• Screenshot from Vicks' 'Touch of Care' ad starring Gauri Sawant & her daughter Gayatri. (Vicks / Youtube.)Source: Vicks / Youtube.
The advert stars Indian transgender activist Gauri Sawant and her adopted daughter, Gayatri.
By
Chloe Sargeant

24 Apr 2017 - 11:54 AM  UPDATED 24 Apr 2017 - 11:54 AM

A video from Vicks India's new advertising campaign, 'A Touch of Care', has gone viral around the world for its beautiful and highly emotional story about a transgender woman and her adopted daughter. 

The ad is narrated by Gayatri, a young Indian girl whose adopted mother, Gauri Sawant, is a transgender woman and a well-known trans activist.

Gayatri explains that from the age of six, she was taken care of by Gauri - her birth mother was "very sick everyday", and was taken away in an ambulance one day and never returned. Gauri was friends with Gayatri's birth mother, a sex worker who tragically died from AIDS. Gauri is unable to lawfully adopt Gayatri due to legal restrictions, but despite this, chose to raise her as her own child "against all odds". 

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Gayatri narrates the everyday lives of the mother and daughter duo, highlighting their strong, loving relationship and describing happy times, such as lazy Sundays with hair massages and horror films. But Gayatri also delves into the discrimination and bias that her mum faces as a trans woman. 

By the end of the emotional ad, viewers learns that Gayatri is on her way to boarding school - Gauri thinks she wants to become a doctor, but in actual fact, Gayatri tells the camera that she'd much rather become a lawyer so she can help her mum fight the injustices she faces as a transgender person in India.

"My Civics book says that everyone is entitled to basic rights," she says. "Then why is my mum denied them?"

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In 2014, the Indian Supreme Court ruled that transgender people had equal rights under the law, and also granted legal status to non-binary people to legally identify as a third gender - neither male or female. However, transgender and non-binary people still face heavy discrimination throughout India.

MP Shashi Tharoor - the sponsor of a recent anti-discrimination bill to extend the rights of transgender Indians and other minorities - told The Guardian that intolerance of LGBTQIA minorities was on the rise in India, and he believed it to be a hangover from British imperialism.

“Transgender people were certainly made an ‘other’ by the British,” he says. “The same with homosexuals. Homosexuality was accepted and understood in Indian civilisation for 1,000 years, as were transgender [people]. All of these things were accepted in our culture until the British came along."

Vicks' incredibly moving 'Touch of Care' advert has amassed over 9 million views (and counting) on Youtube.