Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Gay men giving blood

I woke up to the wonderful news today that the ban on gay men giving blood has been lifted. Hurrah! No wait... that's the highly-spun version of the facts. What's actually happened is that the previous rules, which said a gay man could only give blood after a full twelve months of sexual inactivity, have been relaxed, so now the gays are allowed to give blood if we haven't had sex with another man for three months. Three whole months. Reality check people! There are now more heterosexual HIV positive people in the UK than there are gay ones. What would happen if straight people were banned from giving blood within three months of having sex? We'd need to set up a farm for unmarried born again Christians and people over 90!

I genuinely don't know why this half-way measure is being applauded by anyone. How often must gay men endure these nods to equality without actually being offered equality? It happens every time. The age of consent randomly came down from 21 to 18 before we had parity. We had civil partnerships before we had marriage. The Americans had "don't ask, don't tell" before their gay troops were allowed to be out and proud. I find it deeply galling.

Nathan thinks it saves the obligatory public outcry, but really, how many members of the public would think it was good for a gay man to give blood... but only if he's been celibate for three months? Are there really going to be people who think twelve months was a bit steep, but three months feels about right? Blood infected with HIV is okay from a straight person but not from a poof? Is that the issue? I long for an ounce of consistency...

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