A petition has been set up by a University of Lincoln student to change the rules concerning the eligibility of homosexual and bisexual men donating blood.As the rules currently stand, if a man has had sex with another man within the past 12 months, they cannot give blood.
In addition, if a woman has had sex with a man, who has had sex with another man, even if protected, they are unable to give blood.
Thomas Kohler, a 2nd year History student, aims to have these rules changed in light of recent medical advancements concerning HIV tests, whilst also significantly widening the number of potential blood donors.
“My argument is that if we can donate blood marrow and organs, which are tested in very similar ways to blood, why can’t we donate blood?” Kohler told The Linc.
“All blood is tested in the same way and they’ve decided that those tests are foolproof enough for all the other blood that is donated, so why not blood from this specific category?”
Kohler will require 100,000 signatures in order for the matter to be approved for debate in Parliament, and has set himself March 2015 as a realistic goal.
“I think a year is a sensible target,” said Kohler. “This time next year I’d like thousands of signatures, but I imagine it will take longer than that to get the full amount. The biggest problem is keeping the petition hyped up enough for people to have not forgotten about it.”
So how does Kohler plan on gathering the number of signatures required?
“It starts off with a first mass signing on Wednesday 19th March,” Kohler stated.
“People are going to bring down laptops, iPads, Kindles etc, anything we can to get people to sign. We will then post the petition on the pages of all LGBT groups around the country, such as all the different universities. It’s going to be a long process, but I think it’s worth it.”
In 2011, a lifetime ban on homosexual and bisexual men giving blood was loosened to allow men who had not had sex with another man for 12 months to be able to donate, however Kohler believes that the time has come for this to be completely lifted, particularly in light of the nation’s blood stock shortages.
“Homosexual and bisexual people represent 10% of the population, and they’re cutting off 10% of the population’s blood to be donated.
Considering not enough people donate blood anyway, and there’s gay people fighting to give blood, it’s not on.”
If you wish to sign the petition then Kohler will be in the Atrium of the Main Admin Building from 10am until 5pm on Wednesday 19th March.Tweet