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Blood supplies low during pandemic, LGBTQ activists call to be allowed to donate

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Blood supplies in Thailand have reportedly run critically low over the recent months as many donation centres have suspended operations due to the Covid-19 situation. With calls from the Thai Red Cross society for blood donations, LGBTQ activists are urging the Red Cross to change their criteria to allow those in the gay and transgender communities to donate, especially now to help with the shortages.

The chairperson for the Bangkok Rainbow Organisation and the HIV Foundation Asia told the Bangkok Post that protests and petitions from LGBTQ activists over the blood donation issue have been unsuccessful. He says gay men and biological men who have sex with men are discriminated against when it comes to donating blood. According to the Bangkok Post, Thai Red Cross says the rule because of men who have sex with men have a 10% risk of transmitting disease through their blood.

The American Red Cross allows gay men to donate blood, but under federal regulations, they must wait 3 months after having sex with another man before donating blood due to the risk of spreading HIV.

In Thailand, blood donors are required to answer 37 questions, the activist says. Number 15 asks “Are you a man who used to have sex with a man?” The activist says the question stigmatises gay men and transgender women. He claims that if they were to tick “yes” to question 15, then they are barred from donating blood in Thailand for the rest of their life. The activist says this stigmatises gay and transgender people as being “promiscuous” or having “sinful blood”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Local Thai journalist speaking fluent Thai and English. Tanutam studied in Khon Kaen before attending Bangkok’s Chulalongkhorn University.

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