In a move towards greater inclusivity of the third-gender the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has issued a Circular which says that third-gender should be allowed to use public toilet facility of their choice (men or women).
The Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation under its Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has notified Guidelines on Gender Issues in Sanitation.
The guidelines provide for inclusion of the third-gender Swachh Bharat Mission. It says “In many communities, the third- gender may often be dissociated from the mainstream. Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) 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 a community or public toilets.”
The Circular mentions the role of the third gender “where people belonging to the third gender have come up as Swachhta champions and have played a huge role in taking the message of Swachhta to households in the community. Where suitable their support can be enlisted in engaging communities, and their effort duly recognised and honoured to break any stigma around them, and to also enable them to use facilities without any embarrassment.”
The decision of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation is believed to be in accordance with the Supreme Court Judgement in National Legal Services Authority v. Union of India & others wherein the SC has held that Hijras, Eunuchs be treated as “third-gender” for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under Part III of the Constitution and the laws made by the Parliament and State Legislature. SC further directed the Centre and State Government to take proper measures so as to provide separate public toilets for the third-gender.
Read the Guidelines Here