Gay man takes on Ireland’s top court over gay blood donation ban

Man donating blood

A gay man is asking one of Ireland’s top courts to overturn a 12 month ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.

The Irish Blood Transfusion Service (IBTS) has a policy that any gay man must abstain from sex if for 12 months if they want to donate blood.

But 27-year-old Tomás Heneghan believes this is unlawful and plans to fight his case in Ireland’s High Court. He believes the deferral period is in breach of EU law.

It all came about when he tried to make a blood donation in April last year. However, after filling out a questionnaire, medical professionals told him he was ineligible to donate his blood.

This is despite some weeks beforehand having a routine blood tests and conclusive results showing his blood posed no risks.

The application came before Justice Seamus Noonan this week, who granted Heneghan permission to bring the challenge. The judge then adjourned the matter to July.

Ireland lifts blanket blood donation ban

Tomás Heneghan previously made headlines in 2013 when the Irish Blood Transfusion Service refused to take his blood, even though he had never had sex at the time.

‘This would not happen if I was straight,’ he said at the time. ‘I am hurt and I am angry.’

In 2015, he began a legal challenge in the High Court against the permanent deferral imposed on men who have sex with men.

Several adjournments to the case meant a series of delays, but in June 2016, the IBTS recommended the lifetime ban be reduced to a 12-month ban.

In 2017, the new deferral period came into effect.

 

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In 2017, Heneghan became the first openly gay man (to have had sex with another man) donate blood in Ireland since the new 12-month deferral period.

He now wants to see a three-month deferral period.

Gay Star News reached out to Tomás Heneghan for comment.

See also

Canada drops blood donation period to three months for gay, bisexual men

Doctors achieve first ever HIV positive organ donation

Plasma donation company sued for discriminating against a trans woman

Author: James Besanvalle

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Canada drops blood donation period to three months for gay, bisexual men

Man giving blood

Canada is dropping its blood donation deferral period.

Starting 3 June, gay and bisexual men only need to abstain from having sex with another man for three months in order to donate blood. Previously, the deferral period was one year.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor made the announcement on Parliament Hill.

‘Today, we’re taking a major step towards a fair, evidence-based blood-donation system by reducing the deferral period to three months and moving towards behavioural-based screening,’ he said.

This is the latest change to the country’s Canadian Blood Services policy.

In 1992, they implemented a complete ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. More than two decades later, in 2013, authorities lifted the lifetime ban. Gay and bisexual men had to abstain from sex with other men for five years.

Three years later, the soon-to-be defunct one-year policy was implemented in 2016.

Worldwide discrimination

Blood donation discrimination is a worldwide issue for the LGBTI community. Several countries allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, but with firm deferral periods in place.

Some of these countries, however, only lifted the lifetime bans recently.

Denmark only lifted its ban last August, while countries like Iceland still have lifetime bans in place, despite experts offering opinions otherwise.

Other places like Israel and Thailand lifted their bans, while the UK recently reduced bans.

Still, there is plenty of criticism continuing to go around. In the US, Red Cross is facing a shortage of blood, but the country has yet to reduce its year-long ban.

During this year’s South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, the HBO series Game of Thrones held a blood drive. People quickly slammed it, however, when they pointed out how gay and bisexual men are still banned from donating.

See also

Doctors achieve first ever HIV positive organ donation

Plasma donation company sued for discriminating against a trans woman

Why I’m happy not having sex if it means I can donate blood

Author: Anya Crittenton

The post Canada drops blood donation period to three months for gay, bisexual men appeared first on Gay Star News.

HBO/Red Cross ‘Game of Thrones’ Contest Discriminates Against Gay and Bisexual Men

HBO has teamed up with the Red Cross for a Game of Thrones contest. The winner of the “Bleed for the Throne” contest will travel to New York City to attend the finale series premiere. To enter, one must present to donate blood. But if you’re a gay or bisexual man who can’t donate blood, you’ve got to follow an obscure set of unpublicized rules if you want to enter.

As the Daily Beast notes, ‘The FDA mandates men abstain from sex with other men for 12 months before donating blood. The same withdrawal period goes for women sleeping with sexually active bisexual men. By partnering with the Red Cross on what’s marketed as their largest ever blood donation promotional effort by an entertainment company, HBO’s contest on paper effectively discriminates against gay men.”

“The partnership will include an immersive experience at SXSW from March 7–9, in addition to blood drives in 43 states and 9 colleges and universities across the U.S. from March 7–12,” HBO writes in a press release.

When called out by the publication, HBO presented alternate ways to enter for gay and bisexual men, none of which were mentioned in press and promotional materials.

The Daily Beast reports: ‘When The Daily Beast reached out for comment, HBO and the Red Cross issued a joint statement saying Bleed for the Throne at SXSW is open to those who cannot donate blood willing to wait in a standby line. For the national blood drive, those who can’t donate are able to enter the sweepstakes by contacting the Red Cross Donor Support Center. These alternative means of entry were not included in press materials and social media posts. Representatives for both HBO and the Red Cross refused to say where, if at all, they publicized the non-donor options.’

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