Calls for medical professionals to help end gay, bi & trans blood ban

A new declaration for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals has been launched by Australian advocates, seeking support to replace the standing ban on gay/bi and transgender blood donation with individual risk assessments.

Launched by LGBTIQ+ advocacy group just.equal, the declaration has already been signed by over 70 medical professionals.

The declaration is accompanied by a video from gay Aussie doctor Nick McIntosh, explaining why he chose to sign.

“As a doctor I’m dedicated to saving lives but as a gay man I can’t give blood,” McIntosh says.

“I want to see the current gay blood ban lifted and replaced with individual risk assessment for all potential blood donors.”

“The science shows us that this would make the blood supply safer, and it would mean there’ll be more blood available to save lives.”

just.equal spokesperson Rodney Croome has urged medical professionals to share their support and sign the declaration.

“Research from countries that moved from banning gay, bisexual and transgender donors to individual risk assessment clearly shows the blood supply is safer, more plentiful and less discriminatory as a result.”

“I urge medical professionals who support a better blood donation policy for Australia to sign the declaration.”

“We will present the declaration to Australia’s health ministers, as their part of their current consideration of the changes to blood donor policy.”

Back in April, the Therapeutic Goods Administration revealed the current celibacy period for gay, bisexual and transgender donors would be reduced from twelve months to three.

Since then, a letter writing campaign spearheaded by just.equal and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has seen 5000 emails sent to Australia’s health ministers, and the ACT, Tasmania and Western Australia have begun consulting with their respective departments.

Croome says the three month celibacy period does not go far enough, calling it “window dressing.”

“Forcing gay, bisexual and transgender people to be celibate for three months before they can donate blood does not increase the supply of safe blood and continues to stimgatise us as a threat to public health,” Croome adds.

“Only fear and prejudice stop Australia moving to individual risk assessment.”

The movement for blood donor reform has grown significantly in recent months. US LGBTIQ+  advocacy organisation, GLAAD, has released declarations from medical professionals and politicians in support of reform, and UK group, Freedom to Donate, has also released a statement supporting reform from British politicians.

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