Sometimes it’s nice to be wrong. The other day, I speculated that Baby Dove might have given us the first ad featuring a transgender parent who became a parent after transitioning. Turns out that an ad in India for Vicks beat them by a few days—but the ads are far from copies of each other.
The Vicks India ad, part of their #TouchofCare campaign, is told from the perspective of a teen named Gayatri, daughter of trans activist Gauri Sawant. Sawant filed the 2014 lawsuit that resulted in the Indian Supreme Court granting recognition of trans people as a third gender. Gayatri speaks of watching her sick birth mother being taken away in an ambulance and not coming back. “Then one day, Mom came along,” she says, speaking of Sawant. She talks of the hardships her new mom has faced and speaks lovingly of all the things her mom does for her, like cooking, caring for her when she (Gayatri) is ill, and protecting her during scary movies. Her mom has inspired her as well—Gayatri says she wants to be a lawyer to fight for the rights her mom still doesn’t have.
We’re never told Sawant is trans, but I assume that’s because her visibility as an activist in India means most people there are familiar with her.
Baby Dove still has the first U.S. commercial I can recall with a post-transition parent, and the first with a trans biological parent. At this point, though, let’s not worry about who’s first and just enjoy seeing a variety of trans parents on our screens. (I do think it’s important to see trans people becoming parents post-transition (as well as before), in order to show young trans kids that they don’t have to hide or postpone being who they really are in order to have a family.)
“This is my mom. Isn’t she lovely?” Gayatri asks. Yes indeed she is.