Transgender and Sanitation

Rubina is using the hanging toilet everyday in molar slum. Rubina has lived here for last three years. Before that she was in village. Her husband got a job in Dhaka so they moved into the slum. The toilet they are currently using is a shared hanging toilet. It is situated 20 metres from their home. Once, in middle of the night, she went to the toilet and someone knocked the toilet door so harshly as if they were going to break the door. She got very scared and nearly fainted by the incident. Since then, she is too scared to use the toilet after 9pm.I’m so glad to live in an affluent country where we can have controversy and outrage about who is using which public rest room. And where state legislatures controlled by purported small-government politicians can pass laws prohibiting local governments from legislating certain things. Poorer countries have concerns about toilets more basic than the gender of the person using one.

According to the World Toilet Organization (WTO), one billion people (15 % of the world population) still practice open defecation. In 2013, one thousand children died per day from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation. That’s more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

The WTO is a global non-profit organization founded in 2001. Its mission is to improve toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. Mark your calendar for November 19, World Toilet Day, designated by the United Nations to promote sanitation.toilet-in-ganges1

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states unequivocally that lack of basic sanitation:

  • “Results in an unhealthy environment contaminated by human waste. Without proper sanitation facilities, waste from infected individuals can contaminate a community’s land and water, increasing the risk of infection for other individuals. Proper waste disposal can slow the infection cycle of many disease-causing agents.
  • Contributes to the spread of many diseases/conditions that can cause widespread illness and death. Without proper sanitation facilities, people often have no choice but to live in and drink water from an environment contaminated with waste from infected individuals, thereby putting themselves at risk for future infection. Inadequate waste disposal drives the infection cycle of many agents that can be spread through contaminated soil, food, water, and insects such as flies.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Water, Sanitation & Hygiene program initiated the “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge.”

Toilet Challenge winner - Gates visitor center
Toilet Challenge winner – Gates visitor center

Its goal is a toilet that:

  • “Removes germs from human waste and recovers valuable resources such as energy, clean water, and nutrients.
  • Operates “off the grid” without connections to water, sewer, or electrical lines.

    Toilet Challenge winner - in the world
    Toilet Challenge winner – in the world
  • Costs less than US$.05 cents per user per day.
  • Promotes sustainable and financially profitable sanitation services and businesses that operate in poor, urban settings.”

So excuse me if I’m not worked up about this transgender in the bathroom threat. (And what’s with “gender” instead of “sex,” anyway? I always thought gender referred to language and social mores, while sex was biology. Oh, never mind.) When North Carolina passed its law, we could have just said, “OK,” then go about our business as usual and ignore it. Who’s going to enforce this, anyway?

Another part of North Carolina’ s new law is that localities are precluded by the state from setting their own minimum wages. So much for small government and local control.

3 thoughts on “Transgender and Sanitation”

  1. Wow. We can go into a sanitary bathroom, take care of our business using plenty of toilet paper, flush, and then come out and wash our hands with soap and fresh water then dry our hands with towels or air. This can happen on just about any corner in any city in America.
    Kinda embarrassed of how stupid things can be here in The U.S.
    Thanks George?

  2. In the same way the South Carolina was the first to secede from the Union, maybe Asheville will be the first city to secede from North Carolina. Could you blame them?

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