Bin the Blood Ban

Did you know that 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 We think this practice is unfair and outdated and we want to do something about it. We want to Bin the Blood Ban.

We've lodged a petition in the Scottish Parliament calling on the blood ban to be binned. The petition is now with the Public Petitions Committee and NUS Scotland will soon be asked to come to the committee and give evidence about why we want to see change. 

The Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service collects donations for blood transfusions and research but not everyone is eligible to give blood. One of the categories of people who cannot currently give blood is men who have had oral or anal sex with another man, with or without a condom or other protection, in the last 12 months. This is regardless of other circumstances, so includes, for example, a man who has only had sex with his partner or husband using a condom, as well as a man who has a number of sexual partners and did not use any protection.

This blanket ban not only limits men who have sex with men but also trans women, trans non-binary people and even cis women if they have had sex with a man who has had sex with other men. This ban in itself has historical roots, dating back to the 1970/80s through the rise in contractions in HIV and the propaganda that stigmatised the LGBT+ community. 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. We believe that this practice would be safer and would no longer be discriminatory towards the LGBT+ community.

We’re asking the Scottish Government to revisit the rules around who can give blood and change them to be based on evidence and individual risk – not someone’s sexual orientation.

Thanks to all those who helped ensure our Bin the Blood Ban petition got enough signatures to be considered by the Scottish Parliament's Public Petitions Committee. 

Want to encourage more students on your campus to donate blood? Download our A3 poster below. 

Equality Network briefing

Give Blood A3 Poster