On July 8 this year, 29-year-old Joyita Mondal became the country’s first transgender person to be appointed as judge in a Lok Adalat. She became judge in a Lok Adalat in Islampur, West Bengal.

“When I came to Islampur around nine years ago, my job was restricted to working for the rights and development of the transgender and LGBT community. But as I slowly progressed and got in touch with district administration officials, I felt the urge to work for all people and not just a community,” Joyita told The New Indian Express.

READ: Why 8 Transgender Workers have Already Quit their Jobs with Kochi Metro?

Born as a boy in a traditional Hindu family in Kolkata, Joyita was named ‘Joyonto’.

Early Days

A school dropout, Joyita left her hometown Kolkata and headed to Siliguri in 2009 after spending days on the streets, She slept at a bus stand, and begged. Fate landed her in Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur district in 2010. She began working as a member of the transgender community for the welfare and development of her marginalised community.

“A handful of us becoming judges, principals won’t bring a change. Till transgenders are working as sex-workers and begging in trains, individual successes mean nothing. Even if they don’t have much qualification, they can at least be appointed as Group D staff where physical labour is involved. I have not come from Kolkata to Uttar Dinajpur for just my fight. I cannot ignore my community because of whom I have reached this position. 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,” she claimed.

Over the years she started her own organisation ‘Dinajpur Notun Alo’ (Dinajpur new light) which till date has saved 2,200 transgender people in the region.

“Even as I move around in air-conditioned cars now, my people beg by day and work as sex workers at night.”

Recently, in an interview with Women’s eNews, she said,

“I didn’t tell my family that I was unable to take the verbal bullying by other boys in my school. I just told my mother I had got a job in Dinajpur, a neighbouring district in the state, and wanted to go there. I told her that I would come back in two months if things didn’t work out, and she consented.”

On her first day of duty as judge, she resolved some hard issues. “All governments want to appoint one person from a weaker community to a top post so that voices of others of the community are muffled,” she said. “I would not let that happen.”

READ: 21-Year-Old Helps Create Separate Washrooms For Transgender People

“Even if two to three per cent of transgender [people] in Islampur get dignified jobs, I would consider my appointment as beneficial for my community. They would not have to work as sex workers for Rs 150-200 and can have a good sleep at night,” she added.

Also Read: Vicks Ad’s Mother Gauri Sawant Redefines What It Means to be a Transgender Mom

2017 has marked a wave of evolution for transgender people in India. Joyita‘s appointment is a step in the right direction. SheThePeople.TV salutes you!

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