After years of advocacy demanding an end to Canada’s homophobic and transphobic blood donor ban, OPSEU/SEFPO’s Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel is pleased to learn that Canadian Blood Services (CBS) will begin allowing some gay and bisexual men to donate blood plasma in two test cities.
The new rules will allow men who have sex with men to donate plasma, so long as they haven’t had a new sexual partner in three months.
While there will still be excessive restrictions placed on gay and bisexual men who have had a new partner in the last three months, this change in policy will allow more men to gain eligibility to donate plasma in London, Ontario and Calgary, Alberta – at a time when plasma is desperately needed.
For years, CBS has banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood – a policy based on deeply-rooted prejudice against trans women, men who have sex with men, Two-Spirit, gay and bi-men. As is often the case, policy changes have been too slow despite the rising demand for blood and plasma products, and the in-depth screening and testing that’s done to all donated blood.
It is expected that the new rules will help pave the way for such restrictive donor criteria to be removed altogether, and all across Canada, in the near future – a policy change demanded by OPSEU/SEFPO’s RAA for years.
Most recently, the RAA started a petition to Canada’s Minister of Health, Patty Hajdu, calling for an end to discrimination in Canada’s public blood donor system, and while we are pleased to see some progress, we must recognize that this is a first step.
We must continue to demand equality for all potential blood and plasma donors, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
We live in Canada, in the year 2021 – we must continue to demand better, and we will.
OPSEU/SEFPO Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel