Italy: Gay couple told their blood had been ‘thrown away’ despite being regular donors
A gay couple in Italy have alerted police after being turned away from blood donation clinic, saying nurses told them their blood had been “thrown away” in the past.
According to the Local, the couple, who are regular donors at the Santa Caterina di Galatina hospital in Puglia, have said they were turned away from the clinic on Saturday.
Italy lifted its lifetime ban on gay people donating blood in 2001, although restrictions still apply for relationships of less than four months.
Despite this, the couple say they were turned away because of their sexuality.
“A nurse also tried to dissuade us, telling us that in the past our blood had been thrown away,” one of the men said.
The head of the centre had defended staff, saying they had only been complying with the law.
However, when the couple alerted police and their lawyer, staff then apologised.
Valdo Mellone, director general of the Lecce Health Authority, said: “It was an inexcusable and gross error that has the features of discrimination expressly forbidden – also by our Constitution.
“But I imagine that the doctor acted in good faith.”
He went on to invite the couple to come back to the hospital to donate blood again in three month’s time, and said he would open an inquiry into the blood that was “thrown out.”
Italy is home to a large Catholic population, and lags behind other European countries on LGBT rights, with gay couples having no legal recognition, rights to adopt, and limited protection from discrimination.