Transgender woman sues Minneapolis plasma company for refusing donationLisa A. Scott contends in a federal lawsuit that a plasma collection service discriminated against her when it barred her from donating.
By: Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune / MCT
Armed with a ruling in her favor by the state, a transgender woman in Minneapolis contends in a federal lawsuit that a plasma collection service discriminated against her when it barred her from donating.
"You people can’t give plasma," Lisa A. Scott allegedly was told by a CSL Plasma nurse, according to her suit filed this week in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights investigated the CSL outlet on Washington Avenue Southeast and found that the for-profit company discriminated against Scott because of her sexual orientation, when the nurse told her that she was disqualified for having "had sex with another man."
CSL told state investigators that it has a policy forbidding transsexuals from donating plasma, even though "there are no federal laws prohibiting transsexuals from plasma donation," the state agency’s findings in the case noted.
In her federal suit, Scott declares that she has "at no point ... ever engaged in high-risk sexual activity" and has never "been a gay man or had sexual contact with men."
For decades, sexual activity between men has been a disqualifier in the U.S. for donating blood or blood components because of the risk of transmitting the AIDS virus.
The CSL location on Washington Avenue referred calls for reaction to the suit to a corporate spokesman in Florida. He was not immediately available.
According to the federal suit:
Scott, who had gender reassignment surgery in 2006, went to CSL on Nov. 17, 2008, to sell her plasma. She was screened for the next five hours and told she was a qualified donor.
Near the end of the pre-donation process, a nurse asked her why she was taking a specific estrogenic hormone. Scott replied that it was part of her post-gender reassignment surgery.
The nurse responded, "You people can’t give plasma. ... We can’t take plasma from your type," explaining further to Scott that she had had sex with men and "taken part in risky behaviors."
Scott reported what happened to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in October 2009, and the agency later said it found "probable cause" in support of her contention that she was subjected to illegal discrimination because of her sexual orientation.
The federal suit seeks damages from CSL in excess of $75,000 and payment of legal expenses, along with requiring the company to no longer discriminate against transgenders.
CSL is based in Boca Raton, Fla., and has three locations in Minnesota, along with others around the country.
Distributed by MCT Information Services