Queer Men want to give blood, Queer Men want to save lives

New Zealand Minister of Health, and the New Zealand House of Representatives

Queer_blood_petition

Join the call for the Government of New Zealand to modernise regulations around the donation of blood by queer men within our nation.

Queer Men want to give blood, Queer Men want to save lives.

To treat heterosexual blood as “clean” while seeing homosexual blood as “dirty” is blatantly homophobic and is a clear disconnect from modern New Zealand. As wardens of our democracy, the Government should ensure that all New Zealanders are treated fairly and equitably.

We call on Parliament to immediately legislate, bringing the archaic blood regulations into the modern era.

  • Men who have sex with other men (MSMs) should have to wait no longer than the time required for HIV testing to be effective

  • Queer men in long-term monogamous relationships should be free to donate, and not assumed to be promiscuous



Why The Change?

This change will send a message that New Zealand is a fair and just society.

When we led the Western Pacific to legislate same-sex marriage 2014, we proved that we do not treat same-sex relationships as inferior. This is the next logical step for equal rights within Aotearoa.

Right now, The New Zealand Blood service is running an important drive to find suitable donors of blood and plasma for New Zealand’s Medical System.

Using current statistics from the New Zealand Health Survey, if every gay and bisexual man in New Zealand were to donate once per year, this could result in approximately 120,000 additional units of blood.

New Zealand (and the world) is currently held in the grips of an international health pandemic. This is the time to make sure our health system is working to its fullest, and to turn away from the outdated stereotypes of gay men being “unclean”.

Finding an adequate supply of blood, during a pandemic especially, is important to keep our health system operating at full capacity. However, a large subset of the New Zealand public are unable to contribute to the need for blood donations.

Additionally, as our world continues to change and the taboo towards sexual experimentation for younger adults continues to liberalise, this regulation could lead to a lack of supply in a society increasingly accepting of sexual fluidity and experimentation.




What’s the current situation?

At present, a straight man who has multiple partners within a month is able to immediately donate blood, however a gay man in a long-term monogamous relationship is not, despite the gay man having a lower chance of contracting any Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs).

Currently, any MSM is required to wait for 12 months before donating blood (this includes oral sex and whether or not a condom is used).

This archaic regulation unfairly targets the LGBT+ community and is an outdated hangover of the 1980’s HIV epidemic, where testing was not as rigorous and precise as testing now.

This regulation does not hold any place in our modern and inclusive society.

These regulations also apply to women who have sexual contact with an MSM. However, there is no similar regulation on donations for heterosexual men.

If any person is known to have contracted an (bacterial) STI, the stand down period before donating blood ranges from 4 weeks after treatment (chlamydia) to 12 months (gonorrhoea).

Blood is also tested after donating and before transfusion, allowing any detectable pathogens to be identified.

Testing and the stand down period for those know to have contracted an STI should be adequate enough without unfairly targeting the queer population.


What’s happening around the world?

Britain reduced the stand down period to three months in 2017 and Canada followed suit in 2019. The United States has recently reduced the stand down period to three months, as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A four month stand down period currently exists in The Netherlands, Denmark and France.



What needs to happen?

We believe that the clear legislative agenda should indicate a shift towards a ‘one rule for all’ system.

Advances in the current technology will lead to increasingly shorter waiting times for tests.
With current testing, we understand a 3-month stand-down period might be necessary.

Any change in legislation will need to consider future developments in testing.

We call on Parliament to immediately legislate, bringing the archaic blood regulations into the modern era.

  • Men who have sex with other men (MSMs) should have to wait no longer than the time required for HIV testing to be effective

  • Queer men in long-term monogamous relationships should be free to donate, and not assumed to be promiscuous


Queer Men want to give blood, Queer Men want to save lives.


This petition is penned jointly by:
Troy Mihaka, co-founder of Integrity New Zealand; and Luke Redward, queer rights advocate.
Both based in Wellington, New Zealand


For further reading refer:

The Spinoff - 08 April 2020

Speak Freely - 28 October 2019

Petition by
Troy Mihaka
Wellington, New Zealand

To: New Zealand Minister of Health, and the New Zealand House of Representatives
From: [Your Name]

We call on Parliament to immediately legislate, bringing the archaic blood regulations into the modern era.

- Men who have sex with other men (MSMs) should have to wait no longer than the time required for HIV testing to be effective
- Queer men in long-term monogamous relationships should be free to donate, and not assumed to be promiscuous

End the discrimination against the queer community. Queer Men want to give blood, Queer Men want to save lives.