A public health researcher weighs in on what queer and trans people need to know about donating blood in Canada.
In April 2022, Canadian Blood Services made historic changes to its eligibility criteria, removing a three-month deferral period on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, as well as from some others in the LGBTQ2S+ community. Since September, all prospective donors—regardless of sexuality or gender—are now asked whether they have had sex with multiple partners in the last three months. If they answer yes, they will be asked whether they’ve had anal sex. Those who have are asked to wait three months before donating.
Rules on who can donate blood in Canada have slowly changed over time. After Canada’s Tainted Blood Scandal in 1992, Canadian Red Cross (which later became Canadian Blood Services) introduced a lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men. Activists have steadily fought to make the policies less discriminatory over time. The U.S. is currently considering adopting similar rules.
While many media headlines celebrated the latest changes to Canada’s blood donation policies as “the end of the blood ban,” advocates say the changes still reject and stigmatize parts of the LGBTQ2S+ community. We talked to University of Victoria professor Dr. Nathan Lachowsky, research director at the Community-Based Research Centre, about how these changes fall short and what still needs to be done.
This article was written by Cassandra Kislenko for xtra. Please click HERE to read the full article.