China has lifted a 14-year ban on lesbians giving blood, the Ministry of Health announced on Sunday (1 July).
The director of Beijng-based lesbian organization Tong Yu (Common Language), giving her nickname Xian, told Global Times that she welcomed the move. She said she was arranging for a group of Tong Yu members to give blood soon.
Xian first found out about the ban on lesbians donating blood after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, when she wanted to give blood to help the rescue services but was told she was not allowed to because she is a ‘homosexual’.
‘AIDS is not caused by one’s homosexual identity but improper sexual behavior,’ Xian said. ‘It is about our dignity and the elimination of blood donation discrimination.’
The new policy states only sexually active men who have sex with men are barred from giving blood.
Sexologist and sexualities rights campaigner Li Yinhe said that because China learnt about AIDs and homosexuality at the same time there was widespread misunderstanding that ‘being a homosexual equals AIDS’.
‘Inadequate understanding of the two things is the main reason why "homosexuals" were listed as a group not allowed to donate blood,’ Li said. ‘Judging from the amendment, the country’s views on homosexuals and AIDS has progressed.’