Florida-Based Plasma Company Turns Away Donor due to Identity

A Plasma company in Florida allegedly discriminated against an individual who identifies as non-binary, according to a lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR).

The lawsuit, which was originally filed in March 2019, accuses CSL Plasma of violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act by denying individuals from donating plasma if they do not identify with the gender they were given at birth. The complaint was amended on November 7 after a non-binary donor said that they were turned away when they tried to donate plasma at the CSL Plasma location in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in September. What You Should Know The department said Charlie Edgar went to CSL’s plasma location in Minneapolis in September and even “offered to comply with CSL Plasma’s guidelines that they identify as either a man or woman so that they could donate plasma,” according to a statement from the state. The company denied Edgar anyway and asked them to leave because they did not identify with their assigned gender at birth. “I am disheartened that I have to fight to be seen as a human being,” said Edgar 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.” The lawsuit is asking the plasma center to implement new policies and procedures to end the discrimination against non-binary individuals and is asking the court to ensure that company employees undergo training to make sure they understand gender identity is not taken into consideration when determining donor eligibility. The complaint also asks that individuals who have been discriminated against because of who they identify as be compensated. CSL Plasma has yet to return The North Star’s call for comment. Quick Facts about CSL’s Pattern of Discrimination

  • In 2011, Alicia James, a transgender woman, began donating plasma at CSL Plasma’s location in Duluth, Minnesota, according to MDHR. The lawsuit obtained by WCCO stated that James was forced to identify as male. James returned to self-identifying as female in 2015.

  • In June 2015, James returned to the center and was told that the donation center does not allow donations from transgender people, WCCO previously reported. James filed a discrimination lawsuit against the donation center in 2016.

  • When James tried to donate at the CSL Plasma center in Minneapolis, the location told her she is permanently prohibited from donating, according to the news station.

Why it Matters The Food and Drug Administration’srevised guidelines states “in the context of the donor history questionnaire, FDA recommends that male or female gender be taken to be self-identified and self-reported,” which means the FDA requires donors to the Red Cross select how they want to be identified. “CSL Plasma is unlawfully turning away donors based on archaic stereotypes,” said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Irina Vaynerman in a statement following the revised complaint. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the vital work ahead in the courts and in our communities to ensure all Minnesotans can live dignified lives.” Related News The North Star Report Finds LGBTQ Rights Cases Are Stalling Under Education Secretary DeVos The North Star Violence Against Black Transgender Women In The US Continues To Grow The North Star House Introduces Equality Act For LGBTQ Rights