×
Trans man told he can't donate blood unless he identifies as 'female' on his paperwork

Trans man told he can't donate blood unless he identifies as 'female' on his paperwork

A staff member reportedly wrote down "gender at birth is female" on the man's paperwork and embarrassed him in front of others in the busy clinic when he pointed out the mistake.

A trans man trying to donate blood in Virginia says he was forced to identify as female on his intake form by a staff member at the facility. A front desk employee at an Inova Health System facility reportedly wrote down "gender at birth is female" on the man's paperwork and embarrassed him in front of others in the busy clinic when he pointed out the mistake to them. The employee is said to have underlined the phrase and while repeatedly telling him out loud that he must be listed by his birth gender on the paperwork. Speaking to ABC 4 Washington about the September 22 incident, the man asked not to be identified as he's still working through the demoralizing experience.

 



 

 

"When you try to fight back, sometimes it just doesn't work," he said. "They're too big or too powerful, and in this case, it happened, and I said, 'I'm tired, I'm tired.'" The man revealed that he stayed and donated blood even after the disturbing incident as he believes it is important to do so right now. "I was angry," he said. "I kept thinking about the next trans person walking in there that does not deserve that. I know if it was me three years ago, this would be a different story. I'm strong enough now to do this."

 



 

 

Benjamin Brooks, a policy director with the Whitman Walker Institute, pointed out that "section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which contains its nondiscrimination provisions, protects people from this kind of treatment when they receive medical care." Meanwhile, Britt Walsh — director of Gender Affirming Care at Whitman Walker — says it's about training. "Knowing when you don’t need to ask those questions and under what circumstances you would need to," they said. "The true difference it can make in one person’s day, to not put us through such a degrading experience in front of a room full of people. I feel that shouldn’t have to be said, but here we are."

 



 

 

In a statement to the publication, Inova Health System expressed regret for the behavior of its staff. "We deeply regret that one of our valued blood donors had a negative experience at one of our centers. It is always our intention to respect the privacy of each of our donors, and we believe they deserve a comfortable, respectful, and positive experience," it said in the statement. "We welcome and value the diverse community of donors whose generosity helps to keep our shelves stocked with much-needed, life-saving blood. We hold our team members to the highest standards and will use this as an opportunity to better train our team members and improve our processes."

 



 

 

According to Insider, there is no existing policy that requires trans people to put down the gender they were assigned at birth. The US Food and Drug Administration, which changed its guidelines to be more inclusive of transgender blood donors in 2018, strongly advises facilities to permit people to self-identify their gender on their blood donation paperwork instead of using their sex assigned at birth. Following the FDA policy change, the American Red Cross — which provides 40 percent of transfused blood in the US — also stopped requiring facilities to ask trans donors for their assigned gender.

 

 



 

 

Prior to this long-overdue change in policy, it was common for blood donors in the trans community to be asked to misgender themselves on forms and sometimes even use their "dead-name," which can be very emotionally traumatic and anxiety-inducing for trans folks. This in turn discouraged them from donating blood so as to avoid having to go through such emotionally draining experiences. On the other hand, the FDA still requires non-binary and gender non-conforming people to self-identify as "male" or "female" on forms and LGBTQIAP+ advocates are currently pushing back against the policy.

Recommended for you