Just As I Thought

The next equality issue

As a member of the Arlington Community Emergency Response Team, I received a message today urging me to give blood along with other local leaders, first responders, and educators today at the Arlington Red Cross. There is currently a critical blood shortage.
The problem is that in a ridiculous, knee-jerk reaction to AIDS, gay people are not allowed to donate blood in the United States.
This is clearly a pointless act of discrimination, especially when one considers that the gay community is not where AIDS is at it’s greatest rate of infection anymore. It sends the message that gay people are in some way dangerous, untouchable, pariahs.
Imagine if this discrimination was directed at another group – say that black persons were not allowed to give blood.
This is not 1953, folks.
The Arlington Red Cross expects media coverage today at this blood drive. Perhaps the media could point out how people like me feel about not being allowed to do our part to help.

1 comment

  • And the way the policy is applied is even more egregious: if you’re a man who’s had unprotected sex with a prostitute, you can donate blood again after a year has passed since your encounter. If you’re a woman who has had unprotected sex with a drug-user or gay or bisexual man, ditto. But if you’re a man who has had any sexual relations, protected or not, with another man even once since 1977, you are permanently prohibited from donating blood, ever. This applies even if you’d been celibate since.

    An important note, too, is that while most blood banks suggest that the same standard should be applied to gay men as to other groups, it is the American Red Cross that has most adamantly opposed any change to this policy, even to a change that would have allowed gay men who had not had sex with other men for a period of five years to donate.

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