Australia has one of the lowest blood donor rates in the world and regularly runs critically short of blood. There is a large group of potential donors who are blocked from giving. Gay men, bisexual men, transgender women and some non-binary people who have sex with men, are expected to abstain from sex for three months before giving blood because of outdated fears about HIV infection.

If those of us who are safe to give are allowed to, there will be an extra 25,000 litres of blood available for Australians in need.

Other countries like Britain, Canada and France have abandoned the antiquated bans based on the gender of your sexual partner. They have adopted a policy of individual risk assessment that screens all donors for the safety of their sexual activity.

The result has been blood supplies that are safer, more plentiful and less discriminatory. 

It’s time for Australia to follow their lead.


Let Us Give 2

Do you know Australian blood donation levels are at a dangerous low because of the pandemic?

Do you know that one in two donors are currently unable to give blood because they are either unwell or in isolation?

The Australian Red Cross Lifeblood Service is urgently seeking donors, rightfully reminding us all that “Australia Needs You”.

A lot of us do want to help. But because of outdated policies hundreds of thousands of potential donors cannot make it past the pre-donation screening stage.

Gay men cannot give blood unless we have been celibate for the last three months. It is the same for bisexual men, transgender women and some non-binary people who have sex with men.

No questions are asked to assess risk on a case-by-case basis. There is just an archaic general question: “are you a man and have you had sex with another man”.

I am a gay man. I have been in a monogamous relationship with my husband for 12 years. I want to help, but I can’t because even monogamous couples are seen as a threat.

In the UK, France, Germany, Canada and many other countries, blood donors are screened for their individual risk, regardless of the gender of their partner. The focus is on ensuring that donated blood is as safe as possible by screening all donors - gay and straight, cis and trans - for high risk practices, instead of barring an entire portion of the population.

Equality in blood donation is a win/win because it provides more safe blood for those in need and it removes archaic discrimination.

There are many more Australians like me who are aware of how much Australia needs our safe blood. We want to help, so please, let us.

Join this petition to ask Lifeblood Australia to stop asking generic and outdated screening questions and move to individual based risk assessment.

It’s time to stop wasting safe blood. Let us give.


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