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EUMINDS

LGBT RIGHTS
Story of Gauri Sawant- A transgender Mother

Gauri Sawant is a 37-year-old transgender social activist. Born as Ganesh Suresh


Sawant, she was born and raised in a conservative family in Pune. At a very early age
of 9, after her mother's demise, Gauri realised that she is different from others. After her
mother passed away, she was raised by her grandmother. As a child, she has always
been effeminate and more inclined towards the female gender. Due to this her father,
who was a policeman and belonged to a very macho profession, thought that she would
bring shame to the family name someday thus decided to keep his distance away from
her. In school, Gauri was always mocked by her classmates, who even used derogatory
terms to address her.

Her journey from Ganesh to Gauri entailed secretly crossed dressing bonding with
others like her at Maheshwari Udyan near her college in Mumbai, inacceptance by
family and peers, harassment, finding work and warmth at Humsafar trust (One of the
oldest LGBT organizations in Mumbai) and finally undergoing Sex Changes. She even
started her own NGO "Sakshi Char Chowgi" that helps transgender and people with
HIV/ AIDS . She is also the petitioner of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)
judgment that was passed in 2013. Three years after the Supreme Court recognized
transgenders as a third gender, her community is still striving for basic civic rights.

But after this entire struggle she is also a proud mother. "A mother is a mother. There
isn't any assigned gender to be one," says Gauri. Gayatri, her 16-year-old daughter,
was left orphaned in 2001 after the death of her mother, who was a sex worker, died of
HIV. Gayatri's grandmother decided to sell Gayatri to a dealer in Sonagachi, Asia's
largest red-light area in Kolkata. Gauri wanted to save the little girl and she decided to
adopt her. As a transgender, it wasn't easy for her. When she walked on the streets with
Gayatri, she was looked down upon by a few people. But a proud mother, Gauri raised
Gayatri like every mother does, fighting all odds. Today, Gayatri studies in a well-known
school and lives in a hostel.