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John Hancocks go to Parliament Hill

Two student petitions protest gay organ donor ban

A LIVER IS A LIVER. Joshua Ferguson of Standing Against Queer Discrimination helped organize a protest against Canada's discriminatory organ donor policy Feb 26 on Parliament Hill. Credit: (Brent Creelman photo)

Two Ontario universities parked their protest on the Hill with big petitions signed by both gay and straight students.

In December, new rules that limit gay men’s ability to be organ donors ignited university campuses across Canada. The regulations disqualify a man who has had sex with another man even once in the past five years from donating organs.

Those men may still donate organs if doctors and recipients to go through a special “exceptional distribution” process — certifying that they are aware of the risk involved in using organs from a gay man.

Last week, New Democrat MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis tabled 1068 signatures, collected by the Carleton University’s GLBTQ Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity.

Gay New Democrat Bill Siksay is expected to table an additional 1600 John Hancocks Apr 16, courtesy of a two-day blitz at Western in March.

In a letter to supporters, one of Western’s key agitators hinted that more action is planned to fight Canada’s organ donor policy. Joshua Ferguson is the director of Standing Against Queer Discrimination (SAQD).

“Thank you for helping us change this regressive and discriminatory policy,” he writes. “I look forward to our near-future advocacy efforts to push forward with all of you and stimulate some changes to abolish forms of queer discrimination in Canada.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Dias of Jer’s Vision recently announced that it and SAQD had secured a meeting with Canadian Blood Services on May 6th in Ottawa to talk about the policy.

“Canadian Blood Services is sending a dangerous message to Canadians by banning gay blood. Not only are they facilitating in the death of our brothers and sisters by ignoring viable donors, but they are also participating in institutionalizing discrimination,” says Dias in a Apr 13 press release.

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