Mumbai: The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) in Mumbai's Deonar has become the first college in India to have a gender-neutral hostel. This comes after the efforts by Queer Collective, an informal student body advocating a safe space for LGBTQ+ students.

After the historic verdict by the Supreme Court to scrap Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that criminalised homosexuality, India has become the first-ever country to have a gender-neutral hostel.  The order was passed on September 6.

According to a notification issued by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, on April 5, the ground floor of the girls' hostel was marked as a gender-neutral space. Now, seventeen students have moved into this separate block that will host transgender, or gender non-conforming students. The floor has 10 twin-seater rooms that will host transgender, or gender non-conforming students.

Akunth, Cultural Secretary of TISS student union and a resident of the gender-neutral hostel space expressed his happiness for having a gender-neutral hostel and voiced his hope that other hostels would follow the move too and create more gender-neutral places. He also hoped that the movement could bring about a significant social change.

Akunth said, "It's just like any other hostel. It is a place for everyone but without the dysphoria of being segregated along the lines of gender. It is a liberal space." Akunth added that the gender-neutral washrooms are also available now in the campus.