Despite signing up to being an organ donor, Rocky Campana’s organs were not accepted following his death because he was gay.
Campana had unsuccessfully attempted suicide and was taken off life support last August.
According to his mother, Nancy, she was asked about his sexual activity including questions about whether or not he was gay and if he was sexually active or had a partner.
After confirming that he was both, Trillium Gift of Life said that they could not accept his organs.
Although upsetting, the decision didn’t violate Health Canada’s rules. In 2007, it had changed donation rules for sexually active gay men and injection drug users.
According to Health Canada policy:
- A gay man who had practiced abstinence for five years prior to organ donation would be considered an acceptable donor.
- A heterosexual man who has had a single sexual encounter with a male within the past five years would not be considered an acceptable donor.
These rules are similar to similar to donating blood, which limits who can donate to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV.
While Rocky’s friends understood the situation, Nancy found the news to be a shock.
“When I got off the phone to relay that to both [Rocky’s father] Rob and a lot of Rocky’s friends … many of them broke down,” she told CBC. “The gay ones said, ‘Nancy, we can’t donate blood; they’re not going to take our organs.’”
Though not all are planning to let the rules stand. According to the CBC, petitions are being developed to challenge the new policies to make it easier for gay men to donate.