China permits lesbians to donate blood
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China has lifted a 14-year-old ban on lesbians from donating blood, while still barring gays, thought of as a high-risk group for AIDS transmission, from
The Whole Blood and Component Donor Selection Requirements, released by the Ministry of Health last year,
amended the provision which had forbidden homosexuals from giving blood.
The new rule now does not mention homosexual identity, only stating that men who are sexually active with other men
are still barred from donating, state-run Global Times daily reported today.
An anonymous staff member from Beijing Red Cross Blood
Centre confirmed on Monday that its units have received the notice from the ministry.
"According to the new policy, mobile blood centres should
have started accepting lesbian donors from Sunday," the official said.
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 behaviours, because AIDS is not caused by one's homosexual identity but improper sexual behaviour," Xian said.
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.
A sexologist Li Yinhe said that as China learnt about AIDS and homosexuality at roughly the same time, in the 1980s, "the nation easily believed that being a homosexual equates to AIDS."
"Inadequate understanding of the two things is the main reason why 'homosexuals' was listed as a group not allowed to donate blood, as a way to prevent the spread of AIDS," Li said.
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