In a groundbreaking new ad, Vicks presents a touching story of transgender motherhood. Drawing from the campaign’s tagline, “Everyone deserves the touch of care,” the Indian ad tells the true story of a transgender women, or hijra, who has adopted the orphaned daughter of a sex worker.
The young girl, Gayatri, narrates the touching story of how she came to live with her new mom, Gauri Sawant. She talks about seeing her birth mother taken away in an ambulance, never to return, and the love and care she’s received from her adopt mother since.
The story touches on a subculture, complete with it’s own lore, of hijra sex workers who adopt the children of peers who have died, often from HIV-related causes. As legend has it, if a hijra pays homage at the shrine of Sufi seer Khwaja Gareeb Nawaz Moinuddin Chishti, she will be blessed with a child, OPEN magazine explains.
In the cinematic ad, directed by filmmaker Neeraj Ghaywan, Gayatri is sent off to boarding school to shield her from the difficult life of a transgender sex worker. Gauri Sawant wants her adopted daughter to be educated to have opportunities that she and her birth mother did not. But young Gayatri isn’t thinking about her future prosperity, she’s thinking about her mom.
It’s the only time the ad touches on the fact that Gayatri’s adopted mom is different. Until that moment, it only emphasizes her caring and love for her daughter, and the sacrifices she makes for her well-being. Like a mother does.
Watch the ad below, but grab the tissues first.