Court upholds right to refuse blood donations from gay men -

Court upholds right to refuse blood donations from gay men

Ruling says potential discrimination doesn’t outweigh safety concerns


Canadian Blood Services has won its lawsuit against a gay man who lied on the blood-donation agency’s questionaire, which asks male donors whether they’ve had sex with a man since 1977. The agency, which doesn’t accept donations from gay men, saw its right to do so upheld by the court in a ruling against Kyle Freeman. While CBS’s refusal to accept donations from gay men has “significant ramifications on [the men’s] quality of life,” the court found it was not enough to outweigh the concerns of recipients of blood products, who would be “asked to accept lower safety standards even though an adequate supply of blood could be provided if higher safety standards were imposed.” The court also ordered to pay $10,000 in damages.

Ottawa Citizen

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Court upholds right to refuse blood donations from gay men

  1. Safety first.

    Anyone who lives a high risk lifestyle should not give blood.

    • You mean most people (most people do have unprotected sex at one time or another).

      In fact… a large number of homosexual men DONT have anal sex. In fact… it's the same % as heterosexual men that don't.

      Shouldn't you be concerned about all the straight people who are having anal sex, unprotected but being allowed to give blood anyways?

      That's the other kicker… anal sex, vaginal intercourse, oral sex… they can all transmit STI's. Anal sex isn't in and of itself a high-risk activity. Imagine you and your partner are both clean. Then it's a no risk activity. Unless, you know… you sleep around.

  2. Straight people have unsafe sex too. Or so I hear anyways.

    • Not since 1977.

      • hahahahahah

  3. A simple blood test for STI's would be sufficient and allow anyone to give blood.

    • it sounds like a good idea in theory, but my understanding is that the test adds undue time and expense to the collection process, and there are some STDs that are transmittable before they show up in most standard testing.

      • What you say is true. But how does it translate over as a risk from homosexuals but not from heterosexuals?

        The only factor I can see people being concerned about is related to misinformation (HIV used to be an entirely different acronym incorrectly labeling gays as the only carriers). Risky sexual behavior is also misinformed as the same % of heterosexual and homosexual partners engage in anal sex. Orientation isn't a factor.

        It's like opposing one religion because of some extreme people vs another religion which also has extremists.

  4. I'm gay, have had anal sex, and am perfectly healthy. Despite this, the Canadian Blood Bank automatically stops me from giving blood.. My straight male friend has unprotected anal sex with lots of women but is still allowed to give blood. It's a double standard.

    As for Judge Catherine Aitken, she demonstrated a degree of intellectual and moral inconsistency in her ruling, not to mention ignorance.

  5. If the Canadian Blood Services had a consistent rule that was gender-neutral, it might have more credibility as an organization. However, the fact that it lists male-male anal sex but not male-female anal sex as a "high-risk" activity proves that it lacks both consistency and credibility. I think Canadian Blood Services should be re-named the "no credibility" organization.

    • Well put

    • When risk factors start taking care to be gender neutral, I'm sure the rules will change.
      In the meantime, I think I'd rather CBS base its risk-benetif analyses on reality – which doesn't give a damn what your idea of credibility would be.

  6. Safety first is terrific. As a gay man, I agree with this notion. But the Canadian Blood Services' current policy isn't based on "safety first". It's based on discriminating against male-male anal sex in favor of male-female anal sex. It's an illogical double standard.

    According to the Canadian Blood Services, you can be a promiscuous straight guy who engages in anal sex with lots of women and still be allowed to give blood. Canadian Blood Services doesn't make sense.

  7. The ban came when AIDS was first exploding onto the public scene, and it was largely seen as a disease that afflicts the gay population. While gay men still make up the highest proportion of AIDS victims, the disease is also prevalent in Aboriginal communities and many women carry the disease as well. The initial ban was reactionary, and there needs to be a stronger solution than simply banning and entire group of people.

  8. Then no blood from anyone.

  9. This ruling brought to mind the fact that there are places in sub-Saharan Africa where 15% of adults are living with AIDs. So I looked up Canadian Blood Services policy, and they also do not accept blood donations from anyone who has lived in certain African countries, or anyone who has ever had sex with someone who has lived in one of those countries. At least they're not being selective when it comes to refusing donations from populations with a higher prevalence of AIDs.

    The problem with their policy of turning away any man who's ever slept with another man is that it's an indiscriminate. It does not take into account that not all gay men are at risk of having or contracting AIDs, only those who have unprotected sex, multiple partners, etc. (all things that straight people do, and which present just as much of a concern for them, incidentally). It would be equivalent to not just turning away people who have lived in AIDs-ravaged regions of sub-Saharan Africa, but everyone who's ever lived anywhere in Africa or is of African descent, period.

    I fail to see why it's okay to blanket exclude all gay men on epidemiological grounds but not all Africans.

    • I agree with your post, right up until you reach the part about how because some gay men protect themselves from the risks, banning gay men from donating is like banning people from low risk countries because of the continent they're on. You don't think some Nigerians protect themselves? Many, maybe most, do…but the number who protect themselves perfectly every time is low enough that it's still not worth the risk. Banning people from low-risk african countries because other african countries are high risk would be more like banning lesbians because they're classiied as homosexual, even thugh it's another group of homosexuals that;s at risk.

      CBS bans risk groups. They're not trying to be fair – they're trying to be safe. The way they do it does exclude some safe donors, but the extra time, expense and work that would go into finding and making exceptions for those safe donors would mean less time, money, and work for other things…like recruiting donors who are not high risk, and thus don't require as much trouble to identify.