Every summer, Halifax Pride gives students an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our community, and to fight for increased equity in Nova Scotia. While Pride is a great time to squeeze into those spandex, throw on some glitter and dance till you drop, it is also a time to reflect upon the culture of inequality, heterosexism, transphobia, and biphobia that govern so many of the spaces we encounter every day.
During this year’s festivities, Nova Scotia’s student movement kept Pride political by campaigning for an end to the 5-year blood donation deferral for men who’ve had sex with men (MSM) and women who’ve had sex with MSM. Students campaigned under the banner of End the Ban, CFS-FCÉÉ campaign. In 2013, this campaign built enough pressure to convince Canadian Blood Services to amend the lifetime ban on blood donations from MSM to the 5-year deferral period. In practice this deferral period still acts as a ban, and students won’t stop campaigning until the ban is lifted entirely. We believe that the eligibility to donate blood should be determined by behavior, not lifestyle.
On Monday, July 21st, students created a chalk mural outside the Halifax Public Library to protest the ban, and invited passerby’s to add their name to a blood droplet in support of the campaign. On July 26th, students took to the streets during the Halifax Pride Parade to cheer, chant, and distribute End the Ban materials to the Parade’s audience. These actions drew widespread media attention, and the campaign was included in newspaper features and evening new programs across the province.
For more information about the blood ban, the campaign, and to send an email to the federal Minister of Health, please visit endtheban.ca.
Looking forward to seeing you all at Pride next year!
Canadian Federation of Students-Nova Scotia