Recently the students of Ambedkar University, Delhi presented a memorandum to the University demanding gender-neutral toilets on the campus. The memorandum demanded that nine of the 21 existing toilets be changed as gender neutral so that these can be used by anyone irrespective of their gender. In our journey to achieve a more inclusive society having gender-neutral toilets on college campuses will be definitely a milestone. But are we ready for it? We went to some college students to ask for their opinions and experiences.
A Negative Experience For Those Who Feel Differently?
"It created a fuss when a boy entered the girl's loo in the college. We were all surprised as to what he is doing there. Some girls also shouted at him and he left. Later, we came to know that the person had Gender Dysphoria. We felt bad over how we behaved. All that she experienced that day, clearly indicate as to why gender-neutral toilets are really very necessary for us," says Arpita Gupta, a student from PPN Degree College, Kanpur.
Do we Really Need Gender Neutral Toilets?
"We approached our principal for gender neutral toilets, but he told us it is not a widespread need. Moreover, we haven't received clear indications for this, we cannot change the entire system," said Manvika (changed name), a 21-year-old student, who wishes to remain unidentified.
We also spoke to several students at Delhi University’s Kamla Nehru College, the reaction to the idea there were mixed.
"It becomes awkward for a girl to even tuck in a shirt in public, or to zip her jeans. For this purpose, we use washrooms. If it gets gender neutral, there will be no difference left."
Lack of privacy
"I don't believe there should be gender neutral toilets since it would be awkward for girls to use it," said Divya Tripathi, BA Journalism from Kamla Nehru College, Delhi University. On asking her why, she says,"It becomes awkward for a girl to even tuck in a shirt in public, or to zip her jeans. For this purpose, we use washrooms. If it gets gender neutral, there will be no difference left."
Safety and Hygiene as concerns
"In India, it's not at all safe for a woman to share a loo with a man," said Ayushi from Kamla Nehru College.
"We have a lot of safety issues plus the hygiene issues. Women tend to be more hygienic as compared to men. It can possibly cause havoc," says another student from Kamla Nehru College.
Anushika Srivastava is an Intern with SheThePeople.Tv