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I hope to have quite a few posts like this in the future. This is my main area of interest, I suppose. In my class last night, GLBT 3301, GLBT Social Movements in the US, we discussed those things inside and outside of the movement. I thought I made two rather intelligent additions to the lists, for inside I said “identity” and for outside I sad “heterosexual hegemony”. One of the more striking responses to outside the GLBT Movement was the Red Cross in reference to the discrimination against gay males donating blood.

Of course, the idea is not that if you are male and have a sexual orientation of gay that you cannot give blood, it is merely that you cannot donate if you are a man who has had sex with a man since 1974. WTF?! I mean seriously…What about all the introvenous drug users, straight people who sleep with prostitutes, people who have had multiple partners? In the beginnings of the AIDS pandemic, this legislation possibly had some value. It appeared that HIV was only affecting homosexual men, and having to throw away blood is expensive.

One student in my course made the argument that this is basically an economical function. The blood drives test the blood in pools of 100 donors, and if one batch is infected, the entire batch must be thrown out. This student, while sexual orientation is not known, was not male. I feel it is often easier for someone to be discriminative when outside of a group. She claimed that it is not discrimination, rather a sensible practice.

What I am trying to argue is that we should create some other sort of prescreening test which would better detect those who are at high risk for HIV. Statistics show that gay men get tested more regularly for STIs and HIV than straight men. And of course, woman should not be prescreened in this fashion, because that would be gender discrimination…wtf?! If you are opposed to discrimination, you should attempt to see it from all sides…consider the rights of more than just your group.

I, as a gay male, have tested more than once as HIV negative. If the US suddenly becomes in dire need of blood, I feel they will perhaps look to the gay male community again. Where will we be? Is it suddenly our responsibility to help a country that has discriminated against us? If the legislation changes for another reason, that is another story entirely.

The screening criteria is outdated, prejudiced, and discriminatory and needs to be changed.