Students Call for End to Discriminatory Blood Donor Policies During National Blood Donor Week

OTTAWA, June 17, 2011 /CNW/ -Throughout National Blood Donor Week students held a series of actions across Canada calling for an end to the Canadian Blood Services' (CBS) discriminatory policy placing a lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have had sex with men (MSM) anytime since 1977.

"Healthy gay men are discriminated against by this highly unscientific and outdated policy," said Adam Awad, Deputy Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students. "Modern blood screening technology no longer affords any convenient arguments to support this policy, which perpetuates myths about the queer community."

Throughout this past week, students across Canada have engaged in various actions including chalking, leafleting, and demonstrations to raise public awareness about this policy that discriminates against queer men. These actions are part of the End the Ban campaign organized by the Canadian Federation of Students.

While Canada has continued to enforce a lifetime ban, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Japan, and Sweden have each modernised their blood donor policies from an outright ban to a twelve-month deferral. Despite the pressure applied by the End the Ban campaign and the public, the CBS has maintained this anachronistic policy.

"Despite purporting to investigate changing this policy, CBS has failed to do so," said Awad. "The ban on MSM donors perpetuates negative stereotypes about the queer community and deferrals should be based on risky behaviour, not someone's sexual identity."

Recently, CBS has gone to extreme lengths to maintain its discriminatory policies. In 2009, the Superior Court of Ontario heard a case filed by CBS against Kyle Freeman, a former York University student who did not present himself as a man who has had sex with another man in order to give blood. The court agreed that there was insufficient evidence to justify a lifetime ban on MSM donors.

For more information on the End the Ban campaign visit:

The Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organisation, uniting more than one-half million students in all ten provinces. The Canadian Federation of Students and its predecessor organisations have represented students in Canada since 1927. 

SOURCE Canadian Federation of Students

For further information:

Adam Awad, National Deputy Chairperson: (613) 979-6622 (mobile)

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