Finally, we have a major victory for gay rights in South Africa! The ban on “males who have had sex with males in the previous 6 months” has been lifted by the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), allowing gay men to donate blood.
I previously wrote about how unfair the previous policy was, as it excluded safe, HIV negative gay men in a monogamous long term relationship from giving blood, while allowing our straight counterparts to donate blood. Previously, gay men had to be completely celibate for 6 months in order to donate blood. This is not realistic for a gay man in a monogamous long-term relationship.
The new policy recognises that gay men in a monogamous long-term relationship pose no more risk that a straight couple in a monogamous long-term relationship. Now, the new guidelines allow any person (gender and sexuality not specified) to donate blood if they have been monogamous for the last 6 months.
Why should you care about blood donation?
Even if you do not give blood and never plan to, you should care! This is a major step in making the world more fair and less discriminatory for gay people. It means that society is starting to see gay people as normal, every day people, with lives no different to normal, every day straight people. It supports the idea that gay people are not bad people, and are not any more risky than straight people.
Thanks to SANBS for lifting the blood donation ban
I would like to thank SANBS for taking this necessary step towards better equality and fairness for all. I’m going out to donate blood today!