It was a proud moment for the transgender population at large on Saturday, July 8 when Joyita Mondal, a transgender woman drove into Islampur court premises in a car marked 'judgeship on duty'.
From begging on the streets to being appointed to a bench of National Lok Adalat in Uttar Dinajpur district of West Bengal, Joyita Mondal, a transgender woman has had the journey of her life.
This is the first time a person from the transgender community has earned the opportunity to enter the system and getting the authority to bring change.
"It is not just about empowerment. This is about getting into the system and getting the authority to make a difference," said Abheena Aher, founder of Trans Welfare Equity and Empowerment Trust told Times of India.
Former judges, legal practitioners and community leaders are the ones who get appointed to the bench in Lok Adalats. A local daily reported that it was Joyita's rigorous social work in Islampur that helped her in getting the opportunity to become a member of the bench.
Born as Jayanta, Mondal left college in Kolkata to become a social worker following taunts from her classmates. She later joined a call centre in a prominent national bank, but that too turned a bit rough.
She told Youth Ki Aawaz, "I wasn't attacked physically or sexually, but I was made the butt of many insensitive jokes. People would talk about me, stare at me and make fun of me. The situation was so bad that I was completely depressed working there. I decided to quit."
Founder of Dinajpur Notun Alo Society (DNAS)
According to a report from a local daily, Mondal had visited Islampur located at the border of Bihar and Bangladesh for the first time while working for a self-help group (SHG) in Siliguri which was involved in raising awareness about HIV.
Nearly 200 transgender women worked with Joyita in Islampur. Under her guidance, many have learnt work on the lines of geriatric care. She had also prepared courses in sewing and trained some of them to be beauticians.
But things hit a roadblock after her projects were closed down without a prior notice. This forced her to beg on streets and made her do what other people in her community normally did.
She was allegedly pushed out of a hotel and had to spend the night at a bus stand, five minutes away from the court where she had gone to fight for her identity.
Joyita reportedly told the local daily that till date she had been going to court to fight cases now she would have to learn to become a better judge.