This article originally appeared on VICE India.
A new survey conducted by Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance on 1,565 people across 12 cities in India has now revealed that more than half of the Indians in the study were so homophobic, that they said they wouldn’t accept an organ if it was donated by an LGBTQ person, while many others don’t want to donate their own organs because they believe they need to save them for their next birth.
While 54 percent of respondents said that people from the LGBTQ community shouldn’t be allowed to donate organs at all, 56 percent admitted that they would steer clear of organs donated by them. The survey states, “The LGBTQ community has had a mixed past with the Indian medical community. While Supreme Court decriminalised Section 377 last year, the LGBTQ community continues to be ostracized. In September last year, following Supreme Court’s landmark verdict, the Maharashtra chapter of National Blood Transfusion Council sparked a debate when it issued a new screening questionnaire that seemingly looked at weeding out the LGBTQ community from donating blood.”
The study points out that in 2017, the Blood Safety Division of National AIDS Control Organisation said that LGBTQ people can’t donate blood because they are a “high-risk group”. It also says that given that the National Blood Transfusion Council Guidelines have prohibited trans persons, gay men and sex workers from donating blood, it “raises questions about them being able to donate their organs”. The survey also found that these concerns were mainly voiced by people in the 40-60 age group and that people from Kochi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai were the most averse to organs donated by an LGBTQ person.
India has one of the lowest rates of organ donation at 0.3 percent, even though more than 5,00,000 lives are lost each year because of organ scarcity. According to the recent survey, most Indians don’t donate because they’re worried about how their families will react, don’t trust the medical institutes and are afraid they will try to harvest their organs, or for religious reasons. But among the other stuff, the most bizarre is that 20 percent of the respondents felt that if they donated their organs, they would be reborn without the vital parts in their next life.
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