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Under the guidance of director Ravi Jadhav, a series centred around Shreegauri Sawant, featuring Sushmita Sen in the role of the transgender rights advocate, is set to premiere in conjunction with Independence Day.
Shreegauri Sawant stands as a distinguished advocate for transgender rights and a dedicated social worker based in Mumbai. In 2014, she played a pivotal role as a petitioner in a groundbreaking verdict by the Supreme Court, a ruling that bestowed legal recognition upon transgender individuals, affording them a comprehensive array of civil liberties and protective measures.
Sawant’s charitable organization, the Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust, has maintained an active presence for numerous decades. In 2008, she undertook the adoption of a young girl named Gayatri. Sawant gained widespread recognition through her participation in a viral advertising campaign by Vicks, further extending her influence by making an appearance on a segment of Kaun Banega Crorepati, where she shared the spotlight with her personal idol, Usha Uthup. It’s noteworthy that Sawant adopted Uthup’s distinctive style of sporting large bindis, effectively making them her own trademark.
Shreegauri Sawant, also known as Gauri Sawant, entered the world as Ganesh in the Bhavanipeth Sarkari quarters of Pune, given that her father held the position of a police officer. Significantly, Gauri Sawant had shared in a previous interview that her mother contemplated aborting her due to a decade-long gap between pregnancies. “However, the doctor reassured her that this baby had developed and grown so resilient that even if subjected to impact, she would not succumb. My birth occurred amid such wavering circumstances, which contributed to my subsequently complex gender identity,” expressed Gauri Sawant.
The passing of Gauri Sawant’s mother holds profound significance in her life, marking the pivotal beginning of her transformative journey from Ganesh to Gauri. It is reported that Gauri’s mother passed away when she was merely seven years old, leaving her under the care of her grandmother. Around the age of 14 or 15, Gauri chose to leave her familial home, driven by her desire to avoid disappointing her father.
Upon her arrival in Mumbai, fate led Sawant to encounter a friend, who was a former gay individual turned transgender sex worker. This friend extended hospitality by providing food and shelter for the ensuing four days. During this time, Gauri was introduced to the Humsafar Trust, a prominent LGBTQ+ organization in India, when she was only 16 years old. Under their guidance, she began earning a livelihood of Rs 1500. The core mission of the outreach team was to inspire individuals grappling with their identities to embrace their authentic selves devoid of apprehensions.
In the year 2000, Gauri took the initiative to establish an NGO named Sakhi Char Chowghi Trust, which facilitates counselling for transgender individuals and raises awareness about practising safe sex. A watershed moment arrived when Gauri garnered attention through her participation in a distinctive advertisement by Vicks in 2017. The ad recounted her story, achieving viral status, and portrayed a transgender mother nurturing an orphaned girl. Subsequently, Gauri graced an episode of Kaun Banega Crorepati Season 9, utilizing her winnings from the show to construct dwellings for sex workers near Kharghar.
Presently, Gauri holds the position of director at Sakhi Char Chowghi, an organization that extends support to transgender individuals and those affected by HIV/AIDS. Notably, she also serves as the goodwill ambassador for the Election Commission in Maharashtra.
While Gauri’s accomplishments span a diverse spectrum, the pinnacle remains the formal recognition of the transgender in India, a historic feat she actively contributed to. In 2013, Gauri Sawant played a pivotal role as one of the petitioners for the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). This collective effort culminated in the landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2014 that officially acknowledged transgender individuals.