STD Monitor News Why Transgenders Banned From Donating Blood By Centre Is Unfair?

Why Transgenders Banned From Donating Blood By Centre Is Unfair?

Why Transgenders Banned From Donating Blood By Centre Is Unfair?

The Centre recently justified its decision to ban transgender people, gay people, and female sex workers from donating blood to the Supreme Court citing scientific evidence. This came after Thangjam Singh, a member of the queer community, moved to the Supreme Court seeking the removal of the ban. The Centre defended its decision by stating that transgender and gay people are banned on the grounds that they are considered “high-risk” groups for HIV/AIDS. Centre before calling them high-risk groups should study why they are called one, and how society plays role in making them one. 

The National Blood Transfusion Council (NBTC) and the National AIDS Control Organisation issued the Guidelines for Blood Donor Selection & Blood Donor Referral in October 2017. Clauses 12 and 51 of the said guidelines prohibit transgenders, gay people, and female sex workers from donating blood, citing that they are at higher risk for HIV and Hepatitis B and C infections.

Transgenders Banned From Donating Blood

How can this nationwide blanket ban be justified? How is it fair to determine that transgender people, gay people, and female sex workers are the only ones at risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)? If the concern was truly about ensuring that STDs don’t get transmitted through blood transfusions, shouldn’t every blood donor be tested for HIV before donating blood?

Usually, anyone between the ages of 18 and 65 with a haemoglobin level of 12.5 g/dL, a weight above 45 kg, and a good health condition is eligible to donate blood. So, when a transgender, gay, or female sex worker checks all the eligibility requirements, why should they be prohibited from donating blood? Why aren’t we considering the possibility that literally anyone, including a heterosexual person, can be infected with HIV with or without their knowledge?

Transgender people and homosexuals have been facing extreme biases from society for decades. They are judged, shamed, stigmatised, outcasted, and denied their basic constitutional rights. Despite the challenges, numerous transgender people, like Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a Bharatnatyam dancer and activist, Joyita Mondal, the first transgender judge in a Lok Adalat, and Dr Manabi Bandopadhyay, India’s first transgender college principal have broken the barriers and proven their talent and determination in various fields.

So, the blind assumption that transgender and gay people are at a high risk of getting STDs because they indulge in unsafe sexual activities reeks of homophobia. HIV can be transmitted through direct contact with certain body fluids like semen, vaginal fluid, anal mucus, blood, and breast milk. Anyone who has multiple sexual partners has unprotected sexual intercourse or uses shared needles could contract HIV.

“Not every transgender or queer person indulges in sex work, has multiple sexual partners, or has an “overly” active sex life. I donate blood regularly, and for my safety as well as other’s safety, I undergo an HIV test every six months,” said Chennai-based writer and activist Arun Karthik, who identifies himself as a transman to SheThePeople. Arun Karthik gets his blood regularly checked for HIV as part of his hormone treatment. He has also gotten the approval to donate blood from his gynaecologist and produces his latest bloodwork every time before donating blood.

“If the centre is concerned about the spread of HIV, it would be better if they spread awareness amongst everyone to undergo an HIV test at regular intervals or before donating blood. We are already traumatised due to several discriminating factors, so it’s disheartening that we get stigmatised for trying to be helpful to society. It feels as if we are not even considered humans,” added Arun Karthik.

Considering the fact that literally anyone could get affected by HIV, regardless of their sexual life, it is imperative that the government doesn’t discriminate against transgender and gay people. It is unfair and inhuman to order a blanket ban on all transgender people, gay people, and female sex workers under the presumption that they might have an STD. As Arun Karthick said, it would be great if an HIV test was also added along with the regular blood test that is mandatory for blood donors. Isn’t it about time we became more inclusive and respectful towards one another?

Suggested Reading: Plea Seeks Transgender Persons’ Recognition Under Special Marriage Act, SC Issues Notice

Discovered on: 2023-03-30 16:17:53

Source: Why Transgenders Banned From Donating Blood By Centre Is Unfair?


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