Bad Blood: The Conditions of the Blood Ban

Faris Mecklai

ARTSSCI 4CI3: Diversity & Human Rights Inquiry


I have bad blood. Every few weeks, Canadian Blood Services (CBS) sends me an email asking me to donate blood. However, CBS also tells me that because I love those that I do, I am ineligible to actually do so. In Canada, men who have sex with men (MSM) are not allowed to donate blood until three months after their last sexual encounter in order “to protect the blood supply from HIV” (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-b). This regulation, however, was originally a lifelong ban. Previously, any man who had had sex with another man after 1977 could never donate blood (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-b). This policy came to be known as the Blood Ban, and many have come to call it homophobic and discriminatory. Even though blood from all donors gets tested for HIV, very specific groups of people cannot give blood. Here, the gay man’s identity is profiled and systemically excluded. Rather than focusing on excluding individuals whose behaviours––such as having unprotected sex––may lead to a positive HIV infection, individuals’ identities are being targeted. As a gay man who has been excluded from giving blood on the premise that my blood could be tainted or impure, I have a personal and vested interest in this topic. I have always questioned why and how the Blood Ban came into prominence as well as the conditions that have allowed it to not only exist, but survive and thrive in Canada.

Three main conditions contribute to the survival of the Blood Ban: 1) histories of homophobia and stigma, 2) irrational fear of possible HIV transmission, and 3) the delegitimization of citizenship for those wishing to be altruistic. These conditions have survived and thrived throughout Canada’s history of blood donation and HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, they allow CBS to rationalize and normalize the existence of this discriminatory policy. They legitimize irrational concerns of those fearful of contracting HIV/AIDS, perpetuate systemic discrimination, further marginalize the LGBTQ+ community, and are responsible for the creation of the Blood Ban. All three act both independently and in cooperation with one other to perpetuate the existence, survival, and thriving of the Blood Ban.

  1. Histories of Homophobia and Stigma

The first cases of HIV/AIDS in North America were discovered in five young homosexual men in Los Angeles in 1981 (CDC, 1981). Immediately, the public associated this new and scary disease with homosexuality. After additional clusters of homosexual men were diagnosed with a never-before-seen disease in the following year, professionals assigned HIV/AIDS the name Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) (Stulberg & Smith, 1988). The nomenclature itself was homophobic––it equated an infectious disease with being gay, even though an insufficient amount of time, energy, and research had gone into understanding the true risk factors for HIV/AIDS (Stulberg & Smith, 1988). Today, the world knows that anyone can contract HIV/AIDS and that the disease is not exclusive to the gay man’s body (Herek & Glunt, 1988). Risky behaviour can lead to the contraction of HIV, not the gay identity. When HIV/AIDS first appeared in North America amongst gay men in the 1980s, people began to fear gay men and blamed them for this new threat to their health and well-being. At that time, homophobia was embedded into the social and political life of North Americans to a much more visible and tolerated extent than it is today. As a result, little critical thinking was applied to the connection between HIV and homosexuality, and the idea that gay men were a threat to society and public health flourished.

Today, many people know that HIV/AIDS is transmitted through an exchange of bodily fluids. Sharing needles with, having unprotected sex with, or accepting blood transfusions from someone who is HIV+, can all result in the contraction of the virus (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-b). However, decades ago, the popular belief was that HIV/AIDS was a disease exclusive to MSM. Furthermore, many incorrectly believed that HIV/AIDS could be transmitted through close proximity, hugs, or any form of contact to HIV+ individuals (Herek & Glunt, 1988). As such, gay men were physically and socially distanced from the rest of society––no one wanted to interact with them. There was a clear inconsistency in society’s premonitions of gay men. On one hand, they thought that HIV/AIDS was exclusive to MSM, but they were also scared to interact with them for fear of catching the virus as well. These beliefs were popular because they reflected and fueled homophobia and were not rooted in science, rationality, or unbiased empirical evidence. Fear, panic, and hysteria infiltrated the minds of many North Americans during the 1980s and thus, a stigma around HIV/AIDS emerged: gay men were viewed as disease-ridden, as infectious, and as a plague to society.

