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Letters to the Editor September 22, 2011 //  by  // 5 Comments

UH blood drive alienates and stigmatizes LGBT coogs

In the days following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the military policy that banned gays, lesbians, and bisexuals from serving openly in the United States military, one of the last things I expected to see was a reminder of how the LGBT community is being kept from active participation in the betterment of our society. Boy was I wrong. Merely walking into the UC on Wednesday September 21 was enough to remind me that I am still a second-class citizen. What was this reminder? A hate crime? No. A person using derogatory language about gays? No. It was a blood drive.

Homosexuals have been prevented from donating blood since the 1980’s because of the then high correlation between homosexuals and the AIDS virus, HIV. In today’s society it seems odd to think that in a world where every blood sample is being tested and much more is known about the virus that such a policy would still be in place.

There are arguments against the legal discrimination against one group’s involvement in society. If gays are prevented from donating blood because of a once statistically high prevalence in the community, then why haven’t other groups been targeted by a similar policy, such as the poor who are statistically more likely to have disease or African-Americans who have had a huge swell in the number of HIV infections since the 1990’s. No one advocates restrictions on these groups from donating, nor should they. They should merely evaluate the situation as it currently stands.

Another argument that should be raised is that HIV is not the death sentence that it once was thought to be. I must admit, I have lost three friends to HIV/AIDS but it was their own faults. Refusal to take the medications that would lengthen your life is the same as tying a noose around your own neck.

I do have friends with HIV who participate regularly in society and have no visible signs of the virus.

Some may say that if I really want to donate I should just lie on the donation questionnaire. My response: I don’t lie to myself or to anybody else because of who I am. Some might say that I just shouldn’t donate or raise a fuss because it isn’t a civil right or a civil liberty.

I agree. Donating blood is not more a right or a liberty than voting or military service. It is a civil responsibility or duty that should be above discrimination.

The final point I will make is that I do not think it is appropriate for educational institutions to allow discrimination on their campuses. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Keagen also agrees with this sentiment. In her time working as an administrator for Harvard, she booted the military off the campus because she cited the policy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell conflicted with university anti-discrimination policy.

Allowing blood drives on campus is endorsing discrimination which is against our university’s policy.

I am not advocating that all people should not give blood or that others should be discriminated against, but I am arguing that it is inconsistent to allow discrimination on a campus that prides itself on its inclusion.

If every college campus who had similar policies began booting blood drives from campus and explicitly stating why, the policy put in place by the Food and Drug Administration would be repealed in short order.

I think every person should ask themselves, “Would I rather die because there is a shortage of my blood type or have the blood that has been tested and is clean of someone who may be a homosexual or bisexual male flowing through my veins?”

— Derek Fuzzell, Economics Senior


  • Danny Haszard

    Bravo Blood donors!
    Jehovah's Witnesses blood transfusion confusion.
    Tens of thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses including countless children that have perished since the 1940s when the no blood doctrine was enforced.

    1) Jehovah's Witness do use many parts 'fractions' components of blood,so if it's 'sacred' to God why the hypocritical contradiction flip-flop?

    2) They use blood collections that are donated by Red Cross and others but don't donate back,more hypocrisy.

    3) The Watchtower promotes and praises bloodless elective surgeries,this is a great advancement indeed, it's no good to me if I am bleeding to death from a car crash and lose much of my blood volume and need EMERGENCY blood transfusion

    The Watchtower society leaders of Jehovah's Witnesses will not allow a follower to pre store their OWN blood called autologous blood,yet allows the transfusion of so-called Hemopure made from Bovine cow blood.

    Danny Haszard

    dannyhaszard(dot)com

  • Yosef

    Homosexuality is not exclusive to college campuses. It seems that you are taking an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach. Banning blood drives on campuses only means that blood drives will continue everywhere else, with continuing discrimination. It also deprives blood agencies of a large base of willing donors, which I would argue, is larger than the potential base of homosexual donors. Why should blood agencies be deprived of even more blood donors because of the FDA's belief that until an error-free HIV test can be devised homosexual donors should be banned from donating?

    Maybe you should ask yourself – "Would I rather die because there is no blood available or have the blood of discriminatory origin flowing through my veins?"

  • Yosef

    Homosexuality is not exclusive to college campuses. It seems that you are taking an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach. Banning blood drives on campuses only means that blood drives will continue everywhere else, with continuing discrimination. It also deprives blood agencies of a large base of willing donors, which I would argue, is larger than the potential base of homosexual donors. Why should blood agencies be deprived of even more blood donors because of the FDA's belief that until an error-free HIV test can be devised homosexual donors should be banned from donating?

    Maybe you should ask yourself – "Would I rather die because there is no blood available or have the blood of discriminatory origin flowing through my veins?"

  • Luke

    Derek, I believe there are better avenues thru which we can change this policy. The salience you have provided in this article is a great start, my applause. A boycott on campus driven by the LGBT community, I think, would undermine the great strides toward acceptance they have made recently. The public would likely view this thru a risk/benefit lens. And frankly, the risk outweighs the benefit here. The amount of blood lost and the potential negative sentiment that the LGBT community would draw are much worse than the access to donation it would gain. Therefore, my advice would be to continue the salience campaign via a more positive approach. See if you can get some attention during the upcoming campaign season and contact GLBT Political Caucus or other groups you may know of that can take direct political action, but I don't believe that public perception of a boycott would bode well for the LGBT community.

  • M. Sias

    I am straight, but I do not donate blood due to a chronic illness that affects my blood. I must say this was enlightening to me. I did not know LBGT was not allowed to give blood. I feel that anyone that is not HIV positive should be allowed to donate blood..

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