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China: Lesbians can now give blood

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – A Global Times report says China's ministry of health has lifted a 14-year-old ban that prevented lesbians from donating blood.

The new policy, which was due to take effect July 1, still bars men who are sexually active with other men from giving blood, according to the report.

Global Times quotes sexologist Li Yinhe as saying that the policy change is evidence that the country's views about homosexuals and AIDS has "progressed." But Li says gay men are still seen as a high-risk group. Because the country's awareness about homosexuality and AIDS occurred simultaneously, Li says, "the nation easily believed that being a homosexual equates to AIDS."

Xian, the director of an NGO that supports lesbians and bisexuals, also welcomes the policy change and says she's trying to coordinate group members to start giving blood. Xian says she wasn't aware that lesbians could not donate blood until she tried, but was barred from doing so, after the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan province. She says it was possible, even when the ban was in effect, for lesbians to donate blood if they didn't divulge their sexual orientation.

Landing image source: globaltimes.cn

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