Obama administration allowed unrestricted access to transgender students to use public bathrooms in US. US President Donald Trump has revoked the norm, which prompted public outrage.
In India, government has taken a decision to allow transgenders to use toilets of their choice.
How did it happen? Read on.
In a significant move, the Ministry of Sanitation issued guidelines under Swachh Bharat Mission to this effect. The guidelines stated, "In many communities, the third gender may often be dissociated from the mainstream. Swachh Bharat Mission should make a conscious effort that they are recognised as equal citizens and users of toilets. They should be allowed to use the facility of their choice (men or women) in the community or public toilets."
The statement was placed under the heading, 'Inclusivity.' The Ministry said that a "conscious effort" should be made to ensure that members of the third gender are recognized as equal citizens and users of the toilet.
The guidelines mentioned several instances wherein eunuchs played an important role in spreading the message of Swachhata Bharat in Indian households.
It further said, "Where suitable, their support can be enlisted in engaging communities, and their efforts should be duly recognised and honoured to break any stigma around them, and also to enable them to use facilities without any embarrassment."
In another move, Madras High Court on April 4 passed an order to ensure that transgenders get access to public toilets. Madras High Court ordered Tamil Nadu government to build public toilets in areas which are inhabited by transgenders.
The High Court remarked, "Government Pleader submits that the Director of Social Welfare sent a letter to the Joint Commissioner (Works), Municipal Corporation of Chennai, to build exclusive public toilets and bathrooms for third genders particularly in Tondiarpet, Choolaimedu, Pulianthope and Saidapet areas where more number of third genders are presently living in Chennai city."
In 2016, the centre enacted the Real Estate Regulation Act which said "home-buying should be "non-discriminatory." This allowed the third gender to buy homes for themselves.
Meanwhile, the sanitation ministry has asked states to ensure that members of the Village Water and Sanitation Committee should include at least 50% women.