Daniel Mary Francis Mendocna
Written by- Ritika Rana
When Daniel Mary Francis Mendonca was born doctors found that there was something different about the child, and soon they discovered that albeit Daniel was male in appearance but they (Daniel) possessed internal organs of a female, Daniel was an intersex with XXY hormonal karyotype. As soon as news broke out, their father decided to abandon them and their mother was asked to leave the house if she wanted to keep her child. So their mother emigrated to the slums of Khar, Mumbai for sake of her child. Life was full of hardships for Daniel, they faced sexual assaults and rapes multiple times by their cousins and schoolmates. In the fourth standard, they got their first menses due to which their anus got torn apart into two pieces! This news spread like a wildfire and consequently, they were called to London for surgery where they dwelled for eight years. When they finally returned to India, they were stuck in a sticky wicket as their mother was diagnosed with cancer and there was no source of income for her medical treatment. Prostitution came out to be their last resort. Mendonca, however, didn’t give up and completed their education at the University of Mumbai’s college of social work, Nirmala Niketan. During their college years, they took up an initiative to get India’s first gender-neutral toilet built in a college. In the final year of college, they were asked to write an essay on LGBTQIA+ rights, that essay got selected by UNITED NATIONS, thereafter they were invited to Geneva to represent the intersex community of India. Daniel became the first Intersex person from India to become the chairperson of the drafting committee of the UN, where they drafted the “Inclusive Intersex bill policy” for the world. Today Daniel is a renowned gender activist and conducts workshops on gender sensitivity across the globe. Daniel is the first Indian intersex Ted-ex speaker and also holds a Vidyarthi Bharti Ratne award for excellence in academics.