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Transgender Woman Settles Discrimination Lawsuit Against Plasma Center In Kent

"a bag containing one unit of fresh frozen plasma" by Diver Dave is licensed under CC BY 3.0

A transgender woman has settled a federal lawsuit against a blood plasma bank in Kent. She sued after being told she would not be allowed to donate plasma because of her sexual identity.CSL Plasma is a for-profit company with headquarters in Florida. Plasma donors can make as much as $200 a month by having their blood drawn. There’s even a rewards program.

But Jasmine Kaiser, who is transgender, was turned away from CSL Plasma in Kent when she tried to donate in June of 2014.  The company claimed federal rules allowed it to reject transgender donors. Kaiser sued saying the company had violated her rights under Washington state’s consumer protection and anti-discrimination law.

Attorney David Ward, with the group Legal Voice, says while the case was settled out of court, along the way there were a number of key pre-trial rulings that will have an impact on transgender blood donors.

“The court rulings should make it clear that no one can be turned away from donating blood or plasma in Washington simply because they’re transgender,” said Ward.

Although the Food and Drug Administration does restrict blood or plasma donations by men who have had sex with men, it does not have a rule barring donations based on the fact that a person is transgender. And, when it revised its blood donation rules in December 2015, it said blood and plasma banks had to accept a donor’s self-identification of gender when going through the donor-screening process.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.