Age: 42 Years Marital Status: Unmarried Hometown: Pune, Maharashtra
|Nickname||Khala Mumbai Mirror|
|Real name||Ganesh Suresh Sawant Mumbai Mirror|
|Other Name||Gauri Sawant Hindustan Times|
|Physical Stats & More|
|Height (approx.)||in centimeters– 175 cm
in meters– 1.75 m
in feet & inches– 5’ 9”
|Date of Birth||22 July 1980 (Tuesday)|
|Age (as of 2022)||42 Years|
|Birthplace||Bhavani Peth, Pune, Maharashtra|
|Ethnicity||Marathi Nav Bharat Times|
|Relationships & More|
|Children||Daughter– Gayatri (adopted in 2008)|
|Parents||Father– Suresh Sawant (police officer)
Mother– Name Not Known (died when Gauri was 7 years old)
|Siblings||She has an elder sister.|
Some Lesser Known Facts About Shreegauri Sawant
- Shreegauri Sawant is an Indian transgender activist who is known for being the director of Sakhi Charchowghi Trust.
- Gauri was the second child of her parents and was born after 10 years of her elder sister. Gauri’s mother did not want a second child, and she even thought of aborting Gauri in the seventh month of her pregnancy. However, doctors denied the abortion in the last stage of her pregnancy. During an interview, while talking about the same,
My mother 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.”
- Gauri further shared that in childhood, she used to play games like ghar-ghar and teacher-teacher with girls in her locality, and she never liked playing football or cricket. She said,
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—plucking leaves from the ajwain trees and cutting them into little rotis with the cap of a Thumbs Up and so on, collecting sing-dana and pretend boiling them in the cooker—I enjoyed it all so much! I would get yelled at about this a lot at home. But I never changed.”
- During an interview, she shared a memory of her childhood. She said that when she was 10 years old, one of her aunts asked her what she would like to become when she grew up. Gauri replied that she wanted to be a mother. Everyone present there laughed at her and said a boy could never become a mother.
- While she was in school, her classmates used to make fun of her for her feminine gestures. One day, her principal called her father to share that the principal had noticed some feminine traits in Gauri. Gauri’s father got very upset over this and started ill-treating Gauri. He even stopped talking to her. In an interview, Gauri shared how her father used to behave with her. She said,
When he would come home, I would quickly rush to the bedroom. He used to not see my face. It was not his fault. My behaviour was so effeminate that anybody and everybody would make fun of me, calling me names. Dad would fire bullets at work and come home to a son that everyone made fun of. He was not always like this. When I was young, like every other father, he would take me on bike rides and love me equally. But there has never been any discourse in my family about sexuality, gender etc; they were not sensitised at all. Once, my father told me, ‘Tu road pe taali bajaate ghoomega’. It hurt me a lot. This other time, when I called him for some work, my ‘hello’ itself was different, so he told me, ‘Kya hijre jaisa baat karta hai’ (why do you talk like a eunuch?) So, I never answered the phone when he would call.”
- By the time she was a teenager, Gauri was aware of her sexuality, but she did not have enough guts to talk about it with her father. She used to dress up like her grandmother when no one was at home. Once, her family member found that she was wearing a bra under her t-shirt. This made his family members very angry, and they started keeping an eye on her activities. They even asked Gauri to keep the doors open while urinating.
- At the age of 17, Gauri decided to leave his home. One day he ran from his home in Pune to Mumbai with Rs 60 only. In an interview, she talked about leaving her home. She said,
I had 60 bucks, and knew that a train comes from Chinchwaad that passes through Pune and drops us to Dadar in Mumbai. I went to Siddhivinayak as it was Tuesday, and had the two laddoos I got for prasad as lunch, and in the evening, I had ragda pattis at Dadar station. I couldn’t eat that, and the boy who served me water brought the glass with his finger inside it, and I couldn’t drink that! There was a tap somewhere in a canteen I found, with rice and food stuck to it, which I drank from.”
- Gauri then went to her gay-turned-trans sex worker friend and lived with him for 2-3 days as she did not have any accommodation in Mumbai. She did not want to work as a sex worker or beggar, so her friend asked her to meet the social workers of ‘Humsafar Trust,’ an LGBTQ organisation. During an interview, while talking about the same, Gauri said,
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. I was a pansy, not a gay. I was a hijra. I wanted to do something for the transgender community. I wanted to work with underprivileged kids and open a shelter home for transgenders.”
- While she was working with ‘Humsafar Trust,’ she met various Indian social activists like Ashok Row Kavi, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, and Kanchana (Gauri’s guru maa). Gauri then decided to transform herself into a hijra or third gender. She then changed her identity from Ganesh to Gauri. The social activist Ashok Row Kavi then suggested her to start a trust for the welfare of transgenders. In 2002, Gauri started Sakhi Charchowghi Trust aka Aajicha Ghar and became the director of the trust. The trust then aligned with the Mumbai District Aids Control Society. Since then, Sakhi Charchowghi Trust has been helping transgenders and sex workers by providing them with HIV testing camps, free condoms, and social awareness camps.
