For almost 5 lakh Indians, using a public toilet means abuse and harassment

WaterAid/Prashanth Vishwanathan

Less than a year after the Karnataka government honoured a trans woman with the state’s second highest civilian award, she had to face humiliation at the legislative assembly premises merely because she needed to use the toilet.

Akkai Padmashali, 33, a well-known trans-rights activist, was presented with Rajyotsava award on November 1, 2015, for her endeavours. The state government handpicks the recipients and honours them on the anniversary of Karnataka’s formation. She is the only trans person to be accorded the distinction.

On August 25, she visited Vidhana Soudha, the state’s legislative assembly, to meet the law minister. While waiting, she needed to answer nature’s call.

“As I entered the ladies’ toilet, a woman screamed in horror and told me, ‘You are not supposed to enter here! This is not a place for you,’ referring to my gender. And she shut the toilet door in anger. I was embarrassed and disturbed. Though I did not confront her, I told the lady that as a transwoman, I had every right to use the toilet,” Padmashali told YKA. Read more

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