Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blood donation.

There's a blood drive at work today, and once again, I won't be participating.

Since 1977, the FDA has prohibited gay men from donating blood. That leaves those of us who want to donate with two unappealing options. 1) Don't donate. 2) Lie.

I've chosen the first path anytime I'm presented with an opportunity to donate, because I don't think I should have to lie to donate blood.

The FDA's reasoning behind this prohibition is that men who have sex with men are more at risk for HIV and other diseases.

But what about those of us in committed relationships, who have had a steady partner for years, who are completely monogamous?

The implication of the FDA's position is that gay men tend to have a whole lot of anonymous, unprotected, unsafe sex. Thus, their response is to ban all of us, even those of us who have been safe and monogamous for years.

My question to the FDA is this: what about the straight man who bangs a different chick in a bar bathroom every night? I'd argue that there are a significant number of straight men who do that, and that certainly puts them at risk of disease and contaminating the blood supply. By your own logic, you should therefore ban straight men from donating. And by the same token, you should ban women, because lots of women let themselves get banged in bar bathrooms by anonymous strangers.

Boom, we now have nobody who can donate blood.

It's an assinine policy, and I hope that the FDA will reconsider it. Gay men's blood is just as safe as straight men's blood, and we have a lot of technology at our disposal to test blood for disease. Therefore, collective exclusion of one whole group is simply bigoted, discriminatory and ignorant.