Friday 03-02-2017 - 16:18
February is LGBT+ History Month, a time when students and the wider community focus their attention on the historical issues that LGBT+ people have faced. LGBT+ History Month is important for two reasons, the first is to see how far we have come and in doing so combating history from repeating acts of previous and historical oppression. The second reason is it allows us time to reflect and observe where we need to go.
This month NUS Scotland LGBT+ campaign are launching our Bin the Blood Ban campaign, tackling the stigma and outdated practice that many members of the LGBT+ community face when trying to donate their blood to save a life.
Various members of the LGBT+ community are being turned away from giving blood. This is not on the basis of their individual risk but as a result of a blanket ban. We think this practice is discriminatory and outdated and we want to do something about it. We want to Bin the Blood Ban.
This blanket ban limits men who have sex with men, trans women, trans non-binary people and even cis women if they have had sex with men who has had sex with other men. This ban in itself has historical roots, dating back to the 1970s/80s through the rise in contractions in HIV and the propaganda that stigmatised the LGBT+ community and beyond. Progress has been made in turning the lifetime ban to a 12 month deferral period but we’d like to see the system changed to an evidence based system that is based on an individual’s risk rather than stigmatising large groups of the population.
Students’ associations have a strong history in organising celebratory events, raising awareness for important historical role models and events, campaigning for change on their campus and in their community for the rights of students during LGBT+ History Month. That’s why I hope you’ll join us this February and beyond to campaign to Bin the Blood Ban. Each students’ association has been sent a pack with posters and leaflets promoting the campaign. If you’re keen to get started you can find out more about the campaign and download Bin the Blood Ban resources at www.nusconnect.org.uk/BinTheBloodBan.
Whether you are someone who can give blood or can't we hope that you’ll get involved in the campaign to allow for a more equal Scotland.
Love and Solidarity