Homophobia and the stigma of HIV/AIDS perpetuate one another. In the 1980s, North America had already stigmatized the LGBTQ+ community. Homophobia was socially acceptable. As such, when an unfamiliar disease seemingly appeared out of nowhere and was thought to be exclusive to gay men, homophobia surged (Herek & Glunt, 1988). Gay men were blamed for introducing HIV/AIDS to North America, and, as a result, were far more ostracized and discriminated against than before. HIV+ men faced discrimination everywhere. They were denied basic services like haircuts and mail delivery, were forced to resign from their jobs, and in some cases even had their houses burned down (Herek & Glunt, 1988). People physically avoided gay men because they were scared of contracting HIV themselves. Nowadays, these actions seem totally ridiculous and socially unacceptable; in fact, most can be severely punished by the law. However, the social and political context of North America during the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s allowed these acts to happen with little regard for human dignity, equality, and respect. Perpetrators of discrimination against individuals in the LGBTQ+ community believed that their actions were ‘right’ and were not concerned about any legal consequences. In many cases, systemic homophobia and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in the legal system even allowed perpetrators of homophobic violence to receive reduced punishments (Herek & Glunt, 1988). Thus, as homophobia was deemed socially acceptable, and HIV/AIDS was seen as inexplicably linked to homosexuality, stigma against HIV+ individuals was tolerated and normalized. Since society saw HIV/AIDS as a threat to public health and safety, discrimination against all HIV+ men, and as an extension, all gay men, was deemed perfectly acceptable.

Systemic stigma about HIV/AIDS that stemmed from an inherently homophobic society also facilitated the creation of the Blood Ban (Robinson & Frost, 2018). The notion that MSM blood is tainted, impure, diseased, toxic, and bad penetrated the minds of those creating blood donation policies. Canadian Blood Services, The Canadian Red Cross, The American Red Cross, the American Food and Drug Administration, and the public, all believed in the idea of MSM blood impurity (Robinson & Frost, 2018). North Americans in the 1980s blamed the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically homosexual men, for the creation and outbreak of a disease. The social acceptance of homophobia and stigma bred homophobic regulations that barred MSM from donating blood. The perceived threat of HIV/AIDS led to the immediate implementation of these regulations with minimal critical analysis or reflection. Few realized that the Ban emerged from a place of discrimination rather than from a concern for public safety. Unfortunately, rhetoric that MSM are at fault for the existence of HIV/AIDS has persisted until today, and the perpetuation of the Blood Ban does nothing to help correct it (Fielstein et al., 1992).

The two main rationales for the Blood Ban are that 1) MSM are a demographic with high HIV infection rates, and 2) HIV can be undetectable for a certain amount of time after infection (Fielstein et al., 1992). However, the gay man’s body is no more physiologically likely to contract HIV than anyone else. Before information about sexually transmitted diseases, infections, and HIV/AIDS became widely available, MSM were unlikely to use protection as it was widely believed that condoms only prevented pregnancy (Robinson & Frost, 2018). As a result, HIV/AIDS and other STDs became widespread in the gay community (Robinson & Frost, 2018). Furthermore, a history of homophobia resulted in a lack of prevention and education efforts by governments to mitigate the risks of HIV/AIDS (Herek & Glunt, 1988). Gay men were allowed to suffer and risk infection because their governments did not see the need to value their lives and act in any capacity to increase public health and safety for MSM. To governments, it was not worth intervening when a barber did not want to cut a gay man’s hair, a mailman did not want to deliver a gay man’s mail, or a gay man’s house was burned down. Thus, it was certainly not worth the trouble to help or listen to the MSM community when gay men wanted to be informed about healthy safe sex practices, or gay men wanted to donate blood (Herek & Glunt, 1988).

A prime example of a government failing to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the U.S. occurred in the 1980s. The Center for Disease Control and the US Senate withheld funding for educational programs that would teach young Americans about safe sex and HIV/AIDS because those in charge believed these initiatives would spread a ‘homosexual agenda’ (Herek & Glunt, 1988). Thus, the reason MSM are more likely to contract HIV––a cause of the blood ban––was the fault of governments and decision-making bodies. Governments and policymakers were perpetuating, and continue to perpetuate, systemic homophobia by not creating inclusive education and public health policies. The Canadian and US governments excluded gay men from their definition of human beings deserving happy and healthy lives. Pursuit of happiness is listed as an “unalienable Right” in the preamble of the US Declaration of Independence (US, 1776, preamble). MSM in the US could not pursue happiness since their own governments did not even allow them to pursue their health. Furthermore, Article 25 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself... including... necessary social services” (The United Nations, 1948, art. 25.1). As such, governments violated regulations they themselves had created and were answerable to, and tolerated the dehumanization of MSM by denying them basic social freedoms such as public health, safety, and safe sex education. Homophobia and stigma became endemic to public health and safety systems, and thus, concerns for equality, rights, and a social justice perspective were dismissed. These rights were not considered when governments were faced with an epidemic; their goal was to protect the non-homosexual population from MSM through policies such as the Blood Ban while the gay community suffered. Policies and actions that could have helped the gay community did not exist, and the Blood Ban acted to separate and other the gay community from everyone else (Herek & Glunt, 1988).

