On Wednesday March 14th, Clayre Sessoms, a transgender woman, was denied as she tried to donate blood. The reason for her denial is unclear, as Canadian Blood Services has stated they do not exclude any persons based on gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Even though Clayre met the criteria for a donation and had previously donated blood after her transition, when she went to a clinic in Vancouver, she was told by a nurse, "you have to wait, you can't donate blood today."
The exchange with the nurse was reported to CBC:
Sessoms: "So you're deferring me because I'm transgender?"
Nurse: "We have to get a special form. You're not like deferred like you can never donate, we just have to have a special form."
Sessoms: "That just seems very discriminatory."
When asked for a comment, a spokesperson for Canadian Blood Services provided a statement that said, in part, "Any transsexual or transgendered individual is screened at our blood donor clinics according to the same standard eligibility criteria we use for all blood donors. In certain cases, a donor with a complex medical history may be referred to one of our medical staff for further assessment. This procedure is in place to protect both the donor and the patient."