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“Unity in diversity” is an expression that is often used in India to express peace and unity between different individuals and groups. It includes ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic, cultural, and several other aspects in it. But why this phrase doesn't apply to those who live differently than the typical norms of society. The entire LGBTQ community and especially transgender people are still treated as some kind of alien objects in many parts of our country. Transgender people face the most amount of hatred from society because of their appearance and distinct looks. Many of them accept the fact and helplessly become beggars, sex-workers, and so on, and this may sound bitter, but it is the reality that they live in today. But a few people truly fight for what they deserve as a human. And one such charismatic person struggling for herself and the development of the entire transgender community is Joyita Mondal.

Joyita Mondal was born in a traditional Hindu family in Kolkata, West Bengal as ‘Joyonto’. She was named Joyonto because she was initially born as a male. In 2009, Joyita left her family and moved to Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur, saying to her parents that she got a job there, and she never went back. But her fate of being born transgender, made her suffer for her identity in society, and she suffered the worst after leaving her family. Joyita starved for food and slept with an empty stomach at bus stands, and even begged on the streets. Even hotels didn't provide her a room and food even though she was willing to pay. But with time, she somehow completed her studies through correspondence and got a law degree. In 2010, she became the first trans person from her district to get a voter ID. Joyita Mondal also started working in an office for 5000 Rs per month, and she likewise began socializing with LGBTQ people.

Soon with her hard work and enthusiasm, Joyita started an NGO named ‘Notun Alo’ or ‘Nai Roshni for Dinajpur’, which means a new light for Dinajpur. She began this NGO for the welfare of LGBTQ people and to fight for their rights, the NGO has saved around 2,200 transgenders till now. In 2014, the Supreme Court of India recognized transgender people as a third gender, and it ordered the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities. In 2015, she got involved with some people in setting up a home for older people who were HIV positive, and she also shaped some patient's welfare committees. But, Joyita thinks that there is an extremely long way to go before making transgender people work and make them socialize with the other people of society. The social stigma and other customs are the biggest hurdles in the way of empowering transgenders in India.

After obtaining some outstanding achievements with her NGO, Joyita chose to broaden her help to all the people irrespective of the LGBTQ community and irrespective of the odds of the society. Joyita Mondal and the members of her NGO worked on multiple social issues, and this built a strong rapport between Joyita and District level government. She gained a lot of respect and popularity after her sincere work for society. From sleeping on bus stands and begging with an empty stomach to being famous and respectable for the incredible work, she proved that anyone can achieve what they deserve with willingness and hard work, even after there are thousands of people ready to put you down.

After working together with the district Government, she was also appointed as the 1st transgender judge at the Lok Adalat Civil Court on July 8, 2017. Joyita Mondal took charge of the social worker post in the 3-Judge Lok Adalat bench consisting of a judge, an advocate, and a social worker.

She has similarly dealt with the settlement of bank loan cases and tenant-landlord disputes. She has worked with several judges and other social workers with complete cooperation.

Joyita Mondal says that “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 many qualifications, they can at least be appointed as Group D staff where physical labor 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.” Joyita also adds, “More time is required for the society to change and we have to give it time.

Joyita Mondal's success and fame didn't stop her uproar against gender discrimination. She is still fighting for her original purpose, which is achieved on the day when transgenders become incorporated into mainstream society and live with dignity. Her life-changing story portrays the fact that even if the whole world is against you, and even if people try to suppress you, your passion, determination, self-belief, stubbornness and the profoundness of your struggles will make you a champion.



( / Wikipedia /