COVER MOD DE TURNED INT TO STUNNING DIVA
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.
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