While blood shortages continue to be an issue worldwide, the fight continues to lift bans and restrictions on gay men donating blood. In the US, the current restriction requires gay men to be celibate for a year before donating. A similar policy was passed last year by Israel’s Health Ministry, although it has still come under scrutiny by local gay rights groups.
A recent policy change lifts the restriction and allows gay men to freely donate blood. Announced this week by the Health Ministry and Magen David Adom (the national Red Cross association), the new system will have blood checked for certain infectious diseases at the time of donation. It will then be frozen for four months before being tested again in a special double testing system. This procedure was developed by Knesset lawmaker, Meirav Ben-Ari of the Kulanu party, with the Israel AIDS Task Force and Israel’s LGBT Task Force, and it will be implemented for a two-year trial period.
Breakthrough & an important historical step towards equality: MDA to receive blood donations from male members of the LGBT community thanks to a solution found by MDA's Blood Services, Knesset Member Meirav Ben-Ari, The Israel Aids Task Force and Israel's LGBT Task Force. pic.twitter.com/xH9ayLSrEA
— Magen David Adom (@Mdais) January 10, 2018
“Starting very soon, all members of the population will be able to enlist to save lives regardless of their sexual orientation,” said Eli Bin, director of Magen David Adom. “Donation of blood is a right and duty common to all citizens of Israel.”
Although this is great progress for the LGBTQ community of Israel, it’s important to remember the role of pinkwashing in Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. We can’t fully celebrate queer rights in Israel if it comes at the expense of Palestine.