Why Are People Discriminated Based On Sexuality At Blood Banks?
People who are categorized as “men who have sex with men” are not permitted to give blood at most banks. Not until a year after the last such sexual encounter. “Women who have sex with men who have sex with men” or people who have done cocaine or intravenous drugs are also not allowed to donate. All of the screener questions are based on the honors system. Blood banks do a thorough screening of the blood after it’s been taken.
So why discriminate on sexuality alone? The practice feels less rooted in science and reason, and more based on harmful and incorrect stereotypes.
“I was discriminated from giving blood because I have sexual relations with men,” Miguel said. “It’s never made sense to me why. They’re supposed to screen every single donation they receive. And New York City has a blood shortage.”
“Men who have sex with men” were completely banned from giving blood for 30 years. In 2015, the FDA repealed the ban, saying that “men who have sex with men” could donate blood 12 months after their last sexual encounter with another man.
Several years ago, when the rules were even more stringent than they are today, Miguel wasn’t permitted to donate blood to his own sister, who was ill with lupus at the time.
“We need a medical community that treats us like we’re people and lets us donate blood like everyone else,” Miguel said.
Miguel wasn’t the only person to bring up blood banks. The issue has come up several times, suggesting that generally, LGBTQ people are frustrated and hurt by these rules.
“Was told I can’t give blood because I’m a vagatarian,” one Facebook user said. The user continued that they no longer even attempt to give blood, even though they would like to help their community.
This is why #WeNeedAButton.
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