Joya Sikder is a transgender rights activist.

Joya Sikder was born in a city called Potuakhali in Bangladesh in 1973. She was the third born in a group of four siblings. Joya was brought us as a boy, but when she was 10, she started to feel that she is a girl. It was then that she started to express herself as a girl. She has always been of a rebellious spirit, keenly aware of ones right for self-expression.

Joya Sikder is a transgender rights activist who has been working in Bangladesh for 20 years. She is the founder and currently the President of Somporker Noya Setu (SNS), an organization that works to ensure rights of members of the transgender and LGBT communities through advocacy, mobilization, sensitization workshops and policy dialogues. SNS has been working since 2010. She currently also works as a researcher at ICDDRB where she has been working from 2005 to collect data on health of transgender community members. She worked at Care Bangladesh from 1998- 2003, as an outreach worker to collect data on violence against hijra community and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and condom usage through one on one distribution and focus group discussions. She has also served as the Founder member at Badhon hijra shanghai from 2003- 2009, and worked as Secretary general to build capacity of the organization, raised awareness about community rights and engaged in negotiation dialogues with donors and implemented different projects.

As an activist, she takes part in different international and local conferences and policy dialogues. She represented her organization at the ILGA Asia conference in 2014 in Taipei, where she spoke about the current situation of the transgender community members, after the government recognized hijra as the third gender in Bangladesh. She has also taken parts in international workshops such as the Regional workshop on including voices of marginalized women and people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity in the universal periodic review process,organized by UNDP, where she collaborated with members from Human rights commission and sex worker organization and took part in designing a strategy and action plan to work around issues around discrimination, violence and health of marginalized groups. In 2014, she took part in the UNAIDS workshop on AIDS in Asia Pacific region to come up with a work and strategy plan till 2030. She also took part at the International AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia, where she spoke about sex workers rights. In 2016, she attended the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa. In 2017, she also participated at ILGA conference at Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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August 30, 2020

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