Good Use

Did you catch the story that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department advisory board has once again decided to retain the policy that any man who’s had sex with another man anytime in the last 33 years can’t donate blood? On the day after the debut of the new season of True Blood (more on that tomorrow), it begs the question of what’s the truth about blood?
Those of us who’ve been very, very happy to have had sex with other men since 1977 could find this profoundly insulting, dehumanizing, and humiliating. In a world in which people are literally dying because of a lack of available blood products, our blood is deemed not fit for human consumption. It’s no longer about an inability to test confidently for communicable diseases… we’re well past that problem. It’s not about HIV, regardless of what they say. There’s absolutely nothing prohibiting rampantly promiscuous men and women engaged in outrageously high-risk sexual activity from getting in the donor pool, as long as their high risk behavior was with someone of the opposite gender (which definitely still can transmit HIV). It’s about gay blood being treated as essentially suspect, inferior, and dangerous.

So perhaps the real “fuck you” message here isn’t directed at us. The real “fuck you” message is for all the desperately ill and injured straight people on the edge of survival due to a lack of my universal donor, coveted type O negative. So sorry. This blood ain’t for you. It could save your life, but because of social prejudice, the HHS would rather see you die than for you to possibly receive a transfusion of my blood.
From day to day, my blood seems pretty cheap, frankly. A paper cut here… some tender gums there… spilling a little doesn’t really amount to much. Full contact competition illustrates that blood outside the body even has an entertainment value to it. But blood for life, for the survival of those most in need, the ban on my blood being donated for the health of someone else shouldn’t just infuriate me (and you). It should absolutely appall everyone with a breakable, cut-able, illness prone body who could, through no fault of their own, end up in desperate need of a transfusion. To you, the HHS advisory committee says, “fuck you.” Protecting social bigotry is more important than your life.

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