Tamil Nadu

‘Make public spaces inclusive for queer people’

The priority, while designing and transforming public spaces, must be to make them inclusive and safe for queer people and all other marginalised sections of society, said panellists at a discussion here on Thursday.

In a virtual discussion on the topic “Making public spaces LGBTIQ+ inclusive” organised under the Chatham House Rule, which demanded non-disclosure of the identity of the speakers, the panellists said the public spaces were mostly designed with the heteronormative, upper class and upper caste people in mind.

The discussion was organised by The Prajnya Trust in association with Orinam as part of the former’s annual 16-day campaign against gender violence.

The panellists said there was a misconception that making public spaces inclusive for queer people and marginalised sections would alienate the spaces from the majority of the public.

Gender-neutral marking

Highlighting that accessing toilets in public spaces marked for “men” and “women” was difficult for queer people, one of the panellists argued that making all the toilets in public spaces gender neutral would go a long way in making them inclusive and safe.

Another panellist wondered why the toilets in public places such as restaurants and bus stands could not be de-gendered when the toilets in planes and trains had always been gender neutral.

Arguing that most decision makers from government bodies often came with heteronormative conditioning, a panellist stressed on the need for finding avenues to have continuous discussions with them to make the public spaces more inclusive.

One of the ways to make the public spaces inclusive was to display artworks by queer people, the panellists said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 10:09:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/make-public-spaces-inclusive-for-queer-people/article37815076.ece

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