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Moving ahead of
U.S., Russia removes gay blood ban

Moving ahead of
U.S., Russia removes gay blood ban

Moving ahead of countries like the United States, France, and England, Russia is lifting its ban on gay male blood donors, the country's ministry of health and general prosecutor announced Monday.

Russian gay activists from the group Project GayRussia lobbied for the change in a letter sent to officials in May. On September 14, 2001, the minister of health announced that gays would be lumped together with drug addicts and prostitutes as groups at high risk for HIV and therefore would not be permitted to donate blood.

"The general prosecutor recognized that there is nothing in the law which prevents gays from donating their blood," Nikolai Alekseev of Project GayRussia told the U.K. gay advocacy group OutRage! "This is probably the first positive gain for gay Russians since 1993, which saw the decriminalization of male homosexuality."

According to OutRage! the health minister for France announced that his country is taking steps to lift the prohibition on gay blood donors as well.

Russia, which recently hosted the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, still has a long way to go to catch up with gay rights advances in other Western nations, however. In May, Moscow officials refused to sanction a pride parade in that city, although activists defied them and marched through the streets despite the lack of a permit. (The Advocate)

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