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Transgender woman sues Mpls. plasma company for refusing to let her donate

  • Article by: Paul Walsh
  • Star Tribune
  • November 5, 2013 - 11:25 AM

 

Armed with a state ruling in her favor, a transgender woman in Minneapolis contends in a federal lawsuit that a plasma collection ­service discriminated against her when it barred her from donating.

“You people can’t give plasma,” Lisa A. Scott allegedly was told by a CSL Plasma nurse, according to her suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigated the CSL outlet on Washington Avenue SE. and found that the for-profit company discriminated against Scott because of her sexual orientation in 2008 when the nurse told her that she was disqualified.

CSL told state investigators that it has a policy forbidding transsexuals from donating plasma, even though “there are no federal laws prohibiting transsexuals from plasma donation,” the state agency’s findings noted.

For decades, sexual activity between men has been a disqualifier in the United States for donating blood or blood components because of the risk of transmitting the AIDS virus. But pressure is increasing to loosen that prohibition. Rallies were held last summer in 50 cities, including Minneapolis, calling for a change in the rules.

Discrimination involving transgender people attempting to donate plasma and blood “is happening throughout the country,” said attorney John Klassen, who is joined by Andrew Muller and the nonprofit Gender Justice  law firm in representing Scott in this case.

The CSL location on Washington Avenue referred calls for reaction to a corporate spokesman who did not immediately return calls. CSL is based in Boca Raton, Fla., and has three locations in Minnesota.

Scott, who had gender reassignment surgery in 2006, seeks damages in excess of $75,000 and payment of legal fees, along with requiring the firm to no longer discriminate against transgender people.

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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