Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will ease blood donation restrictions on gay and bisexual men. Even though these restrictions were put in place due to their high risk of contracting HIV, LGBTQ groups have been advocating for this policy shift for years, arguing that it discriminates against homosexual males.
The new policy would mean that homosexual and bisexual males in monogamous relationships who test HIV negative and practice safe sex can donate without abstaining from sex. Other countries, such as the United Kingdom, France, Greece, and the Netherlands, have either dropped their bans or eased their past restrictions on homosexual male blood donors.
Another change in the FDA guidance that has gotten less attention but may be more concerning is that “In the context of the donor history questionnaire, FDA recommends that male or female gender be taken to be self-identified and self-reported.” As you may have suspected, the American Red Cross is abiding by the FDA guidance:
This change allows blood donors to register with the gender in which they identify. The Red Cross will no longer ask donors to answer both male and female questions when attempting to donate. There is no deferral associated with being transgender, and eligibility will be based upon the criteria associated with the gender the donor has reported.
So let’s review here: males and females have different requirements for donating blood. Yet, if you’re a male but “identify” as a woman, you are no longer subjected to the blood donation criteria for males but for females.
“This change would allow a homosexual or bisexual male to present at the clinic and self-describe himself as ‘female’ or ‘trans’ and be exempted from the 3-month deferral typically associated with males who actively engage in sexual activity with other males,” explains Bryndís Blackadder at Reduxx. “This may pose a risk to both the Red Cross staff, the donor, and the viability of blood donations.”
Reduxx tested the new policy by having a member of its team call the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center and pose as a biological male who identified as a woman to check his eligibility requirements. “When the agent was asked if a person ‘assigned male at birth’ who was actively having sex with other biological males was able to donate blood, he responded that so long as the potential donor self-declared their sex as ‘female,’ they would be allowed.”
The Red Cross nevertheless insists, “We understand that there is a difference between biological sex and gender.”
But does it? The new policy suggests otherwise.
This policy raises other concerns as well. According to the Red Cross website, “There is no deferral associated with being transgender, and eligibility will be based upon the criteria associated with the gender the donor has reported. See additional blood donation eligibility criteria.”
So if you’re actively undergoing cross-hormone “therapy” you can still donate blood? Given all the health risks associated with the practice, I can’t help but wonder why someone actively undergoing cross-hormone “therapy” would be allowed to donate. There are several medications that make one ineligible to donate blood or require a waiting period to donate blood, yet the Red Cross site makes no mention of restrictions for people undergoing hormone treatments while transitioning. Among other things, cross-hormone treatments can increase your risk of cancer, stroke, blood clots, heart attack, and cause infertility.
Despite the risks, the Red Cross confirmed that there are no restrictions for transgender donors undergoing hormone treatments.
“The information provided and by researching our guidelines, there is not a blanket deferral on transgender people undergoing hormone treatments,” a representative from the American Red Cross told PJ Media. “However, you would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements before donating.”
How comfortable are you with the idea that in the event of needing a blood transfusion, you might receive blood spiked with these dangerous hormones?