The perpetuated stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS also deterred many MSM from getting tested (Herek & Glunt, 1988). They thought that living in ignorance was bliss. At the time, HIV was almost certainly both a literal and social death sentence. Because of HIV’s inevitable health outcomes, MSM preferred to not occupy themselves with the emotional burdens and consequences of receiving a positive diagnosis. Furthermore, a positive diagnosis also often meant that individuals were outed or believed to be gay, even if they were not, since homosexuality and HIV/AIDS were improperly linked (Herek & Glunt, 1988). Doctors were also reluctant to report positive HIV cases because they were scared other patients would not want to see them if it became known that they had been in contact with an HIV+ individual (King, 1986). Misreporting exemplified discrimination because it perpetuated the notion that gay men needed to hide their identities. Even the few mechanisms created to monitor and protect their health worked against them. Misreporting infiltrated the scientific method and biased the studies on HIV health risks as trends in infection counts were inaccurate (Robinson & Frost, 2018). Without such inaccuracies, there would have been less of a bottleneck on the invention of HIV testing technologies or medicines such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The route to combatting HIV/AIDS would have been clearer and more straightforward. These factors that stem from homophobia and stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS led to misinformation about the virus and consequently higher infection rates. This provided reasons for organizations like CBS to continue to claim that the Blood Ban is necessary.

All blood donations that come through CBS are tested for HIV and other diseases, no matter who the donor is or what identities they may hold. Today, science shows that HIV is detectable by testing after a window period of only sixteen days from the point of potential infection (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-a). It seems unnecessary to ban MSM blood for three months on the basis that the MSM community has a high proportion of HIV+ members. Although in the past, HIV testing was not as efficient and accurate as it is today, technology has now advanced greatly. The survival of the Blood Ban thus suggests that it is a product of perpetuated homophobia and stigma as opposed to scientific suggestions to mitigate accidental HIV+ blood transfers. MSM are barred from giving blood because of their identity, yet unprotected sex is the culprit of HIV infections––not homosexuality. While history suggests that the gay community may have catalyzed the HIV/AIDS epidemic in North America, this was not because of their identity, but rather because uninformed judgment, on part of the government, led to a lack of use of protection during intercourse (Robinson & Frost, 2018). Notably, however, not all MSM practice unprotected sex. Nonetheless, CBS seems to make this assumption and generalization when it bans all homosexual men from donating blood. Thus, a more appropriate blood donation restriction would be for sixteen days for anyone who has engaged in unprotected sex no matter their sexual orientation, as opposed to three months for all MSM.

The responses from CBS and the Red Cross, when asked about the existence of the Blood Ban, have been unclear and inconsistent (Bauer, 2019). Ironically, the Blood Ban arose from stigma against homosexuality, and now, the Blood Ban is itself stigmatized. CBS is often called homophobic and discriminatory for targeting the MSM identity instead of the true culprit: HIV-transmitting behaviour such as unprotected sex. In Italy, for example, MSM are evaluated on eligibility to donate blood on a case-by-case basis (Weisberger, 2016). Italy asks behaviour-related questions to everyone, such as the number of sexual partners an individual has had, and whether one uses protection. High-risk behaviour and practices are banned instead of identity. To date, Italy’s HIV transmissions via blood donations are stagnant (Weisberger, 2016). Italy has overcome the fear of transmission and contamination, yet CBS continues to perpetuate a rhetoric of fear, reinforces the stigma of HIV/AIDS, and leads policymakers to allow the Blood Ban to continue to survive and thrive.

