The gay and lesbian community in Italy is demanding a new law to protect their right to donate blood after a hospital in Rome denied a lesbian the opportunity to donate recently.

The woman, a 39-year-old employee at an accounting firm, was turned away by Policlinico Umberto I hospital after an official there told her she was considered at risk because of her lifestyle. The woman, referred to as “Angela,” claims the denial is unwarranted and unfair because she has been in a monogamous relationship for more than the 120 days required to rule out a sexually transmitted disease.

Hospital administrators agree that legislation does not prohibit them from taking blood from people who identify themselves as homosexual. “There is no law that bans homosexuals from donating blood,” said Gabriella Girelli, director of the blood transfusion center at Umberto I. But they reserve their right to turn donors away. “In general, ‘at risk’ people cannot do it. It’s up to the examining doctor to determine the risk on the base of the information provided,” Girelli said.

This issue has played out publicly in Italy before, with similar refusals to accept blood donations from homosexuals in Pordenone in 2007 and Milan in 2010. Because of these continued denials, activists say they want the issue addressed in Parliament.

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