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Gay men rejoice that they can finally donate blood

Frédéric Pécharman, coordinator of the Homodonneur collective, in Toulouse, March 23, 2022.

Frédéric Pécharman had been waiting for this day for thirteen years. Wednesday March 16 in front of the Maison du don in Toulouse, the founder of the Homodonneur collective is smiling. Today, he and all “men who have sex with men” (MSM) can donate blood, without conditions. “We were so impatient that we did it this morning! » he exclaims, coming with some members of the association he founded in 2009, after a bone marrow donation was refused.

Since 1983, blood donation was prohibited for so-called “MSM” men (gays, bisexuals, etc.). In 2016, a first opening authorized it, subject to sexual abstinence for one year. A period lowered to four months in 2019. It was in January that a decree officially announced the removal of any reference to the gender of sexual partners in the selection of donors.

Read also: Gay men will be able to donate blood without a period of abstinence

In Nice, Erwann Le Hô, president of the LGBTQIA+ Center of the Côte d’Azur, came to the opening of the Maison du don, becoming the first homosexual donor in the city. A gesture “multisymbolic” for this activist. “Since I was little, I have always seen my dad do it. But, at 71, he can no longer. This openness is like an authorization to take over.confides the one who was born in 1983, the year of the decree prohibiting him from giving blood.

“I felt left out”

In the early 2000s, when he tried to make this gesture for the first time, he was unaware of the ban imposed on “MSM” men. “After reading my file, the doctor answered me very curtly: ‘We’ll stop there!’ » remembers the Nice. He comes out of this interview ” crying “. This time he says he was “very well received” : “Some of the staff were as upset as I was! It shows that the years have passed. »

A week after the decree was implemented, Benoît (who did not wish to give his name), 37, was also there for a collection in the 10and district of Paris. “I gave regularly until I was 20 years old. Unfortunately, due to current legislation, I had to stop”he says, his snack in hand. “I heard about the opening of the donation to homosexuals. That’s why I came here today, for the first time since 2004.” confides in a half-word this Francilien, happy to be able to again ” save lives “.

Damien Testu has been waiting since 2013 to be able to donate blood without lying about his sexual orientation.  In Paris, March 24, 2022.

Damien Testu, 27, plans to donate blood ” At the beginning of April “. Arrived in Paris in 2013, where donation centers are easily “accessible”he would have liked to accomplish this ” Homework “ citizen a long time ago. The question creates debates in his entourage, all orientations combined: “Some gay friends went against the ban, hid their identity, because they considered it more important to give. » He refrains, refusing to ” lie “ on its direction. “I saw the prevention campaigns of the French Blood Establishment [EFS] who repeated that there was a huge need. It revolted me. I felt left out. While we are talking about health, something where we should be as inclusive as possible”he judges.

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