By Gillian Fuller. Photos: Courtesy of YouTube.
A Vick’s commercial telling the true story of a transgender mother and her adopted daughter has gone viral in India, where the transgender community still faces heavy discrimination despite recent progress, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports.
The commercial, narrated by 15-year-old Gayatri, begins with the teen recalling her childhood. She was orphaned at a young age after her birth mother, a sex worker, passed away. She was later taken in by a woman named Gauri Sawant, or as Gayatri calls her, "Mummy." After Gayatri talks about her wonderful life with her mother — who cooks her daughter’s favorite foods, watches horror movies with her, and oils her hair on Sundays — "Mummy" is revealed to be a transgender woman. And though her mom wants her to become a doctor, Gayatri says she has other plans.
"Mom has faced so many problems in her life," she says. "Everyone is entitled to basic rights. Then why is my mom denied them? That’s why…I will be come a lawyer. For my mom."
The three-and-a-half-minute commercial has been watched more than nine million times on YouTube since it was posted at the end of March. Hundreds of comments on the video discuss transgender rights in India, where trans people still experience discrimination despite recent laws granting them more rights. In 2014, for example, India’s Supreme Court granted legal status to those who identify as transgender, ruling that transgender people have equal rights under the law.
Though the court’s ruling represented legal progress, it hasn’t been entirely upheld in India, where trans women — known as "hijras" — are often ostracized, especially in smaller communities. Trans individuals still aren’t allowed to adopt, for example, though there are legal loopholes that allow them to sometimes assume guardianship of an orphaned or abandoned child. The Vick’s ad specifically highlights outdated adoption restrictions. It’s a powerful video, especially considering the goal of an ad is, primarily, to sell something: Vick’s doesn’t focus on its product but rather shows a trans mother and daughter relationship in a positive, healthy light — demonstrating that transgender parents can be every bit as capable and loving as cisgender ones.
Watch it, here.
This story originally appeared on Allure.
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