Plasma donation company sued for discriminating against a trans woman

Plasma collection company CSL Plasma Inc. is being sued for allegedly discriminating against a trans woman

A plasma donation company in the United States is being sued for discriminating against a transgender woman.

What happened?

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights filed a suit on Thursday (7 March) against CSL Plasma Inc. The suit alleges the company violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The Duluth News Tribune reports Attorney General Keith Ellison assisted in filing the lawsuit.

According to Star Tribune, the suit was filed in response to a complaint by Minneapolis resident Alice James. James’ attorney expects her to join the suit as a plaintiff.

The complaint said that James began donating plasma to the center in Duluth, MN back in 2011. In June of 2015, a CSL Plasma employee informed James that company did not accept donations from transgender individuals and prohibited her from donating.

‘CSL Plasma discriminated against James in a place of public accommodation on the basis of her sexual orientation,’ the suit reads. The suit contends that James lost the ability to earn $60 [€53.38] a week by donating plasma.

The state is asking a judge to order CSL Plasma to compensate James ‘in an amount up to three times the actual damages sustained as well as damages for mental anguish and suffering.’ The suit also requests a civil penalty and that CSL Plasma employees undergo discrimination training.

CSL Plasma

CSL Plasma describes itself as ‘one of the world’s largest collectors of human plasma’. The company, which has locations across the country, had a ‘flat ban on all transgender donors’ up until 2016. At that time, their policy changed to allow donors to self-identify.

The company disputes the lawsuit and maintains it ‘acted lawfully.’

‘The state has made no efforts to discuss this matter with us in advance of filing its complaint,’ CSL Plasma spokesperson Robert Mitchell told the Duluth News Tribune. ‘Nonetheless, we will work with the Department to resolve this matter. Or, if that is not possible, will vindicate our position in court.’

‘CSL Plasma policies have evolved since the FDA updated its guidance on donor suitability in December 2015,’ Mitchell stated. ‘Since that time, CSL Plasma has put in place policies that support self-identification based on gender preference. The safety of the donors and employees are of paramount concern and help ensure the safety of the plasma that ultimately becomes life-saving therapies for patients with rare bleeding disorders.’

Despite this, the suit filed by the state alleges that James was turned away by CSL in 2018. She was allegedly told she should ‘try to donate plasma at a vendor other than CSL.’

Alice James

‘I am proud to live in a state where the law demands that people be treated fairly,’ James said in a statement. ‘I hope this case helps to ensure fair treatment for other Minnesotans.’

See Also:

Game of Thrones blood drive draws criticism for discriminating queer men

Iceland may lift its ban on gay men donating blood, but with limits

Iowa Supreme Court strikes down ban on coverage for trans-related surgery

Author: Rafaella Gunz

The post Plasma donation company sued for discriminating against a trans woman appeared first on Gay Star News.

Iceland may lift its ban on gay men donating blood, but with limits

Iceland

Iceland should consider lifting its ban on blood donations from gay men, a chief epidemiologist has said.

But he also qualified his statement, saying that some restrictions should still be imposed.

Chief epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason said that people with ‘liberal sex lives’ were more susceptible to contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

‘First of all, in this group, there is an increased chance that their blood could be carrying HIV or hepatitis C,’ the Reykjavik Grapevine reported Guðnason saying.

‘There are individuals in this group who are practicing safe sex, and are therefore not at risk, while there are others, with a more liberal sex life, who are more likely to spread these kinds of infections.’

Guðnason’s statement contradicts the findings of Iceland’s Directorate of Health.

In September, the health department said it would review the ban on accepting blood donations from gay men.

This followed studies which found that HIV levels between gay and straight men are almost the same.

The findings effectively make the original reasoning for the ban obsolete.

Point of contention

Iceland is one of the most LGBTI-friendly countries in the world and maintains numerous pro-LGBTI rights laws.

However, as with numerous other countries, the issue of blood donation has been a point of contention for years.

In 2014, an Icelandic man filed a suit against the ban, claiming it was discriminatory.

While not insisting on a complete ban, other Nordic countries require a 12-month period of abstinence from any gay or bisexual men wishing to donate blood.

The US carries similar restrictions, despite organizations such as the Red Cross suffering a shortage of blood donations.

Last year, Denmark ruled that it would, with some caveats, lift the ban on accepting blood donations from gay and bisexual men. This will come into effect sometime in 2019.

Gay men will only be able to donate blood if they have not slept with another man in four months prior to the donation. This time period will be voided if the person is in a relationship.

However, some other counties, such as the UK and Israel, have begun relaxing the restrictions, partially due to advances in blood screening methods.

Author: Calum Stuart

The post Iceland may lift its ban on gay men donating blood, but with limits appeared first on Gay Star News.