Ireland lags behind on gay blood ban

Researcher James Larkin writes in The Journal about the discriminatory treatment of gay people in Ireland who wish to donate blood.

Twenty four years after homosexuality was decriminalised [in the Irish Republic], the lifetime ban on men who have had sex with men donating blood was lifted.

It was replaced by a one year ’deferral’ so that if a man has had protected or unprotected anal or oral sex with another man in the last year then they cannot give blood.

One discriminatory rule is replaced by another discriminatory rule under the pretext of safety and practicality…..

It is not men having sex with men that should be of concern to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, but risky sexual behaviour.

It is a very good article, but I am not sure that monitoring sexual behaviour and educating society is within the remit of a blood transfusion service. Surely the onus is on all of us to help all the people we know or serve understand the risks and behave sensibly so that they can enjoy their sexuality and the rest of their life without putting themselves in danger.


Ecuador’s guilty secret

The South China Morning Post alleges that

For more than ten years gay people in Ecuador have been forced to undergo “conversion therapy” in secret clinics where they are raped and beaten, even though homosexuality is legal.

…“Corrective therapy, in mostly private and clandestine alcohol and drug addiction clinics, continues in Ecuador,” said Cayetana Salao, of Taller de Comunicacion Mujer, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights group. “It’s a reality.”

“Patients” underwent beatings, solitary confinement, being chained to a bed for days, force-feeding of medicine and being made to wear make-up and high heels, and were even repeatedly raped by the staff.

“A morbid creativity for torture exists,” said Ane Barragan, coordinator at Causana Foundation, which has been campaigning to stop conversion therapy for more than a decade.

Gay men in England to get HPV vaccine

Nursing Times | r

The human papilloma virus spreads through genital or oral contact and can cause a number of cancers. 

NHS England and Public Health England have at last announced they will roll out a vaccination programme for gay men and men who have sex with men (MSMs) through sexual health/GUM clinics and HIV clinics in England from April 2018. The vaccine is already available to gay men and MSMs in Scotland and Wales.

Patients will be offered this additional protection when they attend for their routine sexual health check-up.

Public Health England said that the earlier “vaccination pilot was a success”, and that “a phased nationwide rollout to protect men who have sex with men from some cancers caused by HPV as well as genital warts, will now go ahead”.

Parliament: this time PLEASE ban gay conversion therapy for once and for all

MP Ben Bradshaw has had another try at persuading Parliament to outlaw gay cure conversion therapies.

The BBC notes that

The Church of England has been calling for the highly controversial practice to be outlawed, after its ruling body voted for a ban last year.

Ministers condemned the “therapy” but have refused to meet Church campaigners to discuss the issue.

Now, Tory MP and church commissioner Caroline Spelman has vowed to set up a meeting with the minister in charge.

Caroline Spelman said the government had made it clear to campaigners in a letter that it was “strongly against” the practice but did not want to legislate against it because “existing voluntary registers provide safeguards for the public”.

There are many who disagree with that, and are convinced it is time to make such “gay cure therapies” a crime.

Irish trans protest

Uncredited | RTÉ r

More than 200 people, many belonging to the transgender community in Ireland, marched towards the Irish Parliament asking for better healthcare services for people who are seeking gender reassignment treatment. Current services are “unacceptable” and are falling behind other countries in the developed world, they say, calling on the HSE to engage with a model of “informed consent”.

Many transgender people in Ireland want to end the requirement for anyone seeking gender reassignment treatment having to receive a medical diagnosis.

RTÉ says that

It is estimated that 45,000 people in Ireland identify as transgender, although not all will seek gender reassignment treatment.

Yes Doctor, I am, um, one of those things!

The NHS’s decision to ask all patients if they are gay is ‘political correctness gone mad’, according to family GP Dr Michael Dixon, who practices in Devon, who thinks it is ‘intrusive’ and ‘insulting’.

NHS England bosses announced the plans last October, and the question is planned to be implemented in 2019.

Every patient visiting their GP or attending a hospital appointment will be asked if they are gay, straight or bisexual. In October we were told that answering the question would be entirely optional.

Blood ban overturned in Israel

The outright ban on gay men donating blood has been completely overturned in Israel, possibly the first country to do so.

The Times of Israel reports:

Gay and bisexual men in Israel will be allowed to donate blood through Magen David Adom in the same way as other blood donors, after the emergency service on Wednesday announced a “double testing” system that screens blood twice.

Last year, the Health Ministry announced that gay men could donate blood, but only if 12 months had passed since their last sexual encounter.

The health service will test the blood once at donation and test it a second time before infusion. The blood will be frozen for four months in a special freezer.

Israel’s Health Ministry has accepted the double-test procedure on a two-year trial basis, which means gay and bisexual men in Israel will no longer need to wait between having a sexual encounter and donating blood.

“The constant refusal to receive blood donations from male members of the LGBT community, and their requirement to lie, was an insult, but it has come to an end,” said Chen Ariely, chairperson of the Aguda-LGBTQ Taskforce.