Transgender community still waiting for toilets

Transgender community still waiting for toilets
Highlights

In India, using public toilets is a matter of choice than of ingrained instinct for most people Men use the mens room, women, the womens rest room but we never give a thought to transgender people

In India, using public toilets is a matter of choice than of ingrained instinct for most people. Men use the men’s room, women, the women’s rest room but we never give a thought to transgender people.

They are still not able to decide where they should go? If they go to men’s toilet, they have to deal with all kinds of comments, taunts and threats of violence and if they go to women’s toilet, they have to bear with women staring and sniggering at them. The question is where can they find a “gender-neutral” or unisex toilet in our country?

The transgender community in Warangal, Telangana have come together to demand separate gender-neutral toilets to be set up in crowded public places. Laila, Telangana Hijra and Transgenders Samithi, President, Hanamkonda, Warangal, says, “If someone enters the toilet while I am using it, I walk out myself.

And women are uncomfortable with us using their toilets. Government should pay attention towards our basic needs.” Laila says, at least crowded public places like bus stands, railway stations, collector’s premises should have one toilet for the trans -community.

Reshma, who is a transgender too and was present to support the demand, says, “We feel that unisex toilets might not serve the purpose as we may face more harassment. If we get separate toilets, then we can use them without fear of people.”

Warangal is the second largest city in the State of Telangana with a total population of 10 lakhs. It is home to 600 people belonging to third gender community. City is mindful of the prejudice and marginalisation, the third gender people face.

As a first step towards inclusive sanitation, Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC) has taken initiatives for involving these community members in City Wide Inclusive Sanitation by hiring representatives in City Sanitation task Force (CSTF), a multi stakeholder group that plans, guides and monitors the sanitation service delivery process in the city.

Also, GWMC in partnership with Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation undertook a detailed study in Warangal with an objective to identify interventions for provision of inclusive sanitation for all and examine opportunities for involvement of this community in sanitation service delivery leading to their integration into the larger society.

We all know the fact that most assaults on transgender people occur in public parks and toilets. However, Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation commissioner N Ravi Kiran says that the city is going to build 20 additional public toilets, 15 additional SHE toilets, and exclusive toilets for transgender community.

Finally, in Telangana, Warangal city officials have realised the trauma and agony that members of the transgender community undergo and plan to build separate toilets for transgender community.

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