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Brazil Kills Ban on Gay and Bi Men Donating Blood

Men kissing at Brazil pride.

The tide seems to be turning.

Not long ago, the notoriously queerphobic Hungary threw out its discriminatory ban that kept men who have sex with men from donating blood and plasma. Now Brazil has followed suit. The South American country overturned the guidelines in a ruling by its supreme court on Friday

Bans against gay and bisexual men donating blood were mostly implemented during the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s. Since then, modern medical advancements, as well as research, have revealed that bans against these men have no scientific basis. As the ongoing global pandemic has progressed, blood donations, in general, have dropped significantly causing some countries to re-examine these guidelines. Elsewhere, queer men who have recovered from the novel virus have fought to donate their antibody-rich plasma for studying.

In Brazil, a case surrounding the ban has been in court for four years. According to The Guardian, seven of 11 justices voted in favor of overturning the guidelines which, at the time, had banned sexually active queer men for 12 months from their last sexual contact. The ruling called the ban unconstitutional.

"Instead of the state enabling these people to promote good by donating blood, it unduly restricts solidarity based on prejudice and discrimination," supreme court minister Edson Fachin wrote. Brazil joins countries like Italy, and most recently Hungary, who have no ban.

Elsewhere in the Americas, both the United States and Canada maintain three-month waiting periods. The U.S. reduced its guideline from 12 months to three last month but organizations like GLAAD urge the Food and Drug Administration to do away with it entirely.

"This is a victory for all of us who raised our collective voices against the discriminatory ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood," GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis wrote in a statement at the time. "The FDA's decision to lower the deferral period on men who have sex with men from 12 months to three months is a step towards being more in line with science but remains imperfect. We will keep fighting until the deferral period is lifted and gay and bi men, and all LGBTQ people, are treated equal to others."

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