I am impure. I am tainted. I am dangerous.
At least according to Canadian Blood Services, I am. Over the course of this past week, they have excitedly announced “groundbreaking” changes to their intake of blood from gay men; which now requires them to only abstain from any sex with other men for at least 1 year (down from 5-years). While this remains a thoroughly homophobic and blatantly discriminatory policy, I recently discovered that the “changes” are also systematically transphobic as well.
How, you ask?
In a statement made to Buzzfeed Canada, Canadian Blood Services pulled no punches at all when they acknowledged that they have every intention to knowingly, and methodically, misgender ALL trans people living in Canada based upon the sex that they were assigned-at-birth. The statement says: “Trans* donors who have not had gender-affirming genital surgery will be screened by their assigned birth sex. We recognize their assigned birth sex may be different than the gender with which they identify.”
So, hey, they recognize that trans people identify as a different gender than the one that society decided they should have. They just don’t really care. To them, you are your assigned birth sex, and that’s that.
That’s transphobia 101, folks.
Additionally, should a trans individual have a penis and find themselves in a relationship with somebody else who happens to have a penis, even if said trans person is a women then they are subject to the “men who have sex with men” clause. UNLESS they have had, or soon get, gender confirmation surgery AND they wait an obligatory 1-year period after said surgery.
Presumably, because Canadian Blood Services believes that trans blood belonging to somebody who has a penis will somehow magically meets their discriminatory criteria for acceptance only after their genitalia has been removed and it has been exactly 1-year since that surgery. Because… logic? I guess. This includes “all transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming identities.”
On his blog, Journey to James, advocate and author James Gardner explains what he had learned of the policy back in 2015:
“The edict, titled Credit Criteria, Procedure Number: CS01200v begins by categorizing transgender and transsexual donors separately. Transgender donors are described as, “identifying as opposite of birth gender, have not had gender reassignment surgery, and present documents that may reflect opposite gender.” Transsexual donors are those who have had “gender reassignment surgery (GRS)—genitalia consistent with gender they identify with.” They also must present documents that reflect gender reassignment.”
Under this edict, “transsexual” donors can give blood so long as they have all of the proper documentation proving that they have medically, surgically, and legally transitioned from one binary gender to the other. Because, again, apparently gender confirmation surgery is what makes your blood low-risk and desirable. Transgender donors… that’s a whole other game for Canadian Blood Services.
To summarize here, because this is so mind-numbingly awful that I’ve had to break it down over and over again: Canadian Blood Services is flat-out going to actively misgender you based upon your sex-assigned-at-birth and surgical status. I’m sure that all trans men, and gender diverse individuals assigned female-at-birth, will also be subjected to this crap. But, if you happen to be a trans woman, or a gender diverse individual, who has/had a penis and is in, or has been in, a relationship with somebody else who has/had a penis, then Canadian Blood Services is not only going to misgender you… they are also going to explicitly assume that you are actually a gay man who is obviously having sex with men.
“Wait, hold on, Nillin! I changed the sex designation on my government issued ID,” I hear you say.
Doesn’t matter, though.
Even if you are one of the lucky ones to live in a province that now allows you to change the sex designation on your photo ID without being required to undergo gender confirmation surgery, if a Canadian Blood Services worker suspects that you are transgender (ie; the sex on your ID and health cards don’t match) then you’re hooped. “Get out. We don’t want your blood.” Plain and simple: on top of all the ID changes, you HAVE to have the paperwork showing you have had gender confirmation surgery.
According to the National Press, Dr. Mindy Goldman insists that “for trans people who only have female partners, it will likely be a moot point.” That is to say, that if you are only with people who have vaginas then, apparently, you’re good.
But I call bullshit. We’ve all been down this road many, many times before. The whole gender policing thing has been going on for generations and right now it’s at its most dangerous and violent with all the trans panic in public washrooms.
I mean, lets be honest here… Canadian Blood Services essentially utilizes the Bathroom Bill equivalent of blood donor policies. Do you really think that staff isn’t going to make wildly subjective assumptions based upon how they perceive your sex? Because I’m positive that they will. In fact, I have heard/read countless experiences of them already doing so.
This makes me FURIOUS and it should make you feel furious too.
This is illogical, this is ignorant, this is discriminatory, this is stereotyping, this is homophobic, this is transphobic, and, frankly, this is inhumane.
I condemn this policy, completely.
There is nothing to celebrate here and with the Federal Liberal government fast tracking long overdue basic human rights and protections for trans Canadians, I expect… no, I DEMAND that Canadian Blood Services totally removes ALL discriminatory policies toward gender and sexually diverse donors.
I am tired of our involvement with society and our everyday lives coming with ignorant, prejudiced, disparaging, fear-based conditions, policies, and “rules”.
I am tired of being treated as impure, as tainted, as immoral, as less than everyone else.
We are NOT these things.
We are NOT inherently dangerous.
We deserve wayyyyyy better than this.
P.S. Don’t think that I don’t see you too, Health Canada. Educate yourselves and get your shit together.