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THAILAND - Jun 21, 2004

Snubbed by both men and women, transvestite students at the Chiang Mai Technology School just wanted a restroom to call their own -- and were granted their wish.

Dubbed the Pink Lotus Bathroom, the facility is exclusively for the school's 15 transvestite students and features four stalls, but no urinals. On the door hangs a sign with intertwined male and female symbols.

"They would come in the morning and use the women's bathrooms, but the women were annoyed, didn't like it or played pranks on them," said Posaporn Promprakai, registrar of the school in Chiang Mai province, about 360 miles north of Bangkok.

The transvestites -- who must wear male attire at school but are allowed to sport girlie hairdos -- switched to the men's bathrooms, only to run into more trouble.

"The men teased them, chased them, and they came screaming and in tears again," Posaporn told The Associated Press.

So Posaporn designated a lavatory just for them, telling the vocational school's 1,500 students to just use their own restrooms.

The transvestite bathroom opened last fall, but this week attracted the notice of local media. Gays, cross-dressers and transsexuals are generally accepted in easygoing Thai society.

"We don't support their decision to be transvestites. We are just trying to solve the problems of one group that is unhappy at school," said Posaporn. "They don't get teased in the bathroom anymore. They're much happier."

-- (c) The Associated Press


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