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Meet India’s first transgender judge Joyita Mondal

Source: Facebook

Joyita Mondal dropped out of school, slept at a bus stand, and begged on the streets.

She is a school dropout. She is also India’s first transgender to be appointed as a judge of a lok adalat* (People’s Court).

Joyita Mondal was born ‘Joyonto’ (male) in a traditional hindu family in Kolkata, West Bengal.

She was relentlessly bullied at school and faced discrimination when she was a kid.

She dropped out of school, slept at a bus stand, and begged on the streets, before leaving Kolkatta and moving to a small town of Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur district in 2009.

Over the next seven years she built her own organisation 'Dinajpur Notun Alo' (Dinajpur new light) which till date has worked with 2,200 trans-genders in the region.

In July, the 29-year-old was appointed India’s first transgender judge of a Lok Adalat in Bengal.

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

On her first day, she heard a few cases on recovery of bank loans where she ruled for negotiations to resolve the issue.

Joyita Mondal told The New Indian Express that she would like to work toward more transgender people being employed in government and private sectors in regular jobs.

"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."

"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.

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

*Lok Adalat (the People’s Court) is one of the alternative dispute redressal mechanisms in India. It is a forum where disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled amicably. 

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