The school bullies started by teasing six-year-old Shemba for walking in a feminine way, and graduated to stone-throwing when the transgender girl – initially raised as a boy – started wearing girls’ uniform, aged 10. So Shemba dropped out of school altogether and abandoned her dream of becoming a lawyer, with begging or sex work now a more likely future. “They left me with no choice,” Shemba, 15, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, sitting cross-legged in her two-room home in India’s southern city of Chennai. “I think what I was doing, or my mannerisms were normal. But my classmates didn’t. First I did not understand what made me stand out. Later I realised, and when they started throwing stones at me, I decided to stop going to school.” Shemba, who goes by just one name, is not alone.