June 5th, 2020
Liberal government must stop blood donation discrimination
ESQUIMALT – Six years ago today, the NDP Critic for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Randall Garrison first moved a motion to end the discriminatory blood ban on gay men and trans women. On this anniversary, Garrison has again filed a motion to stop the ban which limits much-needed blood donations and perpetuates homophobia and transphobia.
“There is no science behind the current 3-month deferral for blood donations for men who have sex with men. In practice it amounts to a gay blood ban and its only outcomes are to reduce the blood supply and reinforce homophobia,” said Garrison. “We’ve been fighting this for more than 6 years and we’re still waiting for action.”
More than 17 nations have no deferral period for blood donations, including Italy, Spain, and Argentina. These countries and many others have concluded that behaviour- based screening provides better security for the blood supply than identity-based rules.
“We have asked the Liberals to lift this ban and it’s particularly important now during this time of blood shortages resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Extending the ban to plasma donations will also impede research on COVID-19 prevention and treatment,” added Garrison. “This isn’t just about helping end discrimination, blood donations are crucial to keep Canadians alive.”
Last week, during a statement in the virtual sitting of the COVID-19 committee, Garrison asked the loved ones of gay men and trans women to donate blood on their behalf since they aren’t allowed to do their part to help keep Canadians healthy.
“As we mark Pride this summer, I can think of no better way to celebrate than by removing the blood ban. All Canadians would benefit from this.”