Health Canada currently limits blood donations by gay and bi men and trans women to three months after their last sexual encounter with men
A petition aims to convince the federal government to eliminate restrictions on blood donation by gay and bi men and transgender women in Canada.
Current rules allow men who have sex with men to donate blood if it has been more three months after their last sexual encounter with a man. This rule also affects trans women who have not had lower gender confirmation surgery.
The petition proposes to remove this three-month rule.
New Democrat MP Randall Garrison of B.C. authorized the publication of the electronic petition on the website of the House of Commons.
The petition argues there is “no science” behind the three-month deferral.
“Behaviour-based screening provides better security for the blood supply than identity-based rules…,” the petition states.
It also notes that “every blood donation is tested for several infectious diseases, including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C”.
“More than 17 nations have no deferral period, including Italy, Spain, and Argentina,” the petition points out.
Davy Sabourin of Gatineau, Quebec, started the e-petition.
“Canada’s blood supply is suffering from shortages during the COVID-19 crisis and there is an urgency of obtaining plasma donations for research into the prevention and treatment of COVID-19,” the petition also states.
The petition likewise seeks government support for a private member’s motion by Garrison, who represents the Vancouver Island riding of Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke.
Garrison’s M-41 motion seeks the House’s support in asking the government to “take immediate measures to end the current deferral policy”.
The motion aims to have Canadian Blood Services, Héma-Québec, and Health Canada “replace the current discriminatory policy with a science and behaviour-based policy”.
The petition opened for signatures on July 29 and closes on October 27.
E-petitions need 500 signatories in order to be presented on the floor of the House. There were 137 signatures as of August 8.
This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight.