Gay man sues over blood donation

16:36, July 01, 2010      

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A gay editor is making Chinese legal history by becoming the first person to sue Beijing Red Cross Blood Center (BRCBC) for refusing his blood. The case is now waiting to be filed at the Beijing higher people's court.

The editor, named Wang Zizheng (his pen name), tried to donate blood at Xidan Books Building on June 6. He replied he was gay in the health questionnaire and was told he was not qualified to be a donor by officers from BRCBC.

"We don't suggest homosexuals, both gays and lesbians, donate their blood, as a precaution for the receivers," said an officer from BRCBC. "We are following the health standard for blood donors issued by the Ministry of Health."

Wang felt he was being discriminated against.

"What is wrong with homosexuals?"

Li Yilong, an advisor from Home of Red Ribbon, the first registered social group in Beijing dedicated to caring for AIDS patients, said Wang's blood was refused because the majority of the public still perceives homosexuals as a high-risk group for HIV/AIDS.

"There is a 'window period' for HIV/AIDS, when the person carries HIV but the virus cannot be detected in tests. It is still a contagious period," Li said.

Lu Jun, director of Beijing Yirening Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting social justice, said refusing homosexuals' blood donations is based on a "lack of scientific principles".

"The standard targets people's identities rather than their behavior, which is not scientific," said Lu.

"High-risk groups for HIV/AIDS are not homosexuals, but are people with multiple sex partners and those who have recently received blood."

About a year ago, Li Yinhe, a pioneer in the field of human sexuality research in China, criticized the behavior of refusing homosexuals' blood donations, after a lesbian's blood was refused in July 2009.

She said the rate of HIV/AIDS cases infected through heterosexual sex (37.9 percent in 2007) far exceeded that of homosexuals (3.3 percent in 2007), which made it more reasonable to prohibit heterosexual blood donations.

"Lesbians bear a much lower risk of HIV/AIDS than heterosexuals according to statistics," she said in her blog. "It is even more ridiculous to ban lesbians from blood donation."

Huang Yizhi, Wang Zizheng's attorney, said homosexuality is just a proclivity and does not necessarily mean sexual behaviors.

"Homosexuals may not have sex," Huang said.

She appeared quite confident of winning the case if it is filed.

"It will already be a big victory if the case is filed, because this is the first one in China."

Wang Zizheng, the plaintiff in the case, said he just hoped the public could treat homosexuals in a more rational way.

"I agree with having restrictions on homosexuals; it is just they have to be scientific," he said. He asked for a public apology from BRCBC and wanted to donate his blood again .

"For thousands of homosexuals in China, someone has to stand out," he said.

Source: China Daily(By Wu Wencong)


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