  1. Fear of Contamination and Precedent

In the early 1980s, a blood contamination incident occurred in Canada when over 2,000 recipients of blood donations were infected with HIV, and more than 20,000 contracted hepatitis C (Inwood & Johns, 2014). In 1997, a report was delivered by The Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada. The examination into the disaster, often called the Krever Inquiry, was chaired by Justice Horace Krever and commissioned by the federal government. The Krever Inquiry had three main findings. Firstly, blood safety compromises were the result of poor communication between organizations responsible for disease detections and blood donation (Weinberg et al., 2002). Secondly, HIV detection technologies were not being approved fast enough in Canada. Lastly, the general public, especially MSM, were grossly uninformed on the risks of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis and lacked knowledge of prevention methods for the two diseases (Weinberg et al., 2002). Less than a year after the Inquiry’s publication, control over blood donation was mandated to a new organization––Canadian Blood Services––in order to reify actions that would resolve the Inquiry’s findings (Weinberg et al., 2002). Not long after the Inquiry’s publication, CBS officially banned MSM from donating blood. Their rationale was that MSM are more likely to have infected blood, and they did not want a repeat of the disaster of the previous decade. Thus, the Krever Inquiry, and CBS’ interpretation of it, are cited as a reason for the creation of the Blood Ban (Bauer, 2019).

The way CBS interpreted The Krever Inquiry and its severity caused the newly-founded organization to be reactive as opposed to proactive. The contamination disaster of the previous decade had rightfully sparked public fear and outrage. Therefore, in order to prevent the possibility of another contamination and scandal, CBS did everything in its power to shift the perception of the blood donation system from one of incompetence, to one that prioritized safety (Wilson, 2007). At the time of the large-scale contamination, HIV had only recently been discovered. As a result, testing had not yet been incorporated into the blood donation process and would not be until a few years later (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-b). Nonetheless, at the time of the Krever Inquiry, both HIV and hepatitis testing were much more advanced than before. The conditions that allowed for wide-scale contamination to occur no longer existed, yet CBS acted more cautiously than critics argued was necessary (Wilson, 2007). This overcautiousness resulted in the introduction of cost-ineffective and unnecessary measures to mitigate risk and increase safety (Wilson, 2007). The Blood Ban is one such measure. Every year, millions of perfectly healthy men are unable to donate blood to those who desperately need it. These overcautious and cost-ineffective measures have resulted in the rising cost of blood and have led to risk-averse mentalities that cause dissatisfaction with and distrust of the blood donation system (Wilson, 2007).

The exclusion of MSM to donate blood was legitimized by Justice Catherine Aitken of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice when she determined that public safety outweighs any form of discrimination that gay men may face as a result of the Blood Ban (Freeman vs. CBS, 2006). CBS is not deemed to be in violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms because concerns of health and safety are cited, in this case, as a reasonable priority over equality. Aitken offered this analysis as part of a ruling between CBS and Kyle Freeman––a man who was being sued by CBS for lying about having sex with another man on the pre-donation questionnaire and then proceeding to give blood (Freeman vs. CBS, 2006). Freeman countersued CBS stating that his human rights under Section 15 of the Charter protected him from discrimination on the grounds that his identity, and that they were being violated. Freeman lost and was ordered to pay $10,000 in damages for negligence of public safety (Hamilton Spectator, 2010). This was only one-tenth of the total that CBS had originally sought (Freeman vs. CBS, 2006). Aitken also ruled that CBS was not answerable to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms because it is not a government entity (The Globe & Mail, 2010). However, while CBS is its own organization, it works in conjunction with the public to receive donations, and with public hospitals to distribute donations. This point reinforces Krever’s findings that blood-donation organizations had poor communication; having the different parts of the same system answerable to different legislation can cause miscommunication and complications.

Ultimately, Aitken’s ruling perpetuated homophobic discrimination and the prominence of the Blood Ban by pitting safety concerns against equality rights. However, this dichotomy between safety and equality was created by CBS’ reaction to The Krever Inquiry. CBS automatically chose safety, reactivity, and cautiousness in the hope of never having to endure another contamination incident and scandal instead of a progressive and proactive response to satisfy both safety and equality rights. Nonetheless, as advanced technologies, research, detection methods, and policies have developed since the time of the 1980s contamination incident and the Krever Inquiry, perhaps it is time to reexamine the rationale for the Blood Ban, and end it once and for all (Wilson, 2007). The Blood Ban was instituted to regain a sense of trust from Canadian citizens and distance the blood donation system from a terrible and tragic scandal that impacted the lives of thousands (Wilson, 2007). However, now, forty years later, that incident is long in the past. All donated blood is thoroughly tested for HIV, hepatitis, and other blood diseases, and as a result, public confidence and trust have been restored (Wilson, 2007). As such, CBS’ priorities and the dichotomy between public safety and equality must be reexamined (Wilson, 2007).

