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India asks states to allow transgenders use public toilet of their choice
April 07,2017   By:Xinhua
NEW DELHI, April 7, 2017 -- The Indian government has directed all its states to let transgenders use public toilet of their choice, officials said Thursday.
 
The directive "guidelines on gender issues in sanitation" has been sent to all state heads across the country by the Indian ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on Monday.
 
The ministry of sanitation asked its affiliate Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) to make an effort to see that transgender people are recognized as equal citizens and users of toilets.
 
"They (transgenders) should be allowed to use the facility of their choice (men or women) in community or public toilets," reads the directive.
 
The transgender community faces a lot of discrimination in India and are viewed as a taboo. However, of late the community and homosexuals have intensified their movement for acceptance.
 
The ministry also instructed state governments to recruit transgender people to help promote sanitation around the country, in the hope of changing social attitudes toward them.
 
"There are many examples from across the country, where members of the third gender were selected as "Swachhata (cleanliness) champions and have played a huge role in taking the message of Swachhata to households in the community," the order reads.
 
"Where suitable, their support can be enlisted in engaging communities, and their efforts duly recognised and honoured to break any stigma around them, and to also enable them to use facilities without any embarrassment."
 
Meanwhile, Madras high court in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu has directed the local government to build separate toilets for transgenders.