Transgender Woman Sues Plasma Center In Kent Charging Discrimination

May 11, 2015

A blood plasma bank in Kent, Washington is being sued by a transgender woman who was barred from donating because of her sexual identity. The lawsuit targets CSL Plasma Inc., a profit making company based in Florida that pays plasma donors as much as $200 a month and often offers gift cards as an added incentive.

When  Jasmine Kaiser, who was born male but now identifies as a woman, went to CSL Plasma in Kent in June of 2014 with the intent of donating plasma, she was turned away. According to the complaint filed in King County Superior Court, she was told she'd be banned for life because she is transgender.

And, Attorney David Ward, with the Seattle based women's rights group Legal Voice, says that's not all.

"They told her that they would inform other blood centers that she was on a lifetime deferral list,” he said.

Ward filed the complaint along with Gender Justice and Isaac Ruiz, with the firm Keller Rohrback.  They argue that denying Kaiser the right to give blood plasma violates a 2006 Washington state law prohibiting  discrimination against someone based on their "gender identity or expression."

In an email, CSL Plasma's Director of Marketing, Robert Mitchell, declined to comment on the specifics of the case. The company hasn't yet filed a court brief. But, in the email, Mitchell did write:

"We can confirm that CSL Plasma collects plasma and operates its business in accordance with all applicable industry, state, federal and international laws, regulations, guidelines and guidance documents."

CSL is facing a similar lawsuit from a transgender person in Minnesota.

David Ward, with Legal Voice, sees the complaint in King County as part of a growing transgender rights movement.

He says people who are transgender face almost daily discrimination in everything from housing to health care. 

"And it is time that this kind of discrimination be taken seriously and not say, 'Well, why would somebody sue about that?,” Ward said.