The state of Minnesota is going to bat with a plasma collection center for allegedly discriminating against trans and nonbinary clients.
On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) announced that a second resident had accused St. Paul-headquartered CSL Plasma Center of turning them away because of their gender. (A transgender woman already has a separate complaint pending against the company.)
Charlie Edgar, a nonbinary Hennepin County resident, says they were turned away from donating because they have an “X” gender marker on their ID.
“I am disheartened that I have to fight to be seen as a human being,” Edgar said in a statement. “I was hurt and embarrassed when I was denied to give plasma at CSL. I want to be able to operate in a world where I don’t always have to teach medical professionals how to treat me and wonder how to pay my bills when I can’t access the same services as low income cisgender folks.”
CSL Plasma unlawfully discriminated against another Minnesotan because of gender identity – a decision the company’s management repeatedly upheld. Today, MDHR added these new allegations to its complaint in the lawsuit against CSL Plasma. #lgbtq https://t.co/RIxlUGm3La pic.twitter.com/MWh7ET0A0Z
— MDHR (@mnhumanrights) November 7, 2019
In March 2019, MDHR filed suit against CSL Plasma for allegedly turning away trans woman Alice James from donating plasma. MDHR says that following that suit, CSL claimed to have updated their policy to bring them in line with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, which bar screening on the basis of gender identity. Edgar’s denial, however, shows that never happened, MDHR says.
“CSL Plasma is unlawfully turning away donors based on archaic stereotypes,” Minnesota Department of Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Irina Vaynerman said in a statement.
MDHR has amended their March complain to include Edgar’s allegations.
The FDA has long been under fire for turning away men who have sex with men (MSM) within a year of donating blood, even though blood is screened for HIV and blood-borne pathogens. In the case of both James and Edgar, MDHR says even that justification wouldn’t apply, since neither has ever had sex with a man.
The FDA does recommend donors choose between “male” and “female” gender designations on donation forms, but that is increasingly tricky, as more states legally recognize nonbinary genders on state identification documents than ever before.
Minnesota prides itself on being the first state to have adopted gender identity protections in 1993. MDHR says CSL is a public accommodation operating in violation of that law.
CSL Plasma did not respond to a request from NewNowNext to comment.