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments. ☺️✨✨

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  7. Such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing Gauri's story with us

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  8. I love this post Felicia. You've written it really well.
    From identifying the issue, to explaining it, to providing possible solutions........, it's so well shaped.
    Hats off to Gauri for being so brave, articulate and open hearted. May these marginalised people have better lives.

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  9. A very researched post, I have read about Gauri and I just admire her journey, very inspiring she is.

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  10. Whenever I read or hear about Gauri Sawant, I feel a lump in my throat. Such a heart-warming example of kindness, motherhood & a role model.

    The 3rd gender has a long way of struggle in India, sadly. Can't appreciate how succinctly you've put this post down with the inforgraphics. An ode to Gauri!

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  11. I have always admired Gauri. She has set a proud example for the third gender . Your article is so well researched and comprehensive. I hope some day everyone will be more acceptable towards the third gender.

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  12. That’s such an arduous journey but so inspiring. I knew her through interviews but your piece on her and the community touched my heart. I have great hopes in near future for all to have equal rights; until then each one of us should do our bit.

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  13. Came to know about her and since then I have admired her. She is an example of purity and trust.

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  14. I learned about her through various platforms. She is truly an inspiration. It takes guts to live life on your own terms.

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  15. Gauri's story and your post is an inspiration for all. Keep up the good work for our society need it.

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  16. Quite a relevant topic and a gender that most people want to not even discuss about. Knowing Gauri Sawant through you was lovely..

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  17. An inspirational story that should travel far and wide!

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  18. I have read about Gauri and her contribution to the society, her deeds are truly an inspiration for the tomorrow's; gen.

    Archana Srivastava
    archusblog

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  19. Her story is so inspiring! I just wonder how much time it will take for India as a country to accept the third gender as humans! Beautiful post

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  20. Heart touching inspiring story of a wonderful human. The society needs to change thinking. Every human deserves equal rights.

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  21. Gauri is the change our society needs desperately. She is so inspiring and I'm sure many would get inspired by her great deeds.

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  22. I have heard and read about her story before but never in this much detail. This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

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  23. This post is empowering and one must draw inspiration from the narratives and the real life incidents. Great post!

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  24. What a journey Gauri had and to bring it to light but many brands including you is so enlighting! She is and should be admired!

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  25. I've heard her story on tv earlier and knew that she had adopted a child but the story you shared Is so detailed about her life and how she battled her journey to be what she is today. She is giving hope to others and a purpose to her own life. Kudos to her.

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  26. I have always admired the courage of Gauri Sawant and how she has become a mother. She is a very strong example for everyone from men, to women to transgender.

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  27. This is a fabulous story of courage and conviction. Great work with the research and the thoughtful way in which you have written this post. Kudos to Gauri for making a beautiful life story out of all the hardships bestowed upon her

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  28. That's inspiring read about Gauri sawant. She's doing great work for transgender community. #dewreads
    #MyFriendAlexa

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  29. We definitely know a lot about her and reading this now I have even more respect for her.

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  30. Sad that our society hasn't excepted the third gender yet , they forget they are also humans .

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  31. I knew her story but u have elaborated in details.

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  32. I respect her for all of her deeds despite of tough childhood. Acceptance is what is required.
    Like the section about what we can do?

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