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West Bengal colleges may soon have separate toilets for third gender

The police headquarters at Lalbazar in the heart of Kolkata is the only government department where construction of separate toilets for the transgender community is under way.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: July 10, 2016 5:12:33 am

The West Bengal government has put forward plans to construct separate toilets for the transgender community at all state-run colleges.

The state higher education department has written to principals of all colleges after it received a recommendation from the West Bengal Transgender Development Board about constructing separate toilets for third gender students.

“This is a welcome move. The (transgender) community faces this problem as it is not comfortable using toilets meant for men and women,” Aparna Bannerjee, a member of the board, told The Sunday Express.

Bannerjee however said that there are some principals who have raised objections, saying that the colleges don’t have enough space to construct another set of toilets. “While space is definitely a constraint and a valid issue, we are working out ways,” said Bannerjee said.

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The police headquarters at Lalbazar in the heart of Kolkata is the only government department where construction of separate toilets for the transgender community is under way.

Bannerjee says that the demand, “a very simple one,” is something that “should have been met 50 years ago”.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee formed the Transgender Development Board to look into the “specific needs” of the community and allotted an annual budget of Rs 75 lakh for its operations.

Bannerjee says that while the government may be addressing this issue only now, at least two colleges in the state – Narasinha Dutt College and Bijoy Krishna Girls’ College – have already taken up this cause and allowed transgender students to use the toilets meant for girl students.

“They have been extremely inclusive and progressive and have accepted the community. The Narasinha Dutt is a co-ed college but when we advocated and campaigned that the transgenders be allowed to use the women’s toilet, they agreed. Bijoy Krishna Girls’ College has one transgender student and the authorities there have allowed this student to use the girls’ toilet,” Bannerjee said.

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