In 2007, the CBS Board of Directors concluded that the Blood Ban should remain in effect, but more research should be undertaken on the topic (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-b). As a result, CBS launched the MSM Research Program and the MSM Research Grant Program. The programs aim “to ensure the generation of adequate evidence-based research for alternative screening approaches for blood or plasma donors, which could evolve the current deferral policy for MSM while maintaining the safety of the blood supply” (Canadian Blood Services, n.d.-c). Eventually, Judge Aitken in her infamous ruling called the lifelong ban unnecessary as she saw no scientific justification for its indefiniteness (The Hamilton Spectator, 2010). Thus, in 2011, shortly after Aitken’s ruling, CBS changed its policy to shorten the Blood Ban for the first time in its history. In the same year, on its fifteenth anniversary, CBS issued a statement stating that the organization had “evolved from being reactive…to proactive” (Canadian Blood Services, 2013). Over the past decade, CBS has reduced the Blood Ban from being indefinite, to five years (2011), one year (2016), and most recently three months (2019). Nonetheless, while CBS calls itself proactive and has reduced the Blood Ban over time, the history of contaminations, scandals, and an overly cautious mindset has rooted itself in policy and decision-making. Furthermore, although these reductions in ban lengths seem progressive, even the most recent––at three months––disregard the fact that accurate HIV testing can be done after only sixteen days. Thus, the impacts of Canada’s blood donation system’s unfortunate contamination history and the Krever Inquiry still exist and allow CBS to claim them as conditions that require the perpetuation of the Blood Ban.

  1. Delegitimizing Citizenship and Human Rights

The act of donation, in itself, is altruistic. CBS has used the slogan “it’s in you to give” to appeal to Canadians to take time out of their day to be generous and donate blood (Grace et al., 2019). However, ironically, CBS only wants specific people’s blood. The significance of blood as a literal lifeline has associated blood donation with good citizenship (Titmuss, 1970). People are not obligated to donate blood, yet, out of the goodness of their hearts, they donate to better the lives of others. As such, the Blood Ban's refusal of MSM blood donation exemplifies social exclusion––gay men are barred from a selfless process of civic involvement (Valentine, 2005). Thus, the Blood Ban excludes MSM from acting and, in fact, engaging in society as good citizens.

In her infamous ruling referenced earlier, Aitken claimed that blood donation was not a right, but a ‘gift’. While Section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms analogously protects against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, deeming blood donation a gift and not a right excludes it from protection. Critics of this ruling would argue that blood donation is an act of altruism, citizenship, and generosity that embodies the Canadian spirit. Thus, they argue that the law should view the ability to enact acts of altruism as a right (Bennett, 2009). Again, while donating blood is not mandatory for Canadians, the option to do so should exist for all healthy individuals. The exclusion to donate blood based on identity is a denial of one’s ability to be a good citizen and thus to an extent, a denial of citizenship itself (Grace, 2019). Unfortunately, this is not what the judicial system of Canada says. Aitken’s use of the word ‘gift’ removes the notion of human rights from the discourse of the Blood Ban. As a result, its existence has been easier to justify and prolong. The Blood Ban, therefore, acts to delegitimize the citizenship of and dehumanize MSM and the LGBTQ+ community. The Blood Ban unfairly targets a community and impacts a minority of people. Social forces and political actors allow this ban to exist without giving a second thought to minority rights. Instead, policymakers ensure that the rights of the non-MSM majority are not infringed upon. Less discriminatory systems, such as Italy’s blood donation policies, exist. Italy’s policies evaluate who is eligible to donate blood based on behaviour, not identity. Canada’s systems should also change to reflect disapproval of unsafe behaviour, and not homosexuality.

The act of delegitimizing citizenship feeds into the condition of historical and contemporary homophobia and stigma. As discussed earlier, homophobia became so systemic, governments were not concerned with acts of aggression towards HIV+ gay men. Another form of systemic homophobia and dehumanization emerges when governments and public health organizations restrict MSM from participating in good citizenship. In the aftermath of traumatic events such as 9/11 and the 2016 Orlando gay nightclub shooting, millions of Americans and Canadians rushed to blood banks to donate their blood (Weisberger, 2016). However, MSM were barred from doing so and were thus unable to give back to society. Even when their own community was impacted, in the case of Orlando, they could do little to help. The performance of blood donation is an opportunity that can give moral worth to an individual (Bennett, 2009). Legally, being a ‘good citizen entails going to jury duty and not murdering anyone. Yet, morally, a ‘good citizen’ can be difficult to define. The aspiration of going above and beyond to become that ‘good citizen’––by donating blood, for example––fosters harmonious, collaborative, and cooperative societies (Bennett, 2009). The exclusion of part of the population from trying to become good citizens diminishes the potential for a society to prosper (Bennett, 2009).

