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Monday 08 November 2010

Proclamations of the Red Queen

5th September 2010

Civic Responsibility, Gay Men and the Blood Donor Ban

Posted by: Craig Young

On Saturday morning, Christchurch residents were shaken by a heavy intensity earthquake that left buildings with severe structural damage, chimneys collapsed, water supplies compromised, electricity outages and road and bridge impairment. Fortunately, there are only two reported cases of severe contingent injuries at Christchurch Hospital as a result of the carnage, probably due to its fortuitous timing in the early morning. Had it occurred several hours earlier or later, there might have been far more severe injuries and possible loss of life.

Under such circumstances, there would have been resultant heavy demand on blood supplies at medical facilities. However, while other responsible citizens would have been only too willing to play their part and donate blood for the use of their afflicted fellow New Zealanders, gay men cannot do so, due to the current NGO blanket ban on gay male blood donation.

Relatively speaking, the inhabitants of Christchurch were “lucky” this time. However, after due attention has been paid to the urgent immediate needs and ongoing concerns of the inhabitants of Christchurch in the field of water supply, medical needs, food and housing, LGBT New Zealand now needs to demand that the government urgently review the existing evidence-based rationale for blanket gay male exclusion from blood donation. If it turns out not to be based on robust evidence, then the government and NGOs need to adjust their policies accordingly, so that potential gay male blood donors can perform our civic responsibility and meet the needs of others at times of severe injury and hardship.

Strongly Recommended: Both organisations cited below are engaged in critique and remedial action against the blanket gay male blood donor ban. Contact them for further information:

Rainbow Wellington:

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group:

Tags: Politics

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amanda // Sep 5, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    While I’m not a gay man, nor have I slept with a gay man in past five years (to much knowledge), I find this ban infuriating. I also abhor the ban on donating blood if you are or have been a sex worker. I have never been questioned about the frequency of sexual activity I’ve engaged in, yet gay men and hookers are banned because they supposedly engage in frequent unsafe sex. Moral righteousness at it’s best.

  • 2 Joel // Sep 6, 2010 at 2:16 am

    I consider myself part of the LGBT community but have never had sex, if i went to donate blood and told them i was straight. What they gonna do? If i said i was gay they would instantly assume all sorts of negative stereotypes and refuse me.

  • 3 Ed // Sep 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Joel, you would be allowed to donate.
    There is no blanket ban on gay men donating blood. There is a ban is on men who have engaged in oral or anal sex with another man in the last five years. The ban is based on behaviour and not sexual orientation.

  • 4 Craig Young // Sep 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Unfortunately, though, the ban does not delineate between gay men who have conscientiously used condoms in those contexts, and those of us who have not. Moreover, unprotected vaginal intercourse also spreads HIV/AIDS and other STIs…

  • 5 Jacqui // Sep 17, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Amanda, and Craig - agree entirely! There are stats from a few years ago showing the fastest growing pop. of new HIV infections were young, straight women…because ‘it’s not gonna happen to me’. All donations of blood are screened intensively for infections that will harm others such as HIV, Hep B/C etc prior to administration to others. So, why continue the ban on a population who practice more safe sex than the straight population?

  • 6 Michael // Nov 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    As a smoke-free, drug-free bi-Asexual… say who’s blood is statistically safer? Mine, or that from the average hetrosexual (8 partners in a lifetime).

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