Americans are more likely to be killed by lightning than get HIV from a blood transfusion. So why is there still a lifetime ban on gay men donating blood? Amanda Hess looks into the structural homophobia of the blood supply:
Even some guys who are otherwise out of the closet have copped to lying to donate blood as a political statement. “Like jury duty, donating blood is something I consider my civic duty,” a gay blood donor wrote on Queerty in 2009. “And because I’m committed to donating blood, I regularly lie to the Red Cross about my sexuality.” The donor declined to include a byline. Back in 2002, Canadian blood donor Kyle Freemanwrote an anonymous email to Canadian Blood Services informing the agency that he had donated blood 18 times despite the country’s lifetime ban on donations from men who have had sex with men. “I am a gay man and have been involved in a long-term committed relationship,” he wrote. “Both my partner and myself [have] been tested for the HIV virus and are both negative and intend to stay that way. We are both very honest people and are both blood donors.” Canadian Blood Services didn’t see it that way: It tracked Freeman’s IP address, outed him, and sued him for $100,000 for lying on his blood screening questionnaire.
I am shocked that this is still (or ever was) an outstanding rule! Woah.