Russia may bring back its ban on gay blood donors, and offer an additional gay-to-straight conversion therapy service.
32-year-old Mikhail Degtyarev, who is a candidate for mayor of Moscow, said since 65% of all HIV-positive people were homosexuals, the proposal could not be considered discriminatory.
The politician, who has a record of controversial statements, did not name the source of the statistic he used.
According to news website RiaNovosti, Degtyarev has previously submitted a proposal suggesting women should get a two-day holiday while menstruating.
In an interview earlier this year, Degtyarev spoke about how his religious beliefs do not impact his work.
‘I can say as a believer that I believe in the Apocalypse from the point of view of faith. I believe that we’ll defeat the Antichrist – I’m sure of it – and that Russia will lead the fight against the Antichrist.’
According to Russia Today, Degtyarev announced in a press conference this week: ‘We will suggest amendments to the [blood donation] law to reintroduce homosexuality to the list of contraindications for blood donations in Health Ministry instructions.’
Russia’s ban on accepting blood donations from men who have sex with men was lifted in 2008 while the US still has a ban on gays donating blood, and the UK will not accept blood donations from men who’ve had sex with men in the 12 months prior to donation.
The Russian senior official also said that in order to help gay people ‘return to normal life and become heterosexuals, as are 95 to 99% of our citizens,’ the state was formulating an initiative to offer homosexuals anonymous conversion therapy.
Degtyarev tried to convey that he did not oppose gay pride events, which currently fall under Putin’s anti-‘homosexual propaganda’ law, so long as they were not conducted in the presence of children.
‘The law presumes that they should not hold gay pride events when children can see them. But it is very possible to hold them at night, with flashlights and without amplifiers.’
One of Russia’s most prominent gay rights activists Nikolay Alekseyev told Interfax news agency that re-introducing the ban is both discriminatory and detrimental to people who count on blood donations.
‘We’ve lived without these restrictions for five years. It has not aggravated the situation with diseases. Modern methods of diagnostics allow early detection of infected blood and if they impose the ban this would only deprive the patients of blood from some donors.’