By Kylie Noble, editor @noble_kylie
QUB LGBT+ Society have begun campaigning for an end to the gay blood ban in Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion Service were in the Space today (Monday 20th October) and will be present tomorrow.
QUB LGB+ Society have chosen to campaign for an end to the gay blood ban on the days Northern Ireland Blood Transfusion are present in the Student’s Union.
President of QUB LGBT+, Conor McFall spoke to The Gown about the reasons behind the campaign.
“We’re running the campaign today and tomorrow because the Blood Transfusion Service are in Queen’s, so we feel that it’s a good chance for us to raise the issue of the blood ban against men who have sex with men in Northern Ireland. The campaign is very much centered around the idea that we want to encourage as many people to donate as possible, because we aren’t able to. Having spoke even just to friends about this issue, it’s remarkable how many people aren’t aware of the ban. We found that with many people we spoke too today. Once people found out, they were pretty shocked and thought it was ridiculous. So that goes to show that we can garner a lot of support if we make people aware of the issue.”
At the end of the first day of QUB LGBT+ collecting signatures, over 270 people had signed the petition.
VP Equality and Diversity Caoímhe Mac Néill has took the issue on as one for the SU to campaign on, in launching an on-line petition on change.org.
The petition is titled ‘Lift the lifetime ban which prevents MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) from donating blood in Northern Ireland.
The petition states that, “Last year a High Court judge ruled that the Northern Ireland Health Minister did not have the power to keep an “irrational” lifetime ban, and had also breached the ministerial code by failing to take the issue before the Stormont Executive.QUBSU alongside the QUB LGBT+ Soc are calling on the Health Minister to action to lift this “irrational” ban and allow MSM to donate blood in Northern Ireland.”
Ms Mac Néill intends to pass the petition onto Health Minister Jim Wells on behalf of the student body.