Should it be illegal for black people to donate blood? It’s illegal for gay men to do so, or rather it’s a Federal mandate. The executive branch seems to have a lot of mandates regarding health care. Next time you see a blood drive asking if you want to be a hero and donate blood, please remember that gay men do not qualify to be heroes. The government officially believes that men who have sex with men are unclean. We are a risk.
This stems from the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s when for the first time in documented human history it was not heterosexuals who carried the majority of sexual diseases. The government began testing blood for HIV in 1986, but the law is still on the books that if you are a man who had sex with a man since 1977 you are filthy, you cannot donate blood, you are not a hero. Teen suicide is so prolific among young gay men. Here is just another way LGBT people are told they are second-class citizens. Let’s not pretend there isn’t a connection.
So HIV infection from what I understand is just as high among African Americans as it is among gay men. Why not make it illegal for African Americans, who have had sex, from donating blood? Can you imagine the protest? Can you imagine the rioting, the infuriated masses? Can you imagine the reaction of Congress to rectify such discrimination immediately? I can. For statistics on HIV in the American population see the Center for Disease Control.
My kindergarten teacher was the first nun to die of AIDS. She got infected through a tainted blood transfusion in 1984. She had gone in for hip surgery and at her age probably needed additional blood. It took her rather quickly, or maybe I just didn’t know what was happening until it was done. I was 8 years old and saw our priest on the local news.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was this past week on February 7, 2013. So why not act as if the law says black people are dirty and can’t donate blood? We can’t, culturally it’s not in us yet. Even my analogy of African Americans bothers me more than the discrimination against gay men, my own group. How else have we internalized hatred for the LGBT community? Until 1973 psychiatrists officially believed homosexuality was a disease. It is much too prolific statistically to be considered a disease. Otherwise a sixth finger or green eyes would be a disease too. Others say it is morally wrong, but it is consensual, not like rape.
Other say it’s a sin, but despite that it does not preclude faith, hope, or love. Some say it will lead to the fall of society, but to me that’s more communist propaganda. We have always had single parents, orphans, and “confirmed bachelors”. Gay uncles have supported nieces and nephews providing valuable support to family. Gay children have had the time to care for ill parents more than the straight children understandably busy raising the next generation.
America, please don’t make it illegal for blacks to donate blood. If we all refused to donate blood until the law was changed to allow gay men to donate, it could work. The only heartbreak that prevents us from doing so is that others needing the blood or the bone marrow will die in the fight for equality. What alternatives are out there? Write to your Congresswoman? I’m open to ideas.