India Appoints Third Transgender Judge

This year marked the third time a transgender judge was appointed in India. Swati Bidhan Baruah is the first transgender judge in her state of Assam and the third for the country. The other trans judges include Joyita Mondal of West Bengal and Vidya Kamble of Maharashtra.

Judge Baruah, a trans activist, told the New Indian Express that this position didn’t come easily for her, revealing that she “had to fight a legal battle to achieve this.” She went on to say that she will continue to fight for the rights of transgendered people.

Judge Mondal, also a trans activist, faced hardship and criticism as a trans woman. Her trials and the trials of others in the community inspired her to build her own organization Dinajpur New Light, helping more than 2,000 trans people in her region. She was also motivated to complete a law degree. And with the India Supreme Court recognizing transgendered people as a third gender in 2014, opportunities opened up for people like Judge Mondal.

This is India’s third progressive move this year. Earlier this summer, India’s Supreme Court lifted the ban on gay sex and on menstruating women entering certain Hindu temples.

The Realist Woman’s take:

What an inspiring story. You have three trans people who were appointed to be judges in India! It’s amazing and an incredibly progressive step towards equality for all trans people in the country. With conservative laws, traditions, and rituals in place for centuries, it’s about time anyone other than a straight male has equal rights.

India is a country where women are still treated as second-class citizens and are victims of domestic and sexual violence. Trans women seem to not only go through the same dangers but sometimes the violence is worse. If not for the activists fighting for the rights of trans people, opportunities, equality, and three trans people being appointed judges would not exist.

Lastly, with the Trump administration relentless in their pursuit to deny our own trans citizens their rights, it’s awesome to see India embrace the idea of equality for their trans citizens.

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