Noida Metro's newest initiative to make a trans-friendly metro station has its heart in the right place, but the nomenclature for the initiative is terribly misguided.
The Noida-Greater Noida Metro recently announced that it was converting the Sector 50 station into a "She-Man" station that will have special facilities and employment for the transgender community.
This step is being taken by the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) for the "inclusion and meaningful participation" of the members of the transgender community, NMRC Managing Director Ritu Maheshwari said.
“The ‘She-Man’ station will be on the lines of the Pink stations, which were inaugurated on March 8 this year and provided special facilities for women passengers. The staff deployed at the Pink stations also consisted only of women except security personnel,” she said.
“The ‘She-Man’ station will cater especially to the transgender community, though it will be open for all passengers, and will give facilities to facilitate the travel of the trans community in the metro system and also provide employment opportunities for them,” the NMRC MD added.
She said structural changes in terms of change in restroom infrastructure and creation of a separate security check for the community are also being considered at sector 50 station.
NMRC said it also plans to include members of the transgender community into its system by engaging their services in various aspects of the functioning of its system, like ticket counters and other areas through deployed contractors.
NMRC has also interacted with various NGOs who work closely with the community to understand their challenges and struggles and devise an effective method for an inclusive society, according to the statement.
“Transgenders form a major chunk of the commuters that use the metro system to travel. This step by the NMRC will make the travelling experience for this community more enriching,” it said.
However, the name of the metro station 'She-Man' was up for the subject of debate, as trans people and people of the queer community pointed out that it was insensitive, and very problematic.
Really happy to see initiative of Noida Authority towards INCLUSION. @CeoNoida but why this Title She Man. This seems insulting. Let's give a normal title so that the transgender community feels included in main stream and the sole initiative is not DEFEATED pic.twitter.com/LOnZaEaQrx— anjali sachdeva (@anjalisachdeva9) June 21, 2020
What exactly is a 'she-man'? It's a crude joke, a trans-phobic word; it’s not an identity but an insult.Go beyond putting tags to support a community, or best ask people in the community before taking a decision. https://t.co/h9BgHPSaI3— aakash mehrotra 🌈 (@aakashmehrotra) June 20, 2020
@noidametrorail @rituias2003 kindly read this — this is the opinion of the trans community on the naming of a station of the Noida metro as ‘SHE MAN’. #SheMan pic.twitter.com/br3KZQSvBK— m4marianne (@m4marianne) June 20, 2020
The decision by @noidametrorail @rituias2003 to call the sector 50 Noida metro station "she man" station is disgusting and derogatory to the very community it claims to be working for the welfare ofPlease send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org asking them to reverse this decision— @sapphic.in on IG (@sapphic_in) June 21, 2020
So Noida introduced a station that goes by the name "She-Man" which they claim is for the transgender community. Yet again, disappointed about how Indian authorities wanna act "nice" but dont wanna thoroughly educate themselves about gender identities.— aru (@ebaearu) June 20, 2020
After the criticism, the NMRC decided to be more mindful of the language it associated with the station, and has called for trans-people to send their suggestions with the correct names and terms they would like to be associated with.
In a public press release, NMRC wrote, " NMRC welcomes the Individuals/ NGOs, who work for rights of transgender community, to send their suggestions for terms for Station/Train announcement which resonate with transgender community (such as Transgender Station/ Rainbow Station, etc.) via email to email@example.com within two weeks (i.e. by July 6, 2020).
Noida Metro is now inviting suggestions for naming sector 50 metro station to be dedicated to members of trans community. It had earlier been named 'She Man' which drew ire from #TransRights activists. pic.twitter.com/r4w0ioHWoc— Amil Bhatnagar (@AmilwithanL) June 22, 2020
“The received suggestions shall be deliberated upon by a committee for finalising the same,” Sharma added.
Additionally, the possibility of a change in the restroom infrastructure and creation of a separate frisking facility for the community are being explored at the Sector 50 station currently, NMRC also added.