State officials say plasma company violated transgender woman's rights

Minnesota Department of Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Irina Vaynerman
Minnesota Department of Human Rights Deputy Commissioner Irina Vaynerman speaks at a press conference at the State Capitol on Thursday.
Mark Zdechlik | MPR News

The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has sued CSL Plasma of violating the state's Human Rights Act for not allowing a transgender woman to donate plasma.

"The lawsuit details on how the plasma collections center unlawfully denied Alice James from donating her plasma solely because of her gender identity," said Irina Vaynerman, deputy human rights commissioner said Thursday at a news conference at the state Capitol. Vaynerman was flanked by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison. Ellison's office will represent the state department in the case.

Vaynerman said the lawsuit is as much about protecting civil rights of all Minnesotans as it is about protecting James' rights.

"Living a life free of discrimination is every Minnesotan's civil right under the Minnesota Human Rights Act," Vaynerman said. "We are working closely with the attorney general to ensure that Ms. James' rights are protected and prevent future discrimination of all kinds, including discrimination on the basis of race, disability and sex."

When contacted by MPR News, CSL Plasma officials said they had not yet seen the lawsuit.

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