Alex Blaze

A Radical Homosexual Activist donates blood

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 20, 2008 1:58 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: blood donation, homosexual agenda, Peter LaBarbera

Here's a letter to the editor that appeared in the January edition of Têtu, France's response to The Advocate:

Normally, gays aren't allowed to donate blood, but I went anyway, hiding my sexuality because I think blood donation is required of all good citizens, and gays are citizens like everyone else.

So I went to the blood bank with my magazine and was interviewed by the doctor with all the normal sexuality questions. Everything went fine.

The letter continues after the jump.

I sat down and took out my favorite magazine in front of everyone. I read Têtu the whole time they were taking blood, hiding nothing, neither the cover nor the hot boy pics inside. A few nurses asked me what I was reading after having seen what it was, but no one said anything to me.

Imagine my satisfaction reading Têtu in a space where gays aren't allowed.

--Kévin, Le Havre

Ignoring the sheer sycophancy shown towards the magazine to which Kévin is writing (he sure knows how to get his letters printed), what do you all think about this? Do you donate blood with the blood ban in place? Do you think that other gay men (and women who've had sex with men who've had sex with men) should?

Because there's really no need for the ban - the testing for STD's is effective and sexual orientation doesn't determine necessarily what's going on in someone's sex life. But is it worth lying over?

I was reminded of this letter to the editor from back in January because I got a link to this in my inbox from Peter LaBee:

Whoa. Selfishness redefined. Who knows if anyone died because of this twisted homosexual bid for "equality"? (The whole point of a blood ban is that the blood in question is not equal.)

Way to not sound like a Nazi there, Peter, with trying to find out who has the better blood and all.

So is following the letter of the law important in this case?

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A few years ago right after I'd come out, I decided I wanted to donate blood which I'd actually never done before. A friend told me in these words that "gays aren't allowed to give blood." I walked into the cafeteria at my workplace, and saw a table registering sign ups for the blood drive. I asked the lady at the table, "Is it true gays aren't allowed to give blood?" She seemed stricken and said, "It's not that gays aren't allowed. It's that certain high risk behaviors make all people, gay or straight, ineligible." I said, "OK," and signed up to give. The next day the same lady called my office and asked me if I wanted to answer the eligibility questions in private. I said no, that I would answer them at the bloodmobile like everyone else. When I got there, I answered the questions truthfully, and because I actually hadn't had sex with men at that point (I came out as gay before I'd had sex), I gave blood. The same lady from the registration table hovered around me as I gave, and she looked quite disapproving. Obviously in her mind, the fact that I said I was gay was equal to the "fact" that I'd behaved in ways she deemed unacceptable. I haven't given blood since.

Trans men or women who have had sex with men also cannot give blood. This is REAL stupid because a trans man with women's parts having sex with a man is, for the sake of arguement, having straight sex, but we all know differently. Trans women having sex with men IS having straight sex, but the American Red Cross considers them men, so they are "gay" by their definition. They have it both ways and get away with it.

While I was in graduate school at Indiana University, I was out, and open about my sexuality, and in a long term monogamous relationship. I was not able to give blood, but what is the strangest thing, I was paid to donate plasma. The plasma center in Bloomington had no problem taking gay blood, I just don't understand why blood centers cannot be like Republicans and always draw first blood.

The banning of gays by blood centers has been in place since 1983, and at that time, it was understandable to put the ban into place. However, with modern, much more readily available and reliable science along with all blood donations being tested a minimum of three times, there is no reason to disallow gay men to donate. I gave blood regularly before I started having sex with men, and refuse to go back until I can legally give blood.

I "donate" plasma twice a week. I have only had one sexual partner in 10 years. I'm a male and that sexual partner is a male.

I resent the fact that my behavior is somehow considered more risky than some of my "straight" friends who have had many, many more sexual partners than I.

The money I receive from the plasma "donation" is also the only income I have while I fight for disability benefits.

I don't feel guilty at all about lying. I do not feel I am risking anyone elses life by donating. And, again, I resent the fact that I am viewed as somehow "tainted" because I have had sexual contact with someone of the same sex.

I think the ban is ridiculous, especially since blood banks are always running low on blood. It's like banning gays in the military. Makes no sense.

Fun blood donating story:

I tried to donate blood once, mostly just trying to see how they'd respond. After the nurse noticed my meds she tried to ask me if I was trans but couldn't get the words out. After I told her that I was, she brought in her supervisor and the two of them spent an hour trying to figure out if I'd be eligible to donate.

