Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts have made headlines these past few months with her candid revelation that she’s battling an illness and is undergoing a bone marrow transplant in hopes of curing what currently ales her. Since her medical confession, Roberts has opened up a discussion about donating one’s bone marrow, and how important it is for all of us to step up and become donors. Sounds good right? Well not if you’re a homosexual.
Many people don’t know, but gay people in the United States, and much of the world, have a VERY strict policy on banning same-gender-loving donors. Every since the AIDS epidemic of the late 70′s and 80′s, fear has crippled the blood donor market. Initially the theory was that banning gays from donating blood would prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS. But, clearly a bullshit band-aid on continuing problem, the ban still remains in place today.
Though the United Kingdom lifted its ban on gay male blood donation in September 2011, the United State of America continues to discriminate against a demographic that could improve a staggering medical problem.
CNN examined this controversy back in July:
One group that would like to help, but legally can’t, may be moving one step closer to eligibility. Since the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic decimated their community, gay men — or MSMs (men who have sex with men) as they are called by federal agencies -- have not been allowed to donate blood. In June, a group of 64 U.S. legislators led by Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Illinois, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services encouraging it to move forward with a study that may lead to the end of the decades-old ban.
“We remain concerned that a blanket deferral of MSM for any length of time both perpetuates the unwarranted discrimination against the bisexual and gay community and prevents healthy men from donating blood without a definitive finding of added benefit to the safety of the blood supply,” the letter said.
I decided to test this theory out for myself. To date I am a healthy, HIV -, O negative donor. My blood is special because the blood my body creates is the universal donor to all blood types. However upon my arrival, and after answering a breif questionnaire inquiring about my overall health including my sexual preference, I was turned away because I am “too high risk” once I checked the “gay” box. Rejected, I couldn’t help but ponder this country’s stance against homosexuals doing their medical duty to assist those in need of blood, bone marrow, etc. And though there seems to be improvements in this area, I still don’t see this changing anytime soon. Call me an asshole, but I know plenty of heterosexual men and women who participate in “high risk” sexual behavior. So to single out and reject gay men just because of a 30 year-old scare that gripped a nation, is quite ignorant and discriminatory.
White, black, gay, or straight, I was raised to believe that we are all here to help each other. But it’s clear when it comes to blood, nobody wants the gays help in this matter. And that’s more than fine. But, let’s stop with the national pleas for American’s to step up and help others in need of medical blood matches. Because from this gay mans perception, you clearly don’t want help. Or at least not mine.
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