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Thailand’s Red Cross Comes Under Fire by LGBT+ Community

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Thailand-Red Cross- LGBT+ Community

Despite the continuing blood shortage situation in Thailand, the Thai Red Cross is still refusing to accept blood donated by the LGBT+ community.

The Bangkok Rainbow Organisation and the HIV Foundation Asia chairman Nikorn Chimkong told the Bangkok Post that efforts by the LGBT+ community urging them to accept blood donation have included street protests and online petitions.

However despite the campaign, their efforts have proved unsuccessful, he said. He believes the problem is the issue has become a battle between the rights of the Thai Red Cross blood recipients versus LGBT rights.

He said the Thai Red Cross considered the rights of blood recipients, but gay men are stigmatized and discriminated against.

“On the blood donation form, each blood donor is required to answer 37 questions,” Mr. Nikorn said. “Question 15 asks, ‘Are you a man who used to have sex with a man?’ This above all stigmatizes both gay males and transwomen because when they have to tick ‘yes.  Once they do they are then barred from donating blood to the Thai Red Cross for life,” he said.

Thai Red Cross says Gay Males blood is risky

The Thai Red Cross drew on claims by the International Red Cross that homosexual males pose a higher risk of transmitting disease, especially STDs and HIV via blood.

However, Mr. Nikorn said this line of reasoning has a big flaw! Although the higher risk may reflect the risk in relation to the estimated total global population, it doesn’t reflect the risk locally in Thailand.

“To make it fair, it would be better if the Thai Red Cross allows the LGBT+ community to donate their blood and conduct research on this matter,” he said.

The ban effectively stigmatized the people in the LGBT+ community as being people of “promiscuous”, “dirty” or having “sinful blood”, which was racist.

“The Thai Red Cross has overlooked the reality of the LGBT+ community, especially the diversity of gay males,” he said. Mr. Nikorn also said that with blood being in scarce supply, many LGBT+ communities wanted to help society.

It would be better for them to ensure the safety of blood donors and receivers without stigmatization while considering the recipients’ rights at the same time, he added.

According to the Thai Red Cross, the criteria for screening out male gays from donating blood is a universal practice.

 

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