Trans activists are seeking clarifications from the Irish Blood Transfusion Board regarding the service’s policy on donations from trans people.
The request for clarification comes after a trans woman, Aoife Martin, attempted to have her gender details amended on the IBTS’s system.
After long-time blood donor Martin sought to have her registration details changed, the IBTS wrote to her requesting a meeting to discuss her eligibility, advising her not to donate blood in the interim, reports The Irish Times.
The IBTS told the Times that its policy on “gender reassignment” had not changed in recent years, and said it would accept whatever gender a donor says they are when they attend clinics.
It also told the paper that “a donor’s gender had had implications for the haemoglobin level required prior to donation”.
“Having donated blood on and off for over 20 years I find this attitude disappointing and feel annoyed that I should have to go to Dublin to explain myself to them,” Martin told the Irish Times.
“I think there’s a lack of understanding of trans identities and bodies,” said TENI Director Broden Giambrone, who also said he would contact the IBTS for clarifications.
“At the end of the day, they want people to donate blood in a safe and accessible way and we want trans people to be able to donate blood in a safe and accessible way.”
Last month, Minister for Health Simon Harris announced that he would act on recommendations to end the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, replacing it instead with a one-year deferral system.
LGBT advocates lauded the move as “good progress” but many spoke out against the discriminatory nature of the one-year referral.
“The one-year deferral period does however still discriminate against many gay and bisexual men because of who they are, when there is no scientific evidence to show that they should be excluded,” said GLEN Director Brian Sheehan. “For example, a male couple in a committed long term relationship will continue to be denied the opportunity to donate blood.”
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