Thursday, August 7, 2008

Red Cross Accused Of Gay Discrimination

An Australian gay man from Tasmania is accusing the Red Cross of discrimination for refusing to allow him to donate blood.

Michael Cain has begun his case in the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal in Hobart.

Mr Cain launched his fight in 2005 after the Launceston blood collection centre in Tasmania refused his offer to donate blood. The reason for the refusal, he said, was because he had been in a sexual relationship with another man in the previous year.

The very strict policy of the Red Cross is to defer such donors for 12 months.

Mr Cain says "donors should be screened for the safety of their sexual practices, not the gender of their partners."

Mr Cain's lawyer, Peter Tree, told the tribunal it was a straightforward case of direct discrimination against his client on the basis of sexual orientation and lawful sexual activity. He said to screen on the basis of sexual orientation rather than the nature of sexual activity was illogical and medically flawed.

The Red Cross are yet to respond to the tribunal with their opening statements - let's see what they come back with.


Under Australian discrimination laws, I think that the Australian Red Cross actually has a case to answer here. It is well known (and proven) that sexually transmitted diseases (including AIDS) are not restricted to the gay community. In fact, globally, the number of heterosexual people becoming infected with HIV as a result of unsafe sex is trending very poorly compared to the trends within the gay community (the alarming statistics are due predominately to available education on sexually transmitted diseases).

Also, being gay does not infer promiscuity. Therefore, to place a gay man that may have had one long-term partner for a number of years in a higher-risk category than that of a heterosexual person that may have slept with a dozen different partners leading up to blood donation, does not make sense at all. In fact, it almost makes for a clear-cut discrimination law-suit and victory for the plaintiff.

I doubt however, that such a law-suit would stand up in Singapore courts due to the open and accepted discrimination against the gay community of the so-called 'conservative' pocket of society, the Government's stand on homosexuality and homosexual acts, and of course the governing laws (specifically section 377A).

Perhaps this is why discrimation of other sorts (racial, religious etc) are covered under the Sedition Act in Singapore as opposed to discrimination laws designed to protect all minorities.

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Anonymous said...

good on him. could never happen in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Fact: The HIV infection rate amongst gays is disproportionately high.

Fact: Gays tend to engage in risky sexual behaviour.


Anonymous said...

Given the facts mentioned as above, it is in no way a clear victory for the plaintiff at all.

Also, the issue at hand is regarding blood donation. This concerns the health of other people. This case is not the same as refusing to hire somebody because he's gay.

Anonymous said...

I think that the HIV virus, like some medicine, penetrates better through the back.

BTW, why is he so desperate to donate his blood? Like that also wanna sue?

Aussie Pete said...

FACT - globally, the increase in "trend" (per my article) of HIV infections in heterosexuals is increasing disproportianately to the trend in homosexuals (one trend is going up, one going down). You can google this as much as you like, and will find the same result in most countries around the world. It is no secret that pre-2005 per the CDC study attached that in the US, the highest % of HIV infected people were gay. This is what has led to the incorrect belief (and discrimination) that AIDS is a disease for gay people - we must teach our children differently now, lest they will fall victim to this disease.

Brief stats on the trend in Canada as one example:


I agree 100% this is a health issue (of other people). A person who is not promiscuous and has one long-term sex partner should be deemed safer than a person have sex with multiple partners. Regardless of whether the donor is gay - this is exactly the point.

Unknown said...

to the two anonymous posts above (11 aug) you may have correct facts, but your logic is wrong.

The fact is that there is also a proportion (however large or small) of heterosexual people who engage in similar risky behaviour (unprotected sex, multiple (and often unknown HIV status) partners).

The plaintiff's argument is that no screening is being done to prevent those heterosexuals.

What I don't get is that surely they test the blood before it's deemed safe for hospital use? Wouldn't they pick up any HIV status in that stage?

Michael Cain said...

Hi Guys. Today the verdict was handed down on my case and the decision was against me. The Red Cross have upheld their right to discriminate. While this is a setback it's not the end. I urge you to visit my website www.gayblooddonation.org and/or email me for comments or questions: mike.cain@bigpond.com

Aussie Pete said...

Hello Michael - we wish you well in your continued battle with this. The article here was covered on a local forum in Singapore at the time, and there was much debate (both for and against your cause) - homosexuality in Singapore is still a very hotly discussed topic, with the debate on 'Article 377A' and the recent 'Pink Dot' gathering making news regularly, and many people with very passionate views on both sides.

Regardless of the 'kind' of publicity, I think it is all good for awareness - next is education.