Queer Missouri man claims gender bias, discrimination while donating plasma

Jacob Erwin. Facebook photo.

By Jordan Redman
Staff Writer

Jacob Erwin said workers at CSL Plasma judged him unfairly on what he wore to the clinic to donate plasma.

Erwin described the incident in an interview with The Gayly, "I've been going to CSL plasma off and on for the last two and a half years, I have seen people of all genders dressed provocatively...breasts hanging out, pants sagging and nothing has ever publicly been said to them.

"I have never been made aware of such dress code. I was allowed to enter the establishment [CSL Plasma], go through the check-in line and then the second line to wait to be put on the donor floor, was then hooked up to the machine. I was 3/4 way through my donation before anything was said to me."

Erwin claims he was told that what he wore violated the donation center’s dress code and the staff used a lab coat to cover him up.

"Here, you need this," he was told as a phlebotomist draped a lab coat over him, according to Erwin.

Erwin was told if he decided to come back, "You need to know the way you are dressed is indecent and you can't dress like that here," Erwin said.

No official dress code was provided. In an online search, CSL patient FAQ's do not indicate a specific dress code for donors.

Under the 'Who Can Donate?' section on CSL Plasma's website, it states "Anyone in good health, 18 or older, who weighs at least 110 lbs, have had no tattoos or piercings within the last 12 months, meets our eligibility and screening requirements, has valid identification and a permanent address is eligible to donate plasma."

Erwin expressed his hope that his situation will spark a movement against gender bias in clothing, "I am a very strong willed person and I have strength where others may lack...I think by taking a stand for others who can relate to me will show that there is hope and that there can be change if we stand together!"

The Gayly reached out to CSL Plasma's upper management for comment, but have yet to hear back.

Nicole, staff member at CSL Plasma in Norman, Oklahoma said they "Don’t have a specific dress code." She added that if you  "Wouldn’t be comfortable wearing it to church, it is probably inappropriate to donate in."

She stated the dress code is "At the discretion of location management."

The Gayly. March 20, 2018. 12:41 p.m. CST.