Let's just eliminate all the bullshit, shall we?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bloody Mary

Why the 'blood' of Baby Bejeezers
won't be enough to save you in the
real-world E.R.
So you've seen the ads calling for blood donors, telling
how having sufficient and diverse blood products on hand
can make the difference between life and death for folks
in an accident or facing surgery.

Well, not nearly enough people give blood in this country,
and we're always at low levels.

But the Blood Services organizations still discriminate
against gay male donors. They still deny the opportunity
to known (and that there's the key) gay and bisexual men
to donate blood, even though the testing process for HIV
is highly sophisticated. Supposedly. (And thereby invalidating
resistance to any donors.)

I asked a contact at a Blood Services provider in a
neighboring state (who shall remain nameless because
they would not speak on the record, for reasons about
to become evident,) why the ban on gay donors exists if
they have the technology to test the blood for viability
of use. The contact was unable (or unwilling) to state
clearly, but did admit the testing is not 100% accurate.

So, I asked, if testing is inaccurate, then isn't the testing
of all the blood sort of a moot point? Of donated blood,
how do you possibly determine presence of HIV (or any
of a myriad of other diseases that makes blood contam-
inated?) That's when they admitted that they are really
dependent on the questionnaires--and people's honesty--alone.

(*For those not acustomed to giving blood, you are
subjected to both a live Q&A with a nurse/nurse
practitioner/etc as well as a written questionnaire, set
to determine the deepest and most intimate of all your
comings, goings, identity, predilections, history, and so
forth. Travel, sex acts, drug use, living arrangements,
and more are grist for the mill.)

You're putting the lives of millions on the line with the
magical thinking that the American public is going to
honestly answer intimate questions about socially un-
comfortable information? In the hands of an inaccurate
testing procedure?

Here's the rub; the people who are the potential problem--
the IV drug users, the down-low men, the closeted Bible
thumpers, promiscuous bisexual men, married men and
women having secret affairs, etc.-- these folks are
NOT going to admit their private activities on a question-
naire that is attached to their name and identity! Especially
in small towns! Or the South in general.

Especially when many times, families and coworkers go to
blood drives in groups! Come on!

So either the testing is reliable or it's not; if you're willing to
chance lives on all the folks who lied about their activities (in
order to squeak by and cover up their secrets,) then why not
'take a chance' on the HIV negative, the sexually celibate, the
safe-sex practicing civic minded folks who want to be a part
of their community and contribute--and happen to be gay?
(And, it bears repeating, are honest about it!)

The answer; There is no good reason.

What was imparted to me, though, was that it's politics and
P.R....that essentially the questions and the policy remain
because the public is still homophobic, and people feel safer
about the blood supply when the idea that there is a ban on
gay men donating exists. Even though that's not scientifically
reflective of common sense. It's America; superstition rules, baby!


So, to recap....in order to keep the masses fat, dumb, and
happy, a stereotype is being needlessly perpetuated.....vital
blood donations are being turned away....lives are forfeited.....
people are being labeled and blacklisted as 'unworthy donors'.....
misinformation supported on questionnaires and in practices

cements in people's brains and gives them a false sense of
security in their own sex lives.....Not quite the small potatoes
you thought when it was just another 'silly queer rant,' eh?

So, why not employ a ban on black men, black women, and
Latin women donating blood? Hispanic and black women are
the highest-increase communities in HIV infection. Sell that
move to the people. No? I didn't think so.

The problem here is simple; The antiquated notion, the
mythology that gay men are automatically at risk for HIV
more so than anyone else, is being promoted here, and the
rationale is that since the discriminatory attitude already
exists, why not pander to it?

(Three dilemnas inherent in that; a false sense of security
created for heterosexual men--and women, a continued
self-consciousness and shamefulness unwarrantedly being
leveled on gay men, and a perpetuation of stigma and
intolerance that creates prejudice and a second-class

There's a very dangerous precedent set by standardizing
the notion that heterosexual sex is 'safe' sex merely
because it is not, in fact, gay sex. 'Unsafe sex' is not part
of any one sex, race, orientation, or age goup. There's
unsafe sex, and there's safer sex practices. The diference
has to do with openness to frank discussion, lack of religious
hang-ups, civic-mindedness, conscientiousness, education,
and self-respect. Those are conscious decisions, not actions
endemic to a 'group[' of people.

Gay sex is not synonomous with spread of disease;
unsafe sex practices are. Pretending otherwise is archaic
and detrimental.

Fear, lies, and prejudice are not valid basis for public policies.

Is the life of your spouse, parent, or child worth the
continuation of discriminatory practice? There's room in the
world for more than one caring, intelligent guy who heals and
saves with his blood. Get over it.


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