COVER MOD DE TURNED INT TO STUN­NING DIVA

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - FASHION -

HE WAS SIX feet tall, taut and toned. When he was on the cover of In­dia’s lead­ing men’s fit­ness mag­a­zine in 2014, he had a 40-30-36 physique, six-pack abs and 16-inch bi­ceps. On MTV’s Splitsvilla (Sea­son 8), his fan fol­low­ing went through the roof. And his fam­ily mem­bers were happy to see him make his mark in the mod­el­ling world, even though it was far re­moved from their busi­ness back­ground.

She walks in, the pic­ture of wil­lowy glam­our. As she glides through the cof­fee-shop, all eyes are on her. She’s im­pec­ca­bly chic, her beau­ti­fully man­i­cured hands ges­tic­u­lat­ing to make a point as we talk about every­thing from bras to boyfriends. At 24, this Mum­bai model has al­ready had of­fers from Bigg Boss and sev­eral agen­cies for shoots, but she dreams about achiev­ing a 32-24-36 fig­ure and mak­ing it to the cover of a women’s fash­ion mag­a­zine.

Such stereo­typ­i­cal sto­ries of two young, good-look­ing peo­ple liv­ing a charmed ex­is­tence in mod­ern In­dia, right? Not quite. This is the tale of ONE per­son’s life: Gau­rav Arora, who was born a boy but al­ways wanted to be a woman. Last week, Gau­rav came out, telling the world that he’s not a he, he’s a she.

PAST TENSE

The dic­tionary will ex­plain that trans­gen­ders are peo­ple whose gen­der iden­ti­ties dif­fer from the sex they are born as. This has noth­ing to do with sex­ual pref­er­ence: it’s about how you feel as a per­son. For Gauri, de­spite the Y chro­mo­some that gave her her gen­der, this means that she’s a girl.

“As a boy, I was drawn to my mum’s and sis­ter’s clothes and make-up and would of­ten wear them,” says Gauri. “My fam­ily were aware of how I was but they didn’t want to ac­knowl­edge it. They were wor­ried how peo­ple would re­act. I think it’d have been eas­ier if we weren’t wealthy, with many im­por­tant con­nec­tions. But they found it very dif­fi­cult to ac­cept me.”

The world can be cruel to those who are dif­fer­ent from what they’re sup­posed to be. At the age of 11, Gauri, then Gau­rav, was raped by older boys from his tu­ition class. It be­gan in­nocu­ously: the boys took Gau­rav to the park with signs of

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