Gauri Sawant – Transgender activist

Gauri was born in a middle-class family in Pune. He was named Ganesh Suresh Sawant. She was a boy then. Gauri died when Gauri was nine years old. Grandmother brought up after mother’s departure. She was a boy, but her movements were like girls.

It was during her school days that she began to feel strange changes within herself. They begin to realize that it is not the boy but the girl. Often, she would secretly wear grandmother’s sari in the house and apply makeup on her face. If she stared in the mirror, she would have come at herself. But there was a fear in my mind that nobody could see. Dad was in the police. He did not like the mannerisms of the son at all. Gauri says – there was no mother at home, no friends at school. There was no such close, which would enable me to talk about the mind. Father used to hate.

Life was getting worse. Children in the neighborhood used to make fun. Some started teasing him by calling him ‘eunuch’. Over time, the realization that she was a girl, not a boy, grew stronger. She entered college after completing her schooling while struggling with difficulties. Graduated in MSW. Householders wanted him to work like a good son and take care of the family. But she had decided that she could no longer live the life of the boy. One night she left the house without saying anything to anyone. He spent the night at Dadar railway station. The next day a eunuch named Champa took them to his house. Then the struggle for jobs started, but people were not willing to give a job to a eunuch. Had to run a few days begging.

Meanwhile, Gauri came in contact with an NGO. After medical counseling, he decided to change sex. She became Gauri Sawant from Ganesh Sawant. He then sought to help the orphans in a shelter home in the area, but his operators did not let them do so. Gauri says – I don’t go to the children, so they tortured me a lot. Very disappointed. Why do people hate eunuchs so much?

In the year 2000, he formed an organization to provide social justice to eunuchs and transgender people. Life started coming back on track. It is the year 2001. There was an important break in his life. A sex worker died in Mumbai. This death wreaked havoc on her young daughter Gayatri. The child’s grandmother sold her to a broker, but the neighbors saved her. The girl was briefly sent to an orphanage. When Gauri came to know about this, she reached to meet him. Gauri says – When I met Gayatri for the first time, I thought she was my daughter. Mamta grew in me. I decided to adopt it.

Gayatri started living with her new mother in his family. Gauri’s disciples and disciples live in that house. Apparently, they are all transgenders and transgenders. Gayatri found a lot of love in the new house. Some would make oil in the head, some would bring ice cream. After a long time, he found such a caress. Soon she started going to school. Gauri often went with her daughter. She would go shopping and take a walk in the park. She wanted to live like a common woman, but the world does not miss taunting. Gauri says – Once I and Gayatri were going somewhere. On the way, the auto driver asked, is this like you too? Gayatri shouted and said, I am not a eunuch. We mother-daughter often face such questions.

The daughter received good values, so Gauri would often tell her stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata in the evening. Gayatri used to listen to mythological stories very carefully and would also ask all the questions. Gauri says – My daughter is curious about everything. I try to answer her every question, so that she becomes a conscious citizen. Soon, there was a buzz in Maharashtra that a eunuch had adopted a baby girl. Some people praised it, some raised questions. Nowadays an advertisement is being shown on TV. In this advertisement, a eunuch goes to drop her daughter off at a boarding school. The daughter becomes a lawyer and resolves to get her mother’s rights. The advertisement is based on Gauri’s personal life. Interestingly, Gauri herself played the character of Kinnar Maa in it. He hopes that such advertisements will prove effective in changing the attitude of society towards eunuchs. Gauri says- Gayatri was not doing well in school, so I decided to send her to the hostel. I do not want to impose my dreams on her, but I wish that my daughter should be very educated and self sufficient. While sending him to boarding school, I cried a lot, but that was probably true for his better future.

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