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Blood Pressure

Blood Pressure

Canadian Blood Services will now allow gay men to give blood. Hurray! Finally after years of being banned from donating blood that can save lives, gay men are allowed to give the gift of life. Well, almost.

Health Canada’s announcement seemed like a great step forward in reversing an old policy that was based in fear and discrimination. The CBS banned men who have sex with men form giving blood even before the onset of the AIDS crisis. Gay and bisexual men have been banned from giving blood since 1977, ostensibly to protect from the spread of HIV.

The CDS has cloaked itself in what looks like a progressive change in policy but is actually just promoting provisional homophobia.

Many gay and bisexual men have regarded the CBS policy as being discriminatory so at first glance this looks like great progress and a change in policy that is long overdue. However, there’s a catch.  Gay men and men who have sex with men must not have had sex with a same sex partner in the past 5 years to be eligible to donate blood. Question: where are you going to find one of those?

Instead of this being a step forward, the CBS has cloaked itself in what looks like a progressive change in policy but is actually just promoting provisional homophobia. Nothing has changed. Men who have sex with men are still pretty much shut out of the blood donor world. This policy update is still predicated on the idea that all gay and bisexual men have multiple partners and do not practice safer sex. Yes, some gay and bi men do—so do some straight people.

The CBS has moved itself into the future with this policy change.
They are now living in 1986.

This policy update is just as discriminatory as it ever was—and the qualification for donation just plain ridiculous. How, exactly, does one prove they have not had a same sex partner in the past 5 years if asked by the CBS? Does one just smile, say ‘no’ and pop a vein?

I could go on with a litany of scenarios and statistics about the safer sex practices, demographics, or the unfettered—and often unsheathed—boning in the heterosexual world but why bother? Suffice to say the CBS has moved itself into the future with this policy change. They are now living in 1986. Guess I’ll be keeping my pristine platelets to myself.

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andrewv100x100Andrew Vail’s writing career began in Halifax when he was but a child. In Grade 4, he wrote and produced his own series of comic books entitled “Freaky The