A Russian politician is urging parliament to ban blood donations from homosexuals and begin offering free "conversion therapy."
"We will suggest an amendment to the law on (blood) donations on the order of the Health Ministry that returns homosexuals to the list of contra-indicated donors,"said Mikhail Dyegtyaryov, a member of the Russian parliament’s lower house who is running for mayor of Moscow.
Dyegtyaryov says the measure is an attempt to stem the rising number of HIV/AIDS cases. According to experts, drug use is primarily to blame for the AIDS epidemic in Russia, Reuters reported.
Dyegtyaryov also told a press conference that he think parliament should offer free “conversion therapy” to homosexuals so that they can "return to normal life and become heterosexuals."
The proposal is a slap in the face to gay rights advocates still incensed by the country’s new ban on “homosexual propaganda.” Dyegtyaryov said he’s not against gay pride rallies as long as they are held "at night, with flashlights and without amplifiers." While many are still trying to figure out exactly what constitutes homosexual propaganda, his conversion therapy proposal indicates that Dyegtyaryov isn’t just worried about Russia’s youth being exposed to homosexual lifestyles.
Gay rights advocate Yelena Kostyuchenko says she gives blood regularly and is asked to give on a regular basis.
"Next time I'll say - I'm sorry, I'm a lesbian, I don't deserve to give blood for your family members. Keep looking," Kostyuchenko tweeted Monday.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has had a ban on gay blood donors since the early 1980s, although the American Medical Association voted in June to end the ban.
"The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science," said Dr. William Kobler, an AMA board member.