South Africa Allows Gay Men to Donate Blood

Image via Passport

Image via Passport

In a stunning new development for the rights of gay men worldwide, South Africa has implemented a new policy on blood donation, and it’s one that doesn’t single people out based on sex or sexual orientation. Mamba Online reports that Vanessa Raju of the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) told Mamba that the new policy dictates that “anyone who has a new sexual partner will not be allowed to donate blood for six months, and that anyone who has multiple partners will not be allowed to donate blood.” Just to be clear, Mamba reiterates: “Both criteria are irrespective of a person’s sexual orientation.”

This decision will feel particularly significant to gay men in the U.S., who are still barred from donating blood. Specifically, U.S. law prohibits any man who has had sex with another man since 1977. Here’s hoping South Africa’s new move will inspire the U.S. to make similar changes. While ostensibly the American “gay ban” on blood donation just protects blood recipients from HIV/AIDS, Sen. Tammy Baldwin pointed out last August, with her attempt to end this law, that the ban on gay men “continues to perpetuate inaccurate stereotypes against gay and bisexual men and fosters an atmosphere that promotes discrimination.”

[h/t Mamba Online, via Towleroad]

 

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