Homophobic India? Survey Finds 56 Percent Respondents Would Refuse Organ from LGBTQ Donor


More than half Indians interviewed for a survey said they would not accept organ donations from LGBTQ donors.

A new survey in India has revealed that out of a group of more than half said they would not accept organ donations from LGBTQ donors.

The survey, conducted by Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, in association with Karvy Insights among 1565 respondents, across 12 cities in India, revealed some disturbing facts about Indians' homophobic perception of LGBTQ organ donors as well as organ donation in general.

Out of all the respondents, 56 percent said they would not agree to take organs from LGBTQ donors while 54 percent said LGBTQ persons should not be allowed to donate organs at all.

This is not the only time that the LGBTQ community has been stigmatized when it comes to healthcare. National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), the state-owned regulator of AIDS in India, classifies LGBTQ donors as high risk, meaning they are not allowed to donate blood for transfusions.

The ban was revealed when activist Chetan Kothari filed a Right to Information (RTI) with the organisation's Blood Safety Division in 2017 and caused widespread outrage among critics. Dr Farah Ingale told DNA at the time that the discriminating "high-risk" classification for the entire community was based on the stereotypical perception of queer persons as sexually aggressive with multiple partners.

However, it isn't just the queer community that stops prevents Indians from openly accepting organ donations. Belief in reincarnation and familial disapproval could also affect the choice.

The survey revealed that one out of five respondents believed organ donation could affect the process of rebirth with 19 percent convinced that donating an organ would result in reincarnation without that organ. As much as 46 percent Indians felt that organ donation was a scam while 43 percent would not do it because of objections from family.

At 0.5 per million people, India has one of the lowest rates of organ donors in the world. According to data released by Mohan Foundation, almost 5 lakh patients die annually in India due untimely transplants caused by shortage of organs.

However, many on social media felt the survey was presumptive as the sample size of just 1,565 people was not an adequately large or diverse group to survey in a country with the population count in crores.