Monday, July 8, 2013 , Updated 12:00 a.m., July 12, 2013
LGBT activist organizes national gay blood drive July 12
There is not a location specified for North Texas, though there are sites in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City.
The last time I gave blood was when I was in high school. The only way I can give blood now is if I lie. That’s what a lot of gay men do, but I won’t do that. I think it has something to do with my journalistic integrity. It might have more to do with the fact that I’m a terrible liar.
The truth is, the second time I tried to give blood was my senior year of high school, but I couldn’t. It’s because of this question:
“From 1977 to present, have you had sexual contact with another male, even once?”
If you’re gay, and have tried to give blood, you’ve probably stared at this question before. How should you answer? Honestly. The lady who gave me the questionnaire in 2001 explained that they’re required to ask it because some gay men use it as a way to get tested for HIV for free. That’s not exactly right …
“This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B, and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion,” says the FDA.
I knew that I did not have any STDs. I’d been tested. Still, the lady who presented me with the questionnaire explained, as kindly as she could, that it didn’t matter. I would not be allowed to donate blood.
National Gay Blood Drive Announcement
Since then, I’ve had to avoid blood drives. Whenever the volunteer-in-charge at work asks me directly if I’d like to participate in a drive, I always have to decline. Normally I try to avoid the question, but sometimes I have to say something like, “It’s for health reasons.”
Enough of my personal story … Let’s talk about what’s being done about this.
“The ban perpetuates negative stereotypes and stigma. Whether intentional or not, it is discrimination based on sexual orientation. The FDA needs to revise its policies so that it focuses on sexual behavior instead,” said Ryan James Yezak in his recent YouTube video.
Yezak is helping organize the first-ever national gay blood drive on Friday, July 12. Cities across the U.S. are organizing blood donation stations that include HIV testing sites.
“Countless, otherwise eligible, gay and bisexual men are unable to contribute to the nation’s blood supply and help save lives,” explained Yezak.
Yezak asks that you try to donate blood on July 12, with documentation of your current HIV status. If you’re rejected, Yezak wants you to submit documentation of your rejection. That way, he hopes to put pressure on the FDA to lift the ban.
So far, no official donation site has been set up in North Texas. However, you should check out GayBloodDrive.com for more information.
Pegasus News Content partner - His Big D