The Sakhi Charchowghi Trust
- In an interview, Gauri shared that even after so many years of her transformation into hijra, her family did not accept him. She said,
Aaj 20 saal ho gaye, mere family ne mujhe apnaya nahi. I worked for a while in a shelter for children, because I like being with children, but they had a problem, when I identified my gender. The Father (who ran the shelter home) sent me away. Insaan chand par pahunch gaye, par hum gender me phase hai (On one hand we send people to the moon. On the other, we are still trapped by our gender) Women haven’t got their 33 per cent reservation. What about us? Hamara number kab aayega? (When will our turn come?)”
- In 2008, Gauri adopted a girl child Gayatri whose biological mother died of AIDS. Gayatri’s grandmother wanted to sell her to sex-trafficking people, but Gauri asked her to take money from her and hand over the girl to her. Gauri received huge criticism for adopting a girl being a transgender. In an interview, she talked about it. She said,
I had thought some relative would come and collect the child after a few days. No one came. My guru said I had made a big mistake. I began to wonder why I had let myself into this mess. Then one day the child, while sleeping next to me, stretched to put her arm around me. After that I knew I would never allow her to leave. Gayatri is now studying to be a doctor and lives in a hostel.”
I used to get a lot of hate but once my story went viral that I had adopted a girl, people’s perspective changed towards me. They had never accepted me as a trans person but when I became a mother of a five-year-old they accepted my motherhood. My daughter taught me that you don’t need to have a uterus or give birth to a baby, motherhood is all about caring and loving a child. I was happy when people started recognising me for my motherhood.”
- In 2009, Gauri filed an affidavit in a court for the legal recognition of transgenders in India. Her appeal was forwarded by the Indian NGO ‘Naz Foundation.’ She even petitioned with help of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). After hearing her plea, the apex court of India passed the transgender law. In 2014, she filed a petition for the ‘right to adoption by transgender’ in the Supreme Court of India. She has also worked for getting the basic rights of transgenders and making the third gender eligible to apply for Aadhaar cards. During an interview, she shared that earlier, she used to face many difficulties for not having a birth document as her family abandoned her. She said,
Main ghar se bhaagke aai, kaha se laaun birth certificate, bonafide certificate, PAN card, ration card, Aadhar card (My family has abandoned me, how do I produce certificates?)”
Shreegauri Sawant with one of her chelas
- Gauri has also helped in providing shelter to trans people who are abandoned by their families. After the biological mother of her adopted girl died of HIV AIDS, Gauri decided to work for the welfare of HIV-infected people.
- Apart from this, Gauri has been actively involved in various activities for the welfare of animals.
Shreegauri Sawant with her pet dog
- In 2017, the adoption story of Gauri was featured in the YouTube video ‘Vicks- Generations of Care.’ The video turned out to be a life-changing experience for her. She gained immense popularity with the video and people started recognising her. During an interview, while talking about the same, she said,
Ola drivers who pick me up want to talk to me about the ad, in public places people come up to me and want to shake my hand. My fellow transgender people said you have become too big, now where you have time for us?”
- Gauri is a huge fan of the Indian singer Usha Uthup. In an interview, she shared that Usha was her crush since her childhood. Gauri used to like her dressing style, especially her bindi style. In 2017, Gauri and her favourite Usha Uthup appeared as guest contestants in the Hindi TV show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati.’
Shreegauri Sawant with Usha Uthup in Kaun Banega Crorepati
- In 2019, Shreegauri Sawant was appointed as an election ambassador of Maharashtra along with 11 other members. Gauri became the first transgender to be elected as an election ambassador in India. Me Mumbai During an interview, while talking about her appointment, she said,
I want to make sure that everyone does not let their precious vote go to waste. He must vote, not only the housewives but also the women who are sex workers and transgenders in this country.”
- Gauri has also been invited as a guest speaker at TEDx Talks at various events.
- She has authored a book titled Manav Sansadhan Vikas. In 2019, the Indian author Rhythm Wagholikar published a book on the life of Gauri titled ‘Gauri The Urge To Fly.’
A book on Shreegauri Sawant
- She has also hosted one of the seasons of the Marathi talk show ‘Gharo Ghari Matichya Chuli.’ The show was aired on TV9 Marathi.
- Gauri has received various awards and honours for her contribution towards society.
Shreegauri Sawant holding her award
- She has also represented the transgender community at various fashion shows.
Shreegauri Sawant in a fashion show
- In 2022, the Indian actress Sushmita Sen uploaded a post on her Instagram in which she shared that in her Hindi web series ‘Taali,’ she would portray Shreegauri Sawant.
Sushmita Sen as Shreegauri Sawant in Taali
|↑1, ↑2||Mumbai Mirror|
|↑4||Nav Bharat Times|