A letter from PSAC National President Robyn Benson to federal health minister

15 December 2017

The Honorable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
70 Colombine Driveway
Tunney's Pasture
K1A 0K9

Dear Minister Taylor:

RE: Blood donation ban for gay men

I am writing today to urge you to end the ban on blood, organ and bone marrow donations from men who have sex with men.

The PSAC welcomed your government’s apology last month to LGBTQ2 Canadians and we were heartened to hear the Prime Minister once again commit to addressing the ban. However, we were disappointed that the Prime Minister failed to give a timeframe for taking action.

The ban is discriminatory and anti-scientific because it excludes donors based on gender and sexual orientation, rather than on evidenced-based high-risk behaviors. Precluding gay/bi men and trans women regardless of behavior perpetuates harmful stereotypes about the LGBTQ2 community. It also limits blood supply at a time when there is a national shortage of blood donations for transfusions.

We appreciate that after running on a promise to eliminate the ban, your government reduced the deferral period from five years to one. But one year is still too long when it only applies to an already marginalized population. The PSAC urges you to fully deliver on your election promise.

We are asking that you act expediently to restore dignity to LGBTQ2 Canadians and develop criteria for blood, bone marrow and organ donations that is based on evidence rather than gender and sexual orientation.

Regards,

Robyn Benson
PSAC National President

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December 19, 2017
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