India’s first transgender judge Joyita Mondal has underlined the need for reservation in government jobs for her community members, saying their entry in segments like the police force and the Railways will change society’s outlook towards them and help in their advancement in life.
Mondal said her community also needs shelter homes in adequate numbers in the country and the government should launch a scheme in this regard. “It is very important to give reservation in government jobs to the transgender community. If I don’t have a job, who is going to feed me?” Mondal told reporters on Friday after attending a culture and literature festival, “Lit Chowk”, in Madhya Pradesh’s Indore.
She said if by virtue of reservation, transgender persons join the police force and the Railways, it will not only help community members march ahead in life, but change society’s outlook towards them. She said authorities should be more sensitive towards her community members and the issues faced by them.
Mondal was appointed a judge in the Lok Adalat of Islampur in West Bengal in 2017, becoming the first person from her community to hold such a post in the country.
In early 2018, transgender activist Vidya Kamble was appointed a member judge in a Lok Adalat in Nagpur in Maharashtra. Later that year, the country got the third transgender judge, Swati Bidhan Baruah, who hails from Guwahati.
Last week, in a landmark decision, the Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court that members of the third gender can apply for the post of police constables and that it would frame rules setting standards for their physical tests by February 2023.
Mondal comes from a traditional household in West Bengal and suffered a lot of discrimination in her childhood because of her gender identity. She dropped out of school after Class 10th after which she slept at bus stands and begged on streets. She moved to Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur district and worked for the upliftment 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 organisation, Dinajpur Notun Alo (Dinajpur New Light), that is currently reaching out to and helping thousands of people in her district. Mondal works for the welfare and development of the transgender community of West Bengal. In 2015, she was involved with others in setting up a home for older people who were HIV positive and forming patients’ welfare committees.
On July 8, 2017, 29-year old Mondal became the first transgender judge of a Lok Adalat from West Bengal. She attended office as judge of a Lok Adalat at Islampur in North Dinajpur, where some of her first cases involved the recovery of loans provided by banks.