The DUP Health Minister of Northern Ireland Edwin Poots has put a prejudiced 'lifelong ban' on gay men donating blood in Northern Ireland. This type of prejudice should not be tolerated, we want to let the Health Minister know that his view that being gay is 'unnatural' is wrong and he cannot allow religious bias to enter the world of politics.
If you'd like to write a letter to the Health Minister voicing your view on this the address is:
Edwin Poots Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety Room C5.10 Castle Buildings Stormont Estate Belfast BT4 3SQ
This type of injustice must be fought as despite growing pressure he has still refused to lift the ban.
Dear Edwin Poots,
We the signatories, put forth our opposition to your ban on gay blood donors in the form of this petition. We collectively believe that it is based on prejudice rather than scientific validity and ask that you seriously reconsider your decision.
The risk of a patient receiving HIV infected blood should always be 0% as, according to yourself and Blood Services Northern Ireland, all blood is screen before donation anyway, so we believe that there is merely a prejudiced bias to your ban. This is further justified by your various comments about homosexuality as being both 'unnatural' and 'deviant' which we the signatories demand a formal apology for, as these comments were deeply offensive to Northern Ireland's gay community. Northern Ireland is a country which has struggled for decades with the negative associations of sectarianism and violence, and at this time of peace and progress we ask you not to add homophobia to this list of associations and allow Northern Ireland to continue its evolution into a more equal and peaceful society.
The rest of the UK has allowed gay men the right to donate blood and as the DUP is a faithful Unionist party, we the signatories, ask you and your party to follow in their progressive footsteps. We ask you to truly listen to the voices of opposition coming from Northern Ireland's political community, such as Sue Ramsey of Sinn Fein who rightly pointed out that at a time of such chronic blood shortages, whereby Northern Ireland has had to import blood from the rest of the UK, where the ban does not apply, only represents the most urgent evidence for the need to lift the ban. And as Kieran McCarthy of the Alliance Party pointed out by continuing your ban you are denying gay men their "human rights".
Despite scientific evidence being presented via the Nolan Show to illustrate the ludicrousness of the ban, your office has not released the 'scientific evidence' that you argue so avidly for in defence of your ban. Your vagueness on the nature of this 'evidence' only serves to highlight your lack of proper scientific validity in relation to this ban.
We ask that you take time to read through various comments left by the signatories on this petition, as it will enforce to you the negative effect this ban is having not only on yourself and your policies but also the DUP as a whole. We ask you to be the beacon for change, you will not be Health Minister for ever, and eventually you will be replaced by a more progressive substitute, but in the interim people are in dire need of blood transfusions and we ask you not to endanger their lives further by limiting the amount of perfectly healthy people that can donate blood, and we ask you not to endanger ill patients across the rest of the UK by redirecting blood away from them.
Keep up the great work. Look what you've accomplished!
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