13
May
09

Gay Blood? Don’t Bank On It.

Shall I be insulted by, or merely appreciate the irony of, a sign posted outside my office in the elevator lobby encouraging us to donate blood. As corporate social service initiatives go, it’s a fine idea in concept. But since 1985, gay men have been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from making blood donations.

This floor is occupied by Logo, the GLBT network. I guess they’re going after the handful of folks across the hall who work for Nickelodeon?

To their credit, the Red Cross and the American Association of Blood Banks want all donors to be treated equally. Right now it’s a lifetime ban, but they would have the deferral period be reduced to a year, which is the current rule for heterosexuals who may have been exposed to HIV risk.

The FDA is undergoing a review, but who knows when they’ll make a final decision.

I think they’re still missing the point, though. The risk comes not from man-on-man action, but from the absence of condoms. Straight folk may have unprotected sex within a year of their blood donation and pose no apparent risk.

That’s still kinda discriminatory, no?

Fortunately for me, I can’t give blood anyway. I have such anxiety about needles, whether it’s an injection or an extraction, that I’m likely to pass out and hit my head on something. That, to me, is a more immediate threat to my health than the idea of getting blood from a gay guy.

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1 Response to “Gay Blood? Don’t Bank On It.”


  1. September 4, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Well, since I am on the masculine side of the "gay spectrum", I donate anyway. So I am not "out" when I go to the Red Cross to donate blood. I have not missed a single time to donate blood since I was 16 years of age.


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