Advocate Padma Lakshmi, Kerala's first transgender woman lawyer, has filed a complaint with Law Minister P Rajeev and the Judicial Registrar of the Kerala High Court, citing transphobia, verbal abuse, and gender-based isolation by her seniors.
Lakshmi wrote in her complaint that a senior lawyer had called her "a scam of the Left Democratic Front's power," during her initial lawyer days. She also mentioned that a government pleader created a defamatory social media post after she started her own office. She stated that the post has now been deleted and the poster blocked her after she came forward with her complaint.
Transphobia Prevalent in Court
Padma Lakshmi wrote in her letter that she started her own office after a derogatory comment about transgender individuals. "I started my office as a reply to the lawyer who said that sex work is the right job for transgender people,” Lakshmi said in her complaint.
Lakshmi also more lewd remarks in court as well as gender-based isolation, expressing frustration over being denied the right to earn a livelihood or live freely as a trans woman. She added that she just wants to live peacefully, work with her cases and files, and seek justice for the poor.
Lakshmi emphasised that she filed the complaint all the while fearing isolation from the legal profession since the government pleaders she faced discrimination from, have strong political backing.
Living as Kerala's First Transwoman Lawyer
Padma Lakshmi enrolled as an advocate in the Bar Council earlier this year and became the first Transgender Lawyer in the State. Kerala Law Minister P. Rajeev posted about her feat on his social media, saying "Adv. Congratulations to Padma Lakshmi and the 1528 lawyers who enrolled yesterday."
The achievement by Padma Lakshmi was widely appreciated on social media after India's first transgender judge, Joyita Mondal was appointed as a judge in the Lok Adalat of Islampur, West Bengal in the year 2017. Earlier in 2018 Vidya Kamble a transgender activist was appointed as a member judge in the Lok Adalat situated in Nagpur, Maharashtra as well and the country got the third transgender judge Swati Bidhan Baruah from Guwahati.
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