Gender neutral public toilets a remote dream


Four years on, Bangalore is yet to receive the SC-mandated gender neutral public toilets

Bangalore, April 12, 2018: It has been almost four years since the Supreme Court of India in a verdict mandated that there needs to be gender neutral public restrooms in India.  However, the ground reality is quite different; Mysore is the only Indian city to have a gender neutral public restroom in India.

However, there remains uncertainity over which department looks after the SC mandate. As T. Nataraj, Chief Engineer at BBMP said that he isn’t aware of any such mandate whereas, Viswanath, another Chief Engineer at BBMP said that the construction of public toilets does not fall under his jurisdictionThe need for gender neutral toilets in public spaces came after the continued discrimination transpeople face while trying to use restrooms. Girija, a transwoman said that people in their community do face harassment in women’s restrooms where people tend to get “scared”. “This feels derogatory,” added Girija.

As mentioned by Yash, a board member of Payana, a Bangalore-based NGO, that works closely with the transgender community, said that more than harassment, it is about the implementation of the policy.

The BBMP Joint Commissioner, Sarfaraz Khan, in 2017 has said that the Palike is soon going to start implementing the guidelines mandated by the Apex Court.

Yash added that apart from Mysore, no other city has yet gone through with the mandated guidelines.

As of 2011 census, there are around 20000 transgender people in Bangalore city alone.