Premium Content:

Labor praised for supporting end to gay, bi & trans blood donation restrictions

Advocates for blood donation equality have welcomed a motion passed at Labor’s National Conference recognising the need to end restrictions on men who have sex with men and trans women, and adopt individual risk assessment for all blood donors.

- Advertisement -

Spokesperson for campaign group, Let Us Give, Rodney Croome, welcomed the support.

“We thank Labor’s conference delegates for passing a motion recognising the need for a new blood donation policy of assessing all donors for their individual risk instead of the current policy of imposing a three-month sexual abstinence period on gay men, and bisexual men and transgender women who have sex with men.”

“Ending the gay blood ban and adopting individual risk assessment will mean there is more safe blood for those in need and will make the blood supply less discriminatory.”

“This has been the path followed by the UK, the US, the Netherlands, Canada, France, Germany and many other countries.”

Croome said the conference motion is an important step towards Australia also adopting the principle of non-discrimination in blood policy.

“We will now begin lobbying Labor Government members in earnest asking them to ensure Australia drops the gay blood ban as quickly as possible.”

The National Conference motion also welcomes Lifeblood’s proposal to allow gay men to give blood plasma but not whole blood.

Croome said Let Us Give believes Lifeblood’s plasma-only option is not a substitute for lifting the ban on gay whole blood donation.

“No other country has gone down the plasma-only path because it entrenches a second-class donor status for men who have sex with men.”

“Plasma-only donation is to blood equality what civil unions were to marriage equality, a poor substitute.”

“We urge Lifeblood to abandon its plasma-only proposal and go directly to international best-practice, which is individual risk assessment for all donors.”

The successful motion was moved by Tasmanian delegate, Benjamin Dudman, and seconded by Tasmanian Labor Equality spokesperson, Ella Haddad.

Dudman thanked Health Minister, Mark Butler, and Assistant Health Minister, Ged Kearney, who he said were supportive of the motion.

“It’s great I see Labor’s health ministers get behind such an important health reform”, he said.

Labor’s National Conference motion comes after the Queensland State Labor Conference backed the removal of the gay blood ban in June this year.

Lifeblood has previously argued against making a change

Lifeblood has previously told OUTinPerth that members of the LGBTIQA+ community need to be patient because the process to change to rules around blood donation takes time.

The organisation stressed that plasma donations are needed by thousands of Aussies each week to fight cancer and kidney disease, to prevent critical bleeding in accidents and trauma, and to help those with immune and blood disorders to live normal lives.

When it comes to changing over to an individual assessment strategy though, Lifeblood said that option had been ruled out as recently as 2019.

“Individual assessments were considered by an expert review panel commissioned by Lifeblood in 2019 and found not to be the best option for Australia.” the spokesperson said.  “The main reason for this is maintaining the present high-safety threshold of Australia’s blood supply. We believe the plasma pathway achieves this. We are continuing to monitor changing HIV rates in Australia, and new evidence that supports changes to other blood donation types. Any change needs to maintain that high safety threshold.”

Lifeblood said moving to an individual assessment methodology would still leave many gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men ineligible as blood donors but would also probably reduce the number of heterosexual people able to give blood.

“Individual assessments do not allow everyone the opportunity to donate blood, preventing men on PrEP from donating, as well as those who have a new, or more than 1 sexual partner in the last three months.

“It also reduces eligibility within the heterosexual population, amongst people who are not at a high risk of exposure to new HIV.

Lifebook said there was no evidence that changing the rules to allow more gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, to donate would increase the overall level in blood donation in Australia.

“There is no evidence to support a boost to blood donations. Despite this, it is safety that underpins any changes to blood rules.” the spokesperson said.

OIP Staff


You can support our work by subscribing to our Patreon
or contributing to our GoFundMe campaign.

Latest

Argentina’s LGBTIQA+ community blame government after three gay women are murdered

Attacks against LGBTIQA+ have been rising since the election of the government of Javier Milei .

Concerns over LGB Alliance lobbying WA politicians

The group say they represent gay, lesbian and bisexual people, but not people who are transgender or intersex.

Fresh Tracks | The latest tunes worth checking out

Hear Evan Peix, Moby & Benjamin Zephaniah, Omar Rudberg, Micah McLaurin and Beth Gibbons.

Queency to pay tribute to Charles Aznavour

The French music icon recorded over 1,200 tunes.

Newsletter

Don't miss

Argentina’s LGBTIQA+ community blame government after three gay women are murdered

Attacks against LGBTIQA+ have been rising since the election of the government of Javier Milei .

Concerns over LGB Alliance lobbying WA politicians

The group say they represent gay, lesbian and bisexual people, but not people who are transgender or intersex.

Fresh Tracks | The latest tunes worth checking out

Hear Evan Peix, Moby & Benjamin Zephaniah, Omar Rudberg, Micah McLaurin and Beth Gibbons.

Queency to pay tribute to Charles Aznavour

The French music icon recorded over 1,200 tunes.

Parents raise concern over chastity speaker Jason Evert

They say his views on women and LGBTIQA+ people are not needed.

Argentina’s LGBTIQA+ community blame government after three gay women are murdered

Attacks against LGBTIQA+ have been rising since the election of the government of Javier Milei .

Concerns over LGB Alliance lobbying WA politicians

The group say they represent gay, lesbian and bisexual people, but not people who are transgender or intersex.

Fresh Tracks | The latest tunes worth checking out

Hear Evan Peix, Moby & Benjamin Zephaniah, Omar Rudberg, Micah McLaurin and Beth Gibbons.