At a time of chronic shortages in Canada’s blood supply, LGBTQ2+ Canadians want to help save lives. Unfortunately, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) prohibits many LGBTQ2+ individuals from donating blood unless they have been celibate for at least three months.
CIJA’s National LGBTQ2+ Advisory Council has made a priority of calling for this requirement to be removed, noting that it is prejudiced and promotes negative stereotypes regarding the LGBTQ2+ community. Canadians must have confidence that our blood supply meets the highest safety standards, but this cannot be achieved through discrimination. CBS and the government should end the current policy regarding LGBTQ2+ donations and replace it with a science-based approach rooted in gender-neutral, behaviour-based screening methods. Combined with CBS’ continued testing of donations for HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, this new policy would allow for more precise, efficient, and cost-effective screening and would empower more Canadians to donate blood.
Just as Israel and various other countries have ended LGBTQ2+ blood donation bans and restrictions, so too should the Government of Canada end the three-month celibacy requirement.