The Madras High Court has called for a survey on the availability of toilets and bathrooms for people from the transgender community, reports the ToI. The court has further demanded a report on the same in order to help the social welfare department build such facilities in areas with large transgender communities.
The first bench of acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice RMT Teekaa Raman were reportedly hearing a PIL on the lack of toilets for transgender persons in areas with a high density of their population. While the petitioner had listed Tondiarpet, Choolaimedu, Pulianthope and Saidapet as areas where bathrooms are required, the court stated that this was a larger issue and expanded the scope of the petition.
The bench in its order said, “The Government Pleader submits that the Director of Social Welfare addressed a letter to the Joint Commissioner (Works), Corporation of Chennai to build exclusive public toilets and bathroom for third genders particularly in Tondiarpet, Choolaimedu, Pulianthope and Saidapet areas where more number of third genders are presently living in Chennai city.”
The bench directed the petitioner to conduct the survey and facilitate the process. “Since a larger issue is involved in this matter, we hereby direct Devarajan to take a survey and submit a report facilitating the department to take appropriate steps to build exclusive public toilets-cum-bathroom for third genders where more number of third genders are living," the ToI quotes the court as saying.
Besides other challenges such as education and employment, members of the transgender community faced embarrassment due to absence of toilets exclusively for them, the petitioner claimed. He further submitted that he had already sent a representation in this regard to the state government in 2016 but in vain.
The petitioner, in his PIL, has reportedly cited the 2011 census and stated that there were close to 10 lakh transgender persons living in Tamil Nadu. He alleged that despite the Government identifying them as a third category for certain benefits, they are still a constant subject of ridicule and abuse. In addition to this, he claimed, they are sidelined and treated as untouchables.