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Brazil is the latest country to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men giving blood as supplies dwindle in face of coronavirus pandemic

Vic Parsons May 10, 2020
Brazil is the latest country to lift restrictions on gay and bi men giving blood

Brazilian Supreme Court judge Edson Fachin, pictured here in 2018, said the restrictions on gay and bi men donating blood were 'based on prejudice and discrimination'. (VICTORIA SILVA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court in Brazil has thrown out decades-old restrictions on gay and bisexual men giving blood in a decision hailed as a human-rights victory for LGBT+ people in the country.

The court said that the ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood was unconstitutional.

Judges voted seven-four in favour of lifting the restrictions on Friday (May 8) that meant men who had sex with men had to remain celibate for 12 months before giving blood, ending the waiting period entirely.

Supreme Court Minister Edson Fachin argued that the ban offended the basic human dignity of gay and bisexual men.

“Instead of the state enabling these people to promote good by donating blood, it unduly restricts solidarity based on prejudice and discrimination,” wrote Fachin in his vote, according to Reuters.

Brazil is the latest country to lift restrictions on gay and bisexual men giving blood, as the coronavirus pandemic creates looming global shortages in supplies of donated blood.

The US, Denmark, Australia and Northern Ireland have also relaxed restrictions on gay and bi men giving blood in the last few months.

But LGBT+ campaigners have been heavily critical of these countries for still only accepting blood from gay and bi men who have remained celibate for a number of months, even under the relaxed rules.

The rules on gay and bisexual men giving blood are a remnant of the Aids crisis, with critics blasting the restrictions as being based on stigma rather than science.

The sexual behaviour and history of every blood donor should be assessed before they can give blood, advocates of lifting the rules entirely say, rather than a blanket ban or period of celibacy for men who have sex with men.

The case reached Brazil’s Supreme Court in 2016, but it took the judges four years to make a decision.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, but president Jair Bolsonaro – who tested positive for coronavirus last month after a meeting with Donald Trump – has previously called himself a “proud homophobe”.

Last year, the political opposition in Brazil said that Bolsonaro’s “macho ideas” are responsible for promoting violence against LGBT+ people and women in the country.

Despite the criminalisation of homophobia and transphobia, Brazil is the deadliest country in the world for transgender people.

The Brazilian president also said last year: “Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.”

 

 

 

More: aids crisis, blood donation, Brazil, gay blood donation, stigma

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