China Allows Lesbian Blood Donors

The Chinese Ministry of Health lifted a 14-year ban on lesbians giving blood this week. The ban, which was enacted in 1998, was born out of a fear that donated blood could spread HIV and AIDS. Men who are sexually active with other men are still not allowed to donate blood, but celibate homosexuals can donate away. Xu Bin, a Chinese lesbian rights activist, tried to donate blood in after an earthquake in 2008 and was turned away because of the ban, prompting her to launch a crusade against the measure. "It's scientific that the policy doesn't mention homosexual identity but only fences off some who have certain sex behaviors, because AIDS is not caused by one's homosexual identity but improper sex behavior," she told the Global Times. "It is also our dignity and the elimination of blood donation discrimination."