The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (makes one think if health is only a concern of the patriarchal institution of family), claimed in a recent affidavit that the National Blood Transfusion Council had prescribed to exclude sex workers, transgender persons, and men having sex with men from being eligible to donate blood.
This affidavit was in response to a petition that has been pending in the Supreme Court for over 2 years now. The plea was from a transgender person from Manipur, Santa Khuria, who argued that these guidelines were unconstitutional as they discriminated based on gender identity and sexual orientation. It is also to be noted that it discriminates on the grounds of caste and professional line. Khuria is being represented by Anindita Pujari, who said that the guidelines violate Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 15 (right against discrimination) of the Indian Constitution, based on negative stereotypes prevailing in society about sex workers and transgender persons (thereby furthering them).
The Ministry also added that this was in the spirit of strengthening the ‘integrity of the blood transfusion system (BTS)’ and to ‘instil confidence’ in those who use it when requiring blood transfusion. They also insisted that this was being done in the interest of public health, and pointed out that many “advanced” countries used nucleic acid testing (NAT) to reduce the window period of transfusion-transmitted infections. Such infections (such as HIV) have been historically used to discriminate against the queer community’s access to healthcare – the Reagan administration treated the HIV epidemic in the US as a joke and had little to no response to it since the people who were affected by its spread were queer folx. In the absence of extensive NAT technology in India (there are only ~3866 blood banks using NAT, currently), the Ministry feels that these exclusionary guidelines offer the requisite protection.
Sounds like a load of scientism. In an era where startups and financial services are vying for the queer-rupee and pandering to our needs, this exclusion from the public health system is injustice. For all those who think the gay agenda is limited to marriage equality, take note.