New Delhi and Varanasi get their first toilet for transgender persons

Until recently, Mysore and Bhopal were the only cities in the country to have toilets for trans persons

The Uttar Pradesh government has built the State’s first public toilet for trans persons in the Kamachha area of Varanasi under the Smart City project to ensure the participation of the community in the cleanliness of the city, reports ANI.

It was inaugurated by Mayor Mridula Jaiswal today. "It is the first transgender toilet in Uttar Pradesh. We will build more wherever they are required," said, Mridula Jaiswal, Varanasi Mayor.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has directed all its departments, district authorities, municipal corporations, and autonomous bodies to set up separate toilets for trans persons at their respective offices, as per a report by PTI. 

The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has decided to provide public toilets exclusively for transgender persons in the 2021-22 annual budget. The deadline set for building toilets is two years.

In an order, the government said in case such toilets cannot be constructed immediately, the existing facility available for persons with disabilities (PwD) should be designated for the use of transgender persons for the time being. 

“In compliance with the provisions of section 22 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 for ensuring adequate welfare measures for transgender persons, all public buildings under all the departments, autonomous bodies, PSUs, corporations and local bodies of Government of NCT Delhi are hereby directed to create separate identified public toilet facilities for transgender persons,” the order said.

“Such toilets will display symbols for both PwDs and T for trans persons. Trans individuals shall continue to be allowed to use gender-based toilets as per their self-identified gender,” the social welfare department said in its order issued last week.

It has been a long struggle for the trans community to get separate washrooms for them. In 2014, the Supreme Court of India accorded “third gender” status to transgenders and an individual’s right to determine the gender they identify with. The verdict included a directive for separate toilets for transgender individuals in public places including hospitals.

In January, 2021, it has been reported that the NDMC has started constructing a toilet at Shastri Bhawan for trans persons. However, until recently Mysore and Bhopal were the only two cities to have public toilets for transgenders. The road to inclusion remains a long one indeed.

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