BHOPAL: In a first in India, there would soon be three signs on display outside some of Bhopal’s public toilets — male, female and transgender. Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) and BJP leader mayor Alok Sharma announced a separate restroom for the “third gender” here on Monday. “Kinnars (the transgender community) have to struggle for everyday things that we take for granted. I have spent my childhood in the walled city and I am aware of their problems. Constructing a separate toilet for them also concurs with the directives of the Supreme Court which accorded them the third gender status,” said Sharma.
The 2014 Apex Court verdict directed that separate toilets be built for members of the transgender community in public places, he said. The first of the public restrooms for the third gender will be constructed in Mangalwara on the site of a dilapidated public toilet in the walled city. Sharma inspected the location on MONDAY and instructed officials to prepare a detailed project report.
“BMC will construct separate public toilets for the transgender community beginning in areas where it is most needed, including near hospitals. Depending on the response to these toilets a decision will be made to create more such spaces in the future,” said Sharma. Sharma informed the transgender community of his decision on Monday.
The transgender community was also invited for consultations when Bhopal’s smart city project kicked off. “We use the restroom meant for women. Going to a public restrooms is not an issue near where we live, but if we are in New Bhopal sometimes we are made to wait until the entire toilet is empty,” said 45-year-old Babita, as she sat under a banyan tree in Alam-baara — a house built in mid-1800.
Situated in the heart of the main retail market of the walled city, there are around 1,000 members of the third gender. Colloquially they are called Mangalwaras – the nomenclature derived from the area they mostly reside in. Over the years the transgender community has contested in elections and won in various districts of MP. In 2001, miss universe Eunuch was held in Bhopal.
Under the Swaach Bharat Mission, around 800 public restrooms are proposed to be built in Bhopal. Last year, former BMC commissioner Tejaswi Naik introduced construction of a ‘She-lounge’, a public restroom facility for women. It includes a waiting room with seating and other women-friendly facilities.
News Source: TOI