When asking about sex with men who have sex with men, the two crucial undefined terms are "sex" and "men." And they were completely unable to tell me what they counted as either.

They were going to talk to the regional manager, but would have to get back to me next week. I was on my way out the door when someone found a definition of sex as "vaginal, anal, or oral." I said, "Oh, well I haven't had that kind of sex with men." They stared at me blankly and said, "Okay well, we'll call you next week."

I did get a call the following week where they told me I was eligible, but I wasn't interested in going back.

Michael Mahoney | March 20, 2008 8:10 PM

The process that blood banks follow is that if they suspect that you're in a high risk group they still take your blood but they check a box that in affect "discards" the entire donation. There is also usually a box the the donor can check to have their donation discarded (this is done so that folks in a high risk group aren't "outed" in front of their colleauges or otherwise forced to lie.

A friend of mine, who is married to his transman partner (thank you Littleton for the loophole that allows us to do this here in Texas.) donates blood regularly. He is a nurse and since they are in a committed relaionship, he sees no moral or ethical problems with doing it.

Blood banks do it for one reason only, liability. If for some how a tainted donation gets through the screening, then they would be held liable for the consequences.

I'm a transwoman and am back in college at age 52. I tried to give blood to the Red Cross at a blood drive at the college. I was turned down due to having had protected sex a few times with men. Get real! Does the Red Cross really think my love life compares to the activity of the young heterosexual women at my university?

The prohibition against gays and trans people donating blood is part of the conservative driven political agenda of the right wingers. Wild sex and lots of it is OK if done by young heterosexual woman. But, God forbid (literally) if a gay male or transwoman has had sex even once with a man.

This is one of those topics that gets my dander up. How long have their been tests for STDs and HIV? Doesn't all blood go through this screening process? So why "taint" some blood donations as less than worthy? There are plenty of heterosexual HIV+ people in the world - many of whom don't know they're HIV+.

I was in a forum discussion about this very topic and posted the following (in the interests of full disclosure I will admit that I am a heterosexual female):

Let's be realistic. Heterosexuals can also get HIV from sexual contact, just the same as gay men. A more appropriate question would be "Have you had UNPROTECTED SEX with ANYONE within the past XXXX?" but that is not asked. I donate platelets every two weeks. I answer the questions the same as I always do--specifically, no, I have never had sex with a man who has had sex with another man. However, is it possible that my spouse has had sex with someone else and not told me? Yes. And is it possible that this person could be HIV positive? Yes. Of course, like many married women, I'm absolutely positive my husband would never cheat on me OR have sex with another man, but the truth is that I don't spend every second of every day with him and anything is possible. So I answer the questions to the best of my knowledge and trust the testing that is done on EVERY donation to back me up. I would trust a blood donation from a monogamous gay man or a gay man who conscientiously practices safe sex over a heterosexual who is promiscuous and does not practice safe sex any day. And remember, being on the pill does NOT protect a woman from STDs, just from pregnancy. The truth is that not allowing gay men to donate blood is an emotional response, not a logical one. And we need the blood."

I guess you can see that I fully support allowing gay men to give blood.

Oh Good Lord, Alex;
The Christian Right is going to read this and tomorrow's headlines will be from a press conference by Sally Kern, Kim Thatcher, Matt Barber and the Peter all wailing about how America's blood supply is contaminated by activist gays seeing to recruit by spreading the gay gene through transfusions. Then will come a Blood Protective Amendment and a fight by the HRC over the issue with Joe Somonese on Logo saying "We can get a Blood Non-Dincrimiantion act(heretofore called the B 'n D act) for Lesbians through now. When did we get impatient? We remain committted to a gay-inclusive Blood Non_discrimination act later when gay men have done enough lobbying on their own that HRC will take credit for later. Besides, what conservative gay ever gives up anything? We will be holding a 1000/plate fundraiser for this in a month to honour obscue straight, so you can see, we remain committed"

Boy, did you nail this. It will be called "BNDA" (pronounced, "benda.") and they will abandon all other efforts to focus on making sure gay men can donate blood, before they will get anyone employment protection. This would be a wonderful opportunity to have an issue where HRC can finally advocate their true constituents and getting a chance to drop their help for the other groups they don't really support, those pesky lesbian and bisexual people.