American Red Cross Allowing Blood Donors To Self-Declare Sex

Concerns have been raised about adjustments to the eligibility criteria for people to donate blood to The American Red Cross, which is now allowing donors to self-declare their biological sex.

According to the American Red Cross website, the organization says it “understand[s] that there is a difference between biological sex and gender,” but goes on to clarify that the Red Cross is following the recommendations of the FDA to determine donor eligibility on the basis of self-declared sex, as opposed to biological sex of the potential donors.

This change would allow a homosexual or bisexual male to present at the clinic and self-describe himself as “female” or “trans” and be exempted from the 3-month deferral typically associated with males who actively engage in sexual activity with other males. This may pose a risk to both the Red Cross staff, the donor, and the viability of blood donations.

Previously, there were certain restrictions on donations based on the sex and sexual orientation of prospective donors. On their website, the Red Cross defers to the FDA in decision making, and claims it “recognizes the hurt this policy has caused to many in the LGBTQ+ community” and is pushing for change. Eligibility rules are gradually being removed though some still remain.

Specific criteria for men who have sex with men (MSM) was created due to the higher rates transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases amongst gay and bisexual males. As a result, men are restricted from donating if they have had sex with another man within a 3-month period. Lesbians are exempted from this deferral, as are bisexual women contingent on the sexual behavior of a male partner.

A member of the Reduxx team called the Red Cross Donor and Client Support Center posing as a biological male who identified as a woman to check eligibility requirements. When the agent was asked if a person “assigned male at birth” who was actively having sex with other biological males was able to donate blood, he responded that so long as the potential donor self-declared their sex as “female,” they would be allowed.

“If you identify as a female… if you answer the question as a female, anything that’s going to come up– regarding the transgenderism… is not going to apply,” the agent stated, after consulting with his managerial team for several minutes.

Similarly under the rules, females who identify as “men” and who have sex with biological males or other females who identify as “men” are ineligible and subject to the 3-month deferral.

Males who identify as “female” and have sex with other males who identify as “female” are eligible to donate under the lesbian guidelines.

The policy of self-identification applies to all forms of blood, plasma, and platelet donation, which contradicts The Red Cross’ weight and height requirements for donors on the basis of sex. Regular donors are also allowed to have information on their sex changed upon verbal confirmation, which the Red Cross perplexingly claims is for the sake of “donor safety and accuracy of records.” Individuals do not need to declare that they are transgender.

Commentators have highlighted the logical inconsistency of allowing donations on the basis of self-identified “sex,” with others on social media expressing concern about safeguarding the blood supply.

Evolutionary biologists Heather E. Heying and Bret Weinstein recently blasted the guidance on a recent episode of their podcast, breaking down the policy.

“So all you would have to do if wanted to donate blood and thus potentially corrupt the blood supply, is walk in… and so long as you have not tried this before and admitted you’re actually a man, and [say] ‘nope, I’m a woman,’ they will let you donate blood,” Heying explains after reading through the Red Cross website.

“It’s the ultimate proof that this entire societal disorder — whatever it is — amounts to the prioritization of the perceptual world over reality,” Weinstein comments.

“… and then it’s the prioritization of the perceptional world of mentally ill people,” Heying adds.

According to the Red Cross, there is a “window” of time during which blood donation screening may not detect the presence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The window is “an approximate period of 7 to 10 days” for men who are not taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or other antiretroviral medications. Other infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis C, may take up to a week to become detectable in donated blood.

The CDC recently reported that a multi-year study of trans-identified males living in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle found that 42% of respondents were positive for HIV.

When approached by Reduxx with an inquiry as to its policy, the American Red Cross directed us to the FDA guidance, which prompted the eligibility change, a link to their LGBT eligibility page, and to a recently-updated “American Red Cross Statement on FDA MSM Deferral Policy” which describes how the policies surrounding donor eligibility may be changed in the near future.

“The American Red Cross seeks to build an inclusive environment that embraces diversity for all those who engage with our lifesaving mission. As such the Red Cross believes blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation and is committed to working with partners toward achieving this goal.”

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Bryndís Blackadder

Bryndís is a contributing journalist at Reduxx with a focus on free speech and the law. She lives in Scotland, where she enjoys creating documentaries, multimedia art, and advocating for human rights.

Bryndís Blackadder
Bryndís Blackadder
Bryndís is a contributing journalist at Reduxx with a focus on free speech and the law. She lives in Scotland, where she enjoys creating documentaries, multimedia art, and advocating for human rights.