The transgender community has welcomed the Delhi government's order to mandate all its departments, offices, district authorities, municipal corporations, state-run companies, and the police to have separate and exclusive washrooms for transgender persons.
The order further stated that trans-people shall continue to be allowed to use gender-based toilets as per their self-identified gender. The government has given agencies a maximum time of two years to build these exclusive toilets.
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), in its annual budget for the years 2021-2022, has decided to provide public toilets for the third gender.
"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, Public Sector Units, corporations and local bodies of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi are hereby directed to create separate identified public toilet facilities for transgender persons," Hindustan Times quoted the order.
The decision is no less than a sigh of relief for the community members. Speaking to the media, Simran Sheikh said using public restrooms before and after the transition was a 'nightmare'. Lauding the government for its move, the 38-year-old trans woman called it a progressive move that would further help people from stigmatising the community's people.
"We feel included that we are counted within the system, and the system is thinking about us," Sheikh added.
However, there is an opinion about neutrality. A 34-year-old transwoman, Grace Banu questioned the provisions for trans-men and queer people. "We don't need separate toilets; we need gender-neutral toilets. These schemes have little impact," the media quoted her as saying.
Trans rights activist Abhina Aher said that providing any facility for the community members' basic necessity is a welcoming change. "The government needs to increase its priorities for trans persons," she said.
Speaking about the gender-neutrality aspect, Aher added that some trans-people feel that having separate toilets would further stigmatise them. The government must make at least one toilet gender-neutral in areas where separate toilets cannot be made, she said.
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