Gauri Sawant was born as Ganesh a boy in the family of a Police officer. Her mother didn’t want Gauri at all. “She didn’t want me to come into this world, and even tried to get an abortion in the seventh month. But the doctor told her that this baby was now so evolved and strong that one couldn’t destroy her even if she were slammed against a wall. It was into such yes-and-no back-and-forth circumstances that I was born, so I also turned out with an equally confused gender identity,” she narrates. Her mother passed away when she was just 5. Her father always considered her a burden and shame to himself. She did not get love and support from her family. She decided not to change herself to match her sex, but to change her lifestyle to match her identity. Gauri resolved not to be deterred by her social status in India, and resolved to be a mother to family-less children, to ensure no one meets a fate like hers.
In her childhood Gauri was no different from other children. She was as normal as anyone of us. As she grew up, she started understanding that she was not like the others. After her mother’s death, she was not cared for by anyone.
“There was no one to give me attention, to worry about me when I was late from school, or not doing my homework. Because my antics were effeminate, my father, a policeman who belongs to a very macho profession, was slightly embarrassed of me, and was convinced that I would bring shame to the family name someday. He kept his distance since then, and didn’t love me enough,” Gauri Sawant
In spite of being rejected by not only her family, but by the world as well, she openly accepted her identity and never tried to hold herself back.
At the age of 17, Gauri left her home, family, and her city, everything except her identity.
“I had 60 bucks, and knew that a train comes from Chinchwaad that passes through Pune and drops us to Dadar in Mumbai.”
In Mumbai she had a friend, a gay-turned-trans sex worker, who agreed to give her shelter 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, and later, I was introduced to Humsafar Trust (one of the oldest LGBTQ organisations in India). By the grace of god, I never had to beg,” tells Gauri.Gauri earned Rs 1,500 a month. Since Gauri speaks fluently and confidentally with great diction, so, she was deployed to the communications and outreach team—to motivate and advise people facing identity crisis to accept themselves and their true identities.
Gauri Sawant worked with a lot of people, and spread awareness about STDs. She also encouraged sex workers to get tested including her adopted daughter Gayatri’s birth-mother, an HIV-positive sex worker.
Gayatri’s mother eventually died of AIDS when Gayatri was only five. After her mother’s death Gauri Sawant heard of selling Gayatri off as sex worker in Sonagachi.
“I was strongly against that. At that time, I did not know that I would become a mother, that I would raise her and be narrating my story one day. I just knew that this little, motherless, vulnerable girl needed protection and care,” she says. Gauri has sent Gayatri, now 17, to a boarding school for her education. “Gayatri is a strong, independent-minded girl who is in a position to help others. The life ahead of her is full of opportunities that were once denied to her,” Gauri Sawant
Gauri Sawant’s Dream Project Nani Ka Ghar
Gauri Sawant has a dream project called Nani ka Ghar (Grand mom’s home) which has become Gauri’s purpose in life. She is dedicating all her efforts to make a safe haven for children of sex workers a reality. She believes she can provide a secure future and better opportunities to these children by providing them with love, affection, safety, healthcare, and education, helping them live a dignified life. Nani ka Ghar will be constructed away from the city, away from the shackles of the life the children are born into.
Sure, Gauri Sawant isn’t a ‘woman’ biologically but her spirit is truly that of a woman and it can’t be denied that by adopting a motherless girl of a sex worker and giving her all the love and care of a real mother she has proved herself a Wonderful Woman! WonderfulWomen wishes her a bright future with all her dreams coming true!