Transgender woman files suit against Kent blood bank after being turned away

KENT, Wash. -- She thought she might get paid for donating her plasma, but instead, one woman got turned away.

Now she's suing a blood bank in Kent, claiming discrimination because she's transgender.

Jasmine Kaiser's attorney, David Ward, says she was barred from donating plasma because of her sexual identity.

Ward says Kaiser, who was born male and now identifies as a female, went to CSL Plasma in Kent in June 2014. She'd planned to donate plasma, but was turned away.

According to the complaint filed in King County Superior Court, Kaiser was told she'd been banned because she's transgender.

"Men who have sex with men have been prohibited from donating plasma or blood products since the early '80s, but there has never been a policy that says transgender people, simply based on their gender identity, cannot donate blood or plasma products.

"Jasmine reported when she went through the screening process that she had no had sexual contact with a man. She was turned down simply because she's a transgender person," says Ward.

CSL Plasma says they are aware of the lawsuit, but would not comment on the specifics of the case. The company's director of marketing did say they had written rules about who could donate plasma and who could not, only adding that they follow all FDA regulations.

The FDA is considering lifting its ban on gay men donating blood, if the donor has abstained from sex for one year.