A secondary school in north eastern Thailand has designed a new bathroom for its growing community of transvestites.
The “transvestite toilet”, designated by a human figure split into half man in blue and half female in red, has since been used since class started last month.
“I am so happy about this,” student Vichai Sangsakul told Thailand’s PBS news channel on Tuesday.
“It looks bad going to female restrooms. What would other people think?”
“The Kampang School came up with the idea of the unisex toilet after a survey conducted last term showed that more than 200 of the school’s 2,600 students considered themselves transvestites,” said school director Sitiak Sumontha.
He added that the introduction of the new toilets would help transvestite students to go to the restroom in peace, as going to the female facilities made some other students uncomfortable and using the men’s room often resulted in harassment.
“They don’t have problems with transvestites but going to the same private area, like a toilet, makes them uneasy,” he told Associated Press.
“The transvestite kids may behave even more effeminately than the girls, do but their anatomy is still like that of a boy.”
Kampang is not Thailand’s first educational institution to set up transvestite washrooms. A technical college in the northern province of Chiang Mai set up a “Pink Lotus Bathroom” for its 15 transvestite students in 2003.
It is not known how many transvestite students there are in Thailand, but Deputy Education Minister Boonlue Prasertsopar recently said the ministry plans to count the number of transvestite university students.
He added that if there was a lot of them in universities and going to the bathroom causes problems, then the ministry would consider building toilets and dormitories for them.
Most rural Thais are conservative in many ways, but the toilet initiative at the school reflects the Thai’s amazing ability of tolerant and support the country’s visible transsexual and transvestite community.
The Buddhist country has always been seen as a liberal country when it comes to LGBT issues. Though the country does not support same-sex unions, the LGBT community is still considered one of the world’s most free and open.
Transvestite actors play key roles in Thai movies and soap operas, and can be seen in department cosmetics counters, popular restaurants, cabaret shows and in the famous red-light district. Thailand also has transgender beauty pageants.