Women's Activism NYC

Joyita Mondal

1986 - Today

Date Added:

Joyita Mondal Mahi is the first transgender judge of a Lok Adalat (civil court) in India, in the West Bengal region. Born and raised in West Bengal, India, Mondal comes from a traditional Hindu household and suffered a lot of discrimination in her childhood because of her gender identity. She dropped out of school after 10th, grade slept at bus stands and begged on streets. She moved to Islampur -- Uttar Dinajpur district -- and worked for the empowerment of the transgender community. Simultaneously, she also completed her studies through correspondence and got a degree in law. In 2010, she was the first trans-person from her district to get a voter ID. Mondal also started her own organization, Dinajpur Notun Alo (Dinajpur New Light), that currently works with transgender and other marginalized communities like sex workers, beggars and victims of trafficking in her district. β€œI started counseling sessions in hopes of reducing stigma by inviting relatives and family members of transgender persons. We showed films on the problems faced by the community. Further, sensitization of teachers and students in government and private schools and colleges started, and street plays at bus stands and other popular spaces were performed,” Mondal says. β€œIt gives me great satisfaction to know I have broken gender stereotypes. It is also gratifying to see those who once taunted me about my gender, stand before me with folded hands waiting for a judgment on their case,” Mondol says.

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