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Student activists speak out to Canadian Blood Services about blood donation policy

November 26th, 2015

On December 3, 2015, students from the University of Waterloo will be speaking out at the Canadian Blood Services Open Board Meeting in Toronto. Young activists from The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity, a student-run service operated by the Federation of Students, want all men who have sex with men to be able to donate blood.

Currently, only men who haven’t had sex with other men in the last five years are accepted as donors. The Glow Centre is the oldest organization of its kind for students in Canada, and its passionate volunteers are eager to make their voices heard at the meeting to hopefully influence a change.

“With the newly-announced Trudeau cabinet, there is the opportunity for change including for those in the LGBTQ community,” said Shari Brown, a fifth-year psychology major and Glow’s advocacy director. “In 2013, Canadian Blood Services amended the policy that prevented men who have sex with men from giving blood, to its current one. However, even when this change was implemented, it was still criticized as baseless and seen by many as a continuation of negative stereotyping of gay men. This policy needs to be reviewed. Any policy that results in men who have sex with men being subject to any more restrictions than other Canadian citizens is unacceptable.”

The group will be speaking at 3:30 p.m. during the meeting.

According to Joel Le Forestier, third-year social development & business major and coordinator for Glow, the centre is also planning to do work to draw attention to issues such as the high rates of suicide and youth homelessness among the LGBTQ community.

“This government has an opportunity to reestablish and cement Canada’s legacy of global leadership in LGBTQ equality,” said Le Forestier. “Canada’s queer and trans individuals are waiting to see that.”

About The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity

Proudly governed by the Federation of Students since 1971, The Glow Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity is the longest continuously running queer and trans student organization in Canada. It is run entirely by student volunteers, and provides a safe, confidential space for undergraduates at the University of Waterloo to explore issues of sexuality and gender. For more information, please visit Feds.ca.

About the Federation of Students

Since 1967, the Federation of Students (Feds) has been the voice of undergraduate students at the University of Waterloo. Feds undertakes initiatives both on and off campus to serve, empower and represent students. Feds operates seven commercial services, nine student-run services, oversees over 200 student clubs and societies and Orientation Week. For more information, please visit Feds.ca.