Citizens of a country are granted certain rights, freedoms, and protections by their government, its legislations, and its courts. The Canadian judicial system, through Judge Aitken, and CBS deny MSM the right to be good citizens as the MSM right to altruism––through blood donation––is lost. To CBS, good citizenship is an optional privilege and a gift––not a right. Homophobia and HIV/AIDS stigma allow the Blood Ban to exist and continue to delegitimize citizenship by denying the right to altruism. The Blood Ban thrives because homophobia and stigma still permeate the systems of governance, policy, and decision-making that oversee public health, safety, and human rights.


The Blood Ban is an example of institutionalized discrimination. Because CBS, a legitimate entity, excludes MSM from a very normal process, their discrimination is inappropriately rationalized and normalized. In fact, the non-discrimination and inclusion of MSM in the blood donation process can lead to legal and financial penalties, as proven in the case of Freeman vs. CBS. As such, the Blood Ban is authoritative and contributes to a compliance effect of Canadians accepting MSM discrimination without critical inquiry.

The histories of homophobia and stigma, unclear rationales, fear of blood contamination, an overly risk-averse mindset, and the delegitimization of citizenship, are all conditions that work independently and together to perpetuate the existence, survival, and livelihood of the Blood Ban. Today, the Blood Ban still thrives in Canadian policy, despite being the result of homophobia and undue stigma. To justify the policy, CBS refers to a history of contaminated blood and the Krever Inquiry even though all donated blood is tested for HIV/AIDS before it is distributed, and blood can be accurately tested after only sixteen days from the point of infection. CBS prioritizes unfounded safety concerns over equality and rights and creates a superfluous binary by pitting the two against each other. The Blood Ban’s existence continues to perpetuate fear, homophobia, and stigma against those living with HIV/AIDS because it restricts gay men from participating in an act that is open to most of the rest of the population. This segregates and others MSM from the rest of the population and excludes them from engaging in good citizenship and altruism. The Blood Ban thrives because CBS, the Canadian courts, and Canadian society allow it to.

Every few weeks, I get an email from CBS asking me to donate blood. They tell me that every year, millions need blood transfusions to live, and that I would be generously giving a gift and saving lives due to my rare blood type. Every email I receive is a slap in the face. They are asking me to save a life, but also proclaim that I cannot, because of the life I live and the lives I love. Hopefully, one day, I will be able to receive an email and not feel the urge to immediately delete it. Hopefully, one day, my blood won’t be seen as bad. Hopefully, one day, things will change.


Bauer, G. (2019, May 31). This Is Not Your Father's Gay Blood Ban Era. We're Overdue for a Comprehensive Reassessment. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,

Bennett, J.A. (2009) Banning Queer Blood Rhetorics of Citizenship, Contagion, and Resistance. University of Alabama Press. doi:10.1080/00335631003796693.

Canadian Blood Services. (n.d.-a). Window Period. studies indicate that this, period of about 16 days.

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Center for Disease Control. (1981) Pneumocystis Pneumonia--Los Angeles.

Fielstein, E.M., et al. (1992). AIDS Knowledge Among College Freshmen Students: Need for Education?. Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 18(1), 45–54. doi:10.1080/01614576.1992.11074039.

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Grace, D., et al. (2019). Gay and Bisexual Men’s Views on Reforming Blood Donation Policy in Canada: A Qualitative Study. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 1-14. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-7123-4.

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Robinson, R.K., & Frost D.M. (2018) The Afterlife of Homophobia. Arizona Law Review, 60(1), 213-289. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3210390.

Stulberg, I., & Smith M. (1988). Psychosocial Impact of the AIDS Epidemic on the Lives of Gay Men. Social Work, 33(3), 277-281. doi:10.1093/sw/33.3.277.

The Globe and Mail. (2010, Sept. 10). Blood Donation Is Benevolent, but Not a Right. The Globe and Mail,

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The Red Cross. (n.d.) Frequently Asked Questions - Eligibility - HIV, AIDS. The Red Cross.

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Weinberg, PD., et al. (2002, Feb. 19). Legal, Financial, and Public Health Consequences of HIV Contamination of Blood and Blood Products in the 1980s and 1990s. Annals of Internal Medicine, 136(4), 312-319. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-136-4-200202190-00011.

Weisberger, M. (2016, June 16). Calls Escalate for Lifting Blood Donor Ban on Men Who Have Sex with Men. Scientific American.

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