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Blood Donation Ban on Gays: Another Issue for LGBTs to Fight

Blood Donation Ban on Gays Another Issue for LGBTs to FightThe lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals (LGBT) have seen a lot of victories recently as a result of their continuous fight to be afforded of various rights. In the aspect of employment, for instance, the Employment Non-discrimination Act (ENDA) have been approved by the U.S. Senate last year, and if passed into law, it would provide LGBT individuals rights against discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While the federal government is yet to afford employment protections for LGBTs, the recent development on the ENDA is still a step forward to their cause.

It also helps that a lot of states have already enacted their own laws that prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. According to a Los Angeles employment lawyer, the State of California, for example, is one of the many U.S. states that prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in both public and private employment.

Despite this, the LGBT community continues to fight for their rights, and that there are issues needed to be addressed. In fact, here is one that not a lot of people are aware of: gays are still prohibited from donating blood. As a matter of fact, it is a ban that obviously stands to this day.

Said ban was established in the late 70s, during the time the medical community was alarmed by the rise of AIDS cases in the U.S. and the growing fears that blood infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) could threaten the whole medical supply of blood in the nation. Since the ban was instituted, gay men, as well as any men who have had at least one sexual intercourse with another of the same sex, were not allowed to donate blood.

Ironically, women or heterosexual men are allowed to donate blood after having waited a year since they had sex with someone infected with HIV/AIDS. Even people who have had sex with prostitutes can likewise do so, provided that they delay for a year after the sexual intercourse. Indeed, many of those who were frustrated by the ban see it as a civil rights issue, because it implicates gay men and bisexual as the only ones who only contract HIV or AIDS.

Fortunately, progress is underway. A lot of medical associations, from the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, to the American Medical Association, are all calling to make a drastic change on the existing policy. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is likewise looking at the effects of loosening the ban, which has been standing since 1977. Indeed, the LGBT community, especially the gay and bisexual community, is now looking forward to the day they could be able to donate blood, which would be another victory for them.

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