On this week's Behind the Scenes at BLS, alumna Daminee Budhi reflects on how her mother's activism for women's equality inspired her to pursue a legal career and on her current work in civil society to support the rights of trans, non-binary and gender diverse people!
My mother has always been my inspiration – a CEO of a charity supporting women who had experienced domestic violence, working tirelessly to ensure women’s voice were heard and listened too. My mother throughout her career faced multiple barriers, and realised that a career in law, or at least a degree in law might equip her daughter with an authoritative tool, and so I decided at the age of 12 that I would go to university to study law.
By the time I started my first year at BLS, I had already come to the realisation that I didn’t want to practice law. I had my mind set on getting my law degree, and then applying for a Master’s in Human Rights Law or something that spoke to my social justice activist heart.
Inspired by the Gender and Law module I took at BSL in my third year, I began my masters in Gender Studies and Law at SOAS in London. My time at SOAS was one of the best years of my life, with courses such as Law and Postcolonial Theory and Gendering Migration and Diasporas. Having left SOAS in the autumn of 2019, I realised that although I now had a relatively steady grasp of feminist, queer and critical race theory, I didn’t have much practical experience in implementing them to bring about practical social change, which takes us to the here and now.
I love (with capitals) my job – Mermaids is a charity which supports trans, non-binary and gender-diverse young people with an overarching aim to create a world where gender-diverse children and young people can be themselves and thrive. As the Legal and Policy Officer at Mermaids, I’m given the opportunity to engage with other charities and organisations who are working collectively in hopes we can make the world better for the people we support. The ‘legal’ aspect of my job means I get the chance to speak first hand with our service users, providing them with support and guidance on their legal enquiries. I get to hear their voice’s lifting the more we talk, when they realise they’re not alone, and I’m here to support them in whatever way I can. My law degree has given me the opportunity to experience that, and I will forever be grateful for it.