Armstrong says more needs to be done for achieve full LGBT+ equality

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said while the lifting of the gay blood ban is welcome, more needs done to achieve full equality for LGBT+ people.

Strangford MLA Ms Armstrong was speaking as the policy change, which had been announced earlier this year by the Health Minister, came into effect today (Thursday). It means men who haven’t had sex with other men within the past 12 months will be free to donate blood.

However, Ms Armstrong said the fact the repealing of the ban only applied to men who hadn’t had sexual contact with another man within the past year was not true equality.

“The blood ban was lifted in England, Scotland and Wales five years ago, so for gay men in Northern Ireland to suffer discrimination since then due to the prejudices of one political party is totally unacceptable. Therefore, the repeal of the ban is a welcome move.

“However, to only allow celibate gay men to donate is still a major form of discrimination which reinforces negative stereotypes about gay men in particular. It only feeds into the absurdity which surrounded the blood ban in the first place.

“Repeal of the ban is certainly a good first step but that is precisely all it is – a first step. More needs to be done to achieve full equality and I would urge the Minister to look at the evidence and take the rest of those steps immediately.”

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