Gay blood donor activists arrested in Russia

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Activists in Moscow have been arrested for protesting against Russia’s ban on gay men donating blood.

Seven of the ten protesters were detained by police last Friday following a reportedly peaceful protest outside the Russian Health Ministry.

Although all donations are screened, Russian law prevents gay men from donating much needed blood as they are considered to be most at risk of sexually transmitted diseases, listing them alongside prostitutes and drug dealers.

Moscow Gay Pride organiser Nicolas Alexeyev led the protest last week.

He claims the law is discriminatory and told Russia Today that the health service was “stopping people giving blood for reasons that are incomprehensible.”

Gay men are still prevented from giving blood in the UK and in other parts of Europe, despite recent campaigns by students and young people.

A petition presented to the Prime Minister by James J Walsh, a former LGBT officer for the National Union of Students, earlier this year contained 5,236 signatures against the ban.

Portugal began accepting donations from people regardless of their sexual orientation last year and France has lifted its ban.

Donations from gay men are under review in Sweden and banned in the USA, despite recent Red Cross campaigns.

There is no ban in Spain and Italy and in Australia donations are accepted from gay men who have not had sex in the last year. In South Africa this is reduced to six months.

Nicolas Alexeyev is currently the focus of a criminal investigation after he outed a Russian MP on live television.

The charges arise from comments he made in June, when he said politician Alexander Cheuv as a closet homosexual.