Sexually active gay men are banned from donating blood in Canada. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

B.C. union’s petition calls for end to ban on gay men donating blood

Current rules ban men who have had sex with other men in the past year

A B.C. union continues to gather signatures for a parliamentary petition calling on the federal government to end what it calls “discriminatory” practices that bar gay men from donating blood.

Annette Toth, vice-president of MoveUp, which represents working professionals in B.C. and is Local 378 of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, said the idea came up as the union was looking to get involved with blood drives this spring.

“One of our members said, ‘I really like this idea, but you do know that I can’t donate blood?” Toth said. “He explained that because he is a gay man, he can’t donate blood, even though he’s been in a monogamous relationship for 10 years.

“We were stunned. This isn’t acceptable, it’s not the 1950s anymore.”

Canadian Blood Services currently requires men and transgender women to abstain from sex with men for one year before they can donate blood. That was dropped from five years, after the agency petitioned Health Canada in 2016. It will take another two years of gathering evidence should the agency want to for another change.

The policy has long drawn fire from LGBTQ groups who argue it should target all people based on their actual sexual behaviour, rather than on certain groups’ sexual preferences.

“It’s not based in science, it’s based in fear,” Toth said, adding unprotected, promiscuous sex is the risk factor.

“If two men walked into Canadian Blood Services right now and wanted to donate blood, the straight man who has unprotected sex would be able to donate blood, but the gay man in a monogamous relationship would not.”

READ MORE: Surrey boy’s painful cancer fight inspires call for blood donors

A parliamentary petition needs 500 signatures to trigger a response by the government in the House of Commons. MoveUp’s petition had reached more than 3,600 names by Monday afternoon. It is set to close in July.

Canadian Blood Services said in a statement to Black Press Media that it is focused on moving away from a time-based policy and towards an “alternative screening approach,” which could change the rules for gay men.

“As part of our research program, we are working to gather the scientific evidence required to determine whether it is possible to reliably identify low-risk, sexually active men who have sex with men.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Seven years later, what’s changed since the 2011 Malahat fuel truck crash and closure?

Trans-Canada Highway reopens to traffic Friday morning after roughly 13-hour closure

Eagle Creek Bosley’s closed after SUV crashes through storefront

Structural engineer called to assess building damage

Victoria Grizzlies host fundraisers for Europe tour

The Grizzlies still have player spots available

Sooke candidate seeks two positions in civic election

Herb Haldane runs for Sooke councillor and CRD director

Woman up on assault, mischief charges in relation to downtown incidents

Traffic cone throwing Wednesday night followed by knife threat on Wharf Street

Black Press Media to launch Pipeline Full of Controversy series

Series covers Trans Mountain’s history, science, Indigenous reaction, politics and economics

B.C. high school teacher charged with sexual offences involving two youths

Henry Kang, 50, of Abbotsford charged with two counts each sex assault and sexual exploitation

Military college students accused of violating Qur’an with bacon

Alleged acts by four cadets from the Royal Military College in Quebec caught on video

Burlesque performers don’t let theatre fire stop their show

Cheesecake Burlesque Revue raising money for PEERS with Saturday night performance of Hot Pink

Canucks sign top prospect Elias Pettersson to entry-level deal

Slick centre drafted No. 5 overall in 2017 NHL draft

Wildfire northwest of Kamloops jumps to 1,600 hectares overnight

Ground crews and aircraft are responding to an estimated 1,600 hectare wildfire approximately 55 kilometers northwest of Kamloops, near the Deadman Vidette Road.

Former B.C. police chief dies in ATV accident

Ex-Nelson top cop began his career in Vancouver

Highway 1 northbound traffic shifts to new lanes at McKenzie Avenue

Beginning this weekend, drivers are advised that the northbound lanes on Highway… Continue reading

Referendum in Ireland would repeal strict ban on abortion

Voters throughout Ireland have begun casting votes in a referendum that may lead to a loosening of the country’s strict ban on most abortions.

Most Read