The Centre has issued guidelines to the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) saying transgender people must be allowed use public toilets designated for both men and women, depending on their choice. The statement asked the mission to ensure that members of the transgender community are recognised as equal citizens.

“They should be allowed to use the facility of their choice (men or women) in community or public toilets,” the statement said. The statement, dated April 3, said there are many examples from across the country, where members of the third gender were selected as “Swachhata Champions”. It recommended that the organisation engage members of the transgender community in a similar manner to eradicate the stigma attached to them.

Meanwhile, the Madras High Court asked the Tamil Nadu government to build toilets and bathrooms for transgender citizens in areas where “they live in large numbers”, PTI reported. The petitioner said the 2011 census pegs the number of transgender people in the state at 10 lakh.

“Since a larger issue is involved in this matter, we direct the petitioner to take the survey and submit a report facilitating the department [Corporation of Chennai] to take appropriate steps to build exclusive public toilets–cum-bathroom for third genders where they live in large numbers,” it said.