The Brazilian Supreme Court has repealed the laws that limited homosexuals and bisexuals to donate blood, in a decision considered a human rights victory for the LGBT+ public in the South American country.
The move came after many countries revised restrictions on blood donations during the AIDS / HIV crisis in the 1980s of the last century, in which some countries imposed blanket bans, some waiting times after sex, and others, such as Italy, have no limitations.
After nearly four years in court, seven of the eleven Supreme Court justices voted on Friday to repeal guidelines that forbade men from giving blood for 12 months after having sex with another man and thus ending any waiting time.
The Supreme Court considers the current restrictions unconstitutional
The Supreme Court said the current ban was unconstitutional for imposing restrictions on gay and bisexual men, thus backing Supreme Court Minister Edson Fachin who argued that the restriction offended their basic human dignity.
“Instead of the state disabling these people from promoting the good by donating blood, it undoubtedly restricted solidarity based on prejudice and discrimination,” Fachin wrote in his vote.
This decision comes after several nations have relaxed the rules regarding blood donation in recent weeks as blood banks were in great need of donors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
AIDS caused these restrictions in the 80s
The United States, Denmark and Northern Ireland have changed the rules in which men could give blood three months after their last homosexual encounter when until now they had to wait a year, a policy that LGBT + organizations have long denounced as discriminatory.
Many countries introduced blood donation controls in the wake of the HIV / AIDS epidemic in the 1980s when infected blood, donated by drug addicts and prisoners, contaminated supplies.
But the problem increasingly became a continuing stigma totem against LGBT + people, and activists claim that individual assessments of sexual history and risk for all potential blood donors would be safer and fairer.
The case has been in the Brazilian Supreme Court since 2016
In Brazil, the case reached the Supreme Court in 2016, but it took until 2020 to reach the majority. Minister Alexandre de Moraes, one of the four who voted against overthrowing the ban imposed by the Ministry of Health, argued that the waiting period was not discriminatory but based on technical studies.
For LGBT + activists, the ruling was celebrated as a victory in a country where same-sex marriage is legal but LGBT + people often face discriminatory government policies.
“A historic victory for the LGBT population! And the measure benefits everyone who needs donations, as blood reserves are almost always insufficient,” wrote federal policy Samia Bomfim on Twitter after the decision.