Delhi will soon get 517 toilets for transgender people | Delhi latest news

Transpersons in Delhi may soon have more than 500 designated toilets in the city, with the civic body planning to revamp its existing facilities, in an effort to facilitate access to a group that has two public toilets assigned to them in the national capital.

It is possible that the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), for this purpose, will change a policy to allow these modifications, which will allow transgender people to use the 480 existing toilet complexes currently designated for people with disabilities, according to officials familiar with the move.

Officials added that separate sections for trans people will be added to the 37 toilet complexes under construction, bringing the number of such facilities across the city to 517. Moreover, all public toilets built in the city will need to ensure a separate section for trans people, he said Civilian officials.

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A senior official from MCD’s Department of Sanitation said the city does not have any public toilets run by MCD for transgender people. The only public toilets for transgender people are run by the New Delhi Municipal Council, which administers Lutons district.

“As a temporary solution, we have decided to re-allocate the toilet sections designated for people with disabilities, so that they can be used by transgender people. These sections are rarely used and are intended to cater to one person at a time. Adjustments have been issued for separate entry and exit and signage to the toilets appropriately,” said the aforementioned official.

Another MCD official said the civic body is also amending contracts for all toilet complexes under construction so it can incorporate separate sections for transgender people.

“These toilet complexes are being built on a ‘build-operate-transfer’ basis. We have asked contractors to add separate sections for translators in all 37 complexes. All future projects will include this provision,” the official added.

Dozens of sites designated for adding separate blocks are located mostly in North and Central Delhi and include high demand locations such as Jafar Market in Karol Bagh, Ajmeri Gate, Parade Ground near Red Fort, New Delhi Railway Station, Rajendra Place Metro Station, Bank Street in Karol Bagh, Arya Samaj Road, Subhash Park near Jama Masjid and Britannia Chowk, among others.

The five sites where alterations will be made to existing toilet complexes to create new spaces include areas outside Delhi including Rohini Sector 18, Nangloi, Mangolpuri and Jawalapuri.

Activists welcomed the “long-suspended” move.

Anjan Joshi, a health activist who works with the LGBTQI community, said the lack of toilets has hampered the quality of life of transgender people.

Imagine – we live in the national capital, which is visited by people who come from all over the country. But, there are only a few public toilets in the entire city that are intended for use by people from the transgender community. Joshi said it is a huge problem to navigate in daily life.

Chandni, a transgender person living in the capital, agreed.

“No one says anything, but the way people look at me when I visit a women’s public restroom is concerning. The experience makes us very uncomfortable and there is a clear need to separate public restrooms from the community,” she said.

The Transgender (Protection of Rights) Act, approved by Parliament in 2019, criminalizes discrimination against transgender people and enforces equal access to public spaces.

According to the MCD project report, a copy of which HT has seen, more than 70% of the 480 sites will be in the South Delhi region (which also includes parts of West Delhi).

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East Delhi will have 94 of these toilet units and 39 in North Delhi.

NDMC has also decided to increase the number of designated toilets, and will build 10 more toilets in Lodhi Park, Laxmibai Nagar, near Safdarjung Hospital, Akbar Lane, Panchkuian Road and Copernicus Marg and has also made provisions to build four toilets in blocks A ‘B’, ‘D’ and ‘F’ at Connaught Place.

Birbal Das, who works as a latrine official for transgender people, said Delhi needs to build more latrines for transgender people. This is a fundamental humanitarian issue. They are harassed everywhere. We have 1-2 converting visitors per day, turnout is low, but I am often told that men don’t let in regular toilets while females also feel reluctant to share the space. The solution, Das said, is just to build more of these units.

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