Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Canadian Government Passes Law Banning Gay Blood Donation

I have a new piece up at pinke.biz . As always I'll get you started and then you can follow the link to finish up.

With an election looming in Canada, there are many important issues to consider. For the GLBT community the re-election of the Progressive Conservatives is particularly problematic.  The PC's have made it clear that it considers some bodies particularly diseased through the passing of legislation which bans the donation of organs and blood from gay men that are sexually active.  According to the CBC, "the donor will be excluded if they have had sex with a man in the last five years."

Not only is this decision discriminatory, it further jeopardizes the lives of those who are desperately awaiting new organs. So entrenched is the homophobia that the government is will to overlook the health of the population. Canadian Blood services which recently ran a blood drive reported that "900,000 donations a year [are needed] to meet hospital demand in Canada. Last year there was a 2% growth in demand for blood and blood products - the largest in ten years."

Finish reading the article here.


tiggrrl said...

Did you know that we already have that restriction in the U.S., at least in terms of blood donation? I am a regular blood donor, and every time I get asked a set series of questions which includes whether I have within the past year had sex with a man who has ever had sex with another man. Men are asked if they have ever had sex with another man, and excluded if the answer is yes.

What I don't get, aside from the total paranoia of it (as if they don't already test donated blood for HIV), is that as a woman, I'm considered eligible to donate after a year of not sleeping with a man who has ever had sex with another man, but a man, even if he hasn't had sex with another man for many years, is never eligible to donate again.

feministblogproject said...

As tiggrrl said, whenever I go donate blood (3-4 times a year since I was 18), I get asked these ridiculous questions.

I can understand why these questions and restrictions were put in place years ago, when we were still trying to understand the nature of HIV/AIDS. But now that we understand it, I think that keeping the practice in place is ridiculous and discriminatory. I mean, geez. They're acting like every single gay male in the U.S. is infected, which is offensive (and also NOT TRUE).

It makes me really sad to see that Canada has put such rules in place. Over the past few weeks, I have been marveling at the advances in reproductive rights around the world, particularly in heavily religious countries such as Colombia and Spain. So it's surprising to see another country getting regressive . . . I was beginning to think it was just the U.S.

pizzadiavola said...

WTF? Aren't donated organs and blood tested for HIV as a matter of course? There's no reason to ban donations from gay men other than fear and hatred. The bone marrow donor registry in the U.S. also bans gay men from being donors, and it's so frustrating because these are literally life-saving services. Limiting the pool of donors means that people die when they could have lived, and all due to bigotry and hatred.

here-be-dragons said...

I donated blood last week at a blood drive at my university (in California), and I was really interested to see that outside the gym (where the drive was being held), there was a booth set up (I wish I could remember the name they were using) which gave prospective donors the option to sign a statement saying basically, "I am choosing to donate blood today, but am signing this to protest the discrimination against homosexual men who are not allowed to be donors." I thought it was pretty cool that they gave us this option to voice an opinion about this, without having to boycott the act of donating blood just to make the point.

here-be-dragons said...


My understanding is that yes, all blood and organs are tested for HIV, but that this testing is not 100%. It's possible for someone to have recently contracted HIV, and that to not show up in the blood test, and that donated blood could infect someone. Which is why they ask all those questions, and give donors numbers to call if they decide that there might be some risk with their blood donation. So, people who have recently engaged in high-risk behaviors really shouldn't donate blood.

Which, of course, is entirely separate from the issue of discrimination against homosexual men.

tiggrrl said...

here-be-dragons: That is fantastic! I wish I had that option. As an O- I feel like I really need to donate, but I don't like buying into the discrimination.

Ebony Intuition said...

To me it doesn't really have anything to do with gays, the issue that people don't want to accept or realize is that stds, hiv/aids is transferred at a higher rate from man to women or man to man, and not women to women or women to man. If a women had hiv/aids and is a lesbian it would be very hard for her to pass it on to her female partner why because she can't physically go inside of her vagina or anal, but a man can physically go inside of a vagina and anal. That's what people aren't realizing.

Also like "here-be-dragons" stated "It's possible for someone to have recently contracted HIV, and that to not show up in the blood test, and that donated blood could infect someone."

Which is true, if someone has sex and contracts hiv/aids, its not going to show up in their blood system within 24 hours, it can take up to a year to show up in someones blood stream.

I mean really think about it, if a blood agency received blood and a patient receives it for what ever purpose then to find out that the blood is tainted, the patient will then sue and then everyone will be mad and scared because tainted blood some how didn't get traced.

If someone needed a lung transplant would you want to receive a lung from someone who is a smoker. If someone needed a liver transplant would you want to receive a liver from someone who is an alcoholic. If you needed blood for whatever other purpose would you want blood from someone who is a drug user?
Smoking directly affects the lungs, alcohol directly affects the liver, high risk sexual behavior increases the chance of hiv/aids simple as that. Don't get me wrong yes the law does sound and is discriminating, the law should be "people who are in high risk sexual behavior so that it doesn't single out 1 group of people".
Also why not encourage people who are not in high risk sexual behavior to donate more blood.

Also I don't hear the gay community speaking out and supporting black women who have also been placed as the poster child for women contracting aids, yes black women are getting it at a higher rate but it affects all women just like gay men are getting it at higher rate but it affects all men.


Ebony Intuition said...

Also a family member of mine died of aids in which she was infected by her husband, aids/hiv is not a joke, its real.

lindabeth said...

The debate over this had been going on much of the time I was in Canada for grad school, at least for Ontario. It's really sad to see this actually passed.

To make a blanket statement that whom one fucks is directly related to whether or not one engages in safe sex practices is not just homophobic and homo-hatred, it's plain stupid and ignorant and dangerous.

People who have engaged in same-sex activities are not at a higher risk of HIV; those who engage in unsafe sex practices with multiple partners are.