China Lifts Ban on Lesbian Blood Donation

China’s Ministry of Health has announced that as of July 1, lesbians are allowed to donate blood. CNN reports:

The Chinese Ministry of Health has lifted a 14-year-old ban on lesbians donating blood in effect as of July 1.

The ban still applies to men who are sexually active with other men, but celibate homosexuals are permitted to give blood, according to the Ministry of Health’s website.

The original ban, enacted in 1998, barred homosexuals of both genders from donating blood out of a fear of spreading HIV and AIDS.

Global Times spoke with health professionals and an LGBT activist from Common Language (同语), a China-based advocacy group:

The director of Common Language, an NGO dedicated to supporting lesbians and bisexuals, nicknamed Xian, said that she applauded the amendment and is planning to coordinate members of the NGO to donate blood.

Xian did not know lesbians were barred from giving blood until after the earthquake in Sichuan Province in 2008, when she was told she could not donate blood.

“It’s scientific that the policy doesn’t mention homosexual identity but only fences off some who have certain sex behaviors, because AIDS is not caused by one’s homosexual identity but improper sexual behavior,” said Xian.

She added that in the past, although a lesbian was able to donate by concealing her homosexual identity, the new policy is still meaningful for them.

“It is also about our dignity and the elimination of blood donation discrimination,” she said.

The Atlantic Wire draws attention to the frivolousness of a ban on lesbian blood:

Obviously equating identity and a disease is a misguided belief on a grand scale, but when it comes to lesbians, it looks even more foolish. According to a CDC report from 2006, there were no confirmed cases of female-to-female sexual transmission of HIV in the United States Database. “A study of more than 1 million female blood donors found no HIV-infected women whose only risk factor was sex with women,” reads the report.

For more on homosexuality and gay rights in China, see prior CDT coverage.



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