Mumbai Social Activist Becomes First Transgender Election Ambassador
In a first, the Election Commission of India appointed Maharashtra’s transgender activist Shree Gauri Sawant as one of the 12 election ambassadors.
According to election officials, as a goodwill ambassador, Shree Gauri Sawant is expected to meet transgenders and urge them to enrol themselves as voters and also explain to them the need to exercise their franchise.
“Voting not just right but a responsibility”
Shree Gauri Sawant expressed her views on being appointed as one of the election ambassadors for the general elections. She said, “Casting a vote is not just an individual’s constitutional right but a social responsibility. It is important that every citizen who’s eligible to vote must do it responsibly. Along with my members of Sakhi Char Chowghi, we help people cast their vote at the polling booths across the city during every election. EC’s decision for the Lok Sabha possibly has given me an added responsibility,” as reported by Mid-Day.
She further said that this voting day all, including women and transgenders, must step out and cast their votes. Saying that every citizen irrespective of their sex, caste, creed or community has equal right to have a say in the government they wish for, she added that she was chosen for the work because of her merit and not just because of her gender.
Gauri’s mother died when she was very young. Her father was a police officer, mostly busy and out of the home. The relationship between Gauri and her father was quite repulsive. He wanted her to live like a “man”, but Gauri (born as Ganesh) was always more feminine. But her father never let her do that. Her neighbours continuously teased and bullied her, but she withstood all the abuse silently. She left her house at the age of 17 and shifted to Mumbai to start life afresh.
After years of efforts and unending dedication, she founded a Non-Government Organisation known as “Sakhi Char Chowghi” that provided health care services and spread sexual awareness amongst transgender and the MSM community.
In 2001, ShreeGauri Sawant adopted a young girl, Gayatri. Gayatri’s biological mother was a sex worker, who died after fighting HIV. Sawant decided to adopt the five-year-old Gayatri after learning that she was being pushed into the sex trade.
Speaking about it, Gauri reveals that she was never sure if she would be a mother, but things became a lot clearer when she met Gayatri and she knew that the little girl needed protection, love and a fair shot at life.