An infant in India was abandoned by its parents because she received a transfusion from a transgender woman.
The couple initially wanted to thank the person who saved their anemic daughter’s life, but when they discovered it was a trans person, they left their child on her doorstep with a note saying she was no longer part of their family. They were worried, they explained, that the baby would become “one of them.”
Transgender woman, known as hijras, have been a part of Indian culture for centuries but often face discrimination and violence. While the government has worked to improve conditions—passing a trans rights bill in 2015—cultural prejudices persist.
The donor, Rekha (not her real name), had herself had been disowned. Determined to break the cycle, she adopted the baby and worked to give her a better life. The child, now six, is in school and appears to be thriving.
“I myself have gone through the pain of being rejected by one’s own family,” Rekha told The Stories of Change. “I think I am connected to her by this bond.”
As in other parts of the world, stigma attached to blood donation by LGBT people continues to harm innocents: While 87% of HIV infections in India are among heterosexuals, LGBT people are considered a “high-risk group” and are banned from giving blood. (In comparison, the U.S. has relaxed its prohibition to one year of abstinence, while the UK recently switched to a three-month waiting period.)
The Bangalore-based organization Khoon aims to address the blood shortage in India by encouraging donation, raising awareness, and combatting misinformation and discrimination.