A small story has been circulating in the internet about the controversy in the small town of Pombos, in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. The actual controversy involves project for a public bathroom for travestis (cross-dressers) is going to be discussed at the next PB Council meeting in the town. The issue, according to a travesti advocacy group is that cross-dressers face recrimination when using women’s or men’s bathrooms. In fact, there have been numerous documented instances of violence against cross-dressers using public bathrooms throughout Brazil.
This appears, on the face of it, to be a human rights issue and an issue of workers’ rights (as some of the street-walking described in the news pieces implies sex work). It seems like the kind of project that PB ought to bring to the fore – by bringing in traditionally disenfranchised into decision-making, the boundaries of discussion ought to be expanded, and controversy should occasionally be an outcome. What is surprising is that relatively few such instances have been noted in the literature on PB. We’ll follow this news story if more is published.