UK has decided to lift the lifelong ban on gay blood donation – but is it still discriminatory? The upcoming Paralympics – tickets on sale and do we need to erase the word ‘disability’? Shadows of the London riots in CERD’s report and LSE’s empirical investigation into what caused the riots.

Last Thursday, UK made the decision to lift the lifelong ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (MSM). The ban, which was introduced in the 1980s to reduce the risk of HIV contamination, has been questioned on both medical and equality grounds for some time now. However, the new regulations still impose a 12 months window period for MSM during which they should not have had sex in order to quallify for blood donation.

Though this long due move was welcomed, there was criticism of the new regulations too. Benjamin Butterworth, the LSESU Officer for LGBT students, wrote for the LSE E&D blog, arguing that, in practice, this would still prevent gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Peter Thatchell, writing for the Guardian, said: “[T]his is unjustified…Men who use condoms every time without breakages – and who test HIV negative – should not be barred from donating blood.”

Meanwhile, tickets for London Paralympics 2012 went on sale on Friday. To promote the upcoming Paralympics, 8th of September was marked as the International Paralympics Day. Prime Minister David Cameron and London Mayor Boris Johnson were among the high profile visitors to Trafalgar Square on the day (read BBC report). The day ended with the official invitation being issued to athletes around the world to compete in 2012. The Paralympics will run from 29 August to 9 September in 2012.

On that note, Damon Rose, writing for the BBC, asks “Could the 2012 Paralympics erase the word ‘disability’?” London has moved a long way from wanting to eradicate disabled people but there’s no doubt that disability discrimination still exists. Is the way forward erasing the word ‘disability’ or reforming the assumed meaning of ‘disability’? 

On 1 September 2011, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published its report of concluding observations on the UK Government’s 18th and 19th periodic reports, showing how the Government has complied with the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The Committee welcomed the enactment of the Equality Act 2010 but also raised a number of concerns including the UK government’s response to the recent riots in the country. LSE and the Guardian are working together on the first empirical study of last month’s riots and looting.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Have anything to add? Please email a.islam1@lse.ac.uk