Joyita Mondal is India’s first transwoman member of a judicial panel of a civil court and a social worker. Mondal started a non-government organisation for the welfare of the LGBTQIA+ community and the NGO later branched out to help others, including elderly people and sex workers.
At at age of 29, she was appointed as a judge in Lok Adalat in West Bengal, making her the first transgender judge in India.
Who is Joyita Mondal?
Joyita Mondal was born into a traditional Hindu family in Kolkata, West Bengal. She dropped out of school after class 10, left her hometown, and travelled to Siliguri. She would sleep at bus stands and beg on the streets.
Mondal later moved to Islampur in the Uttar Dinajpur district. There, she worked for the upliftment of the transgender community. She simultaneously resumed her education via distance correspondence education and got a degree in law.
In 2010, she started a ‘Dinajpur Notun Alo’ (New light for Dinajpur), a non-government organisation (NGO) for the LGBTQIA community. She aimed to raise the awareness of LGBTQIA people regarding their rights.
The same year, Joyita Mandal became the first trans person from her district to get a voter ID. Her NGO also worked with the brothels in Islampur and Panjipara and helped sex workers get rations cards, voter cards, and Aadhaar cards.
Mondal’s NGO ‘Dinajpur Notun Alo’diversified and began to work towards the welfare of needy elderly people as well. Additional District Judge Subroto Pole was impressed by her social work and she was appointed as a Lok Adalat judge.
Joyita Mondal was appointed as a judge in Islampur Lok Adalat on July 8 2017 when she was 29-years-old. In an interview with New Indian Express, Mondal said that “Till transgenders are working as sex workers and begging in trains, individual successes mean nothing”.
In an interview with ANI, she said that “If trans persons start getting government jobs, then their condition will become better”. She cited social discrimination as the reason that many trans persons ran away from home and were unable to get stable jobs.
Speaking about becoming a Lok Adalat judge, Mondal said that “I cannot ignore my community because of whom I have reached this position”. Speaking of jobs for the transgender community, Mondal said that “I would request the government to first start government jobs for transgenders so that our community gets dignified work. I consider work of coolies, peons or other Group D work as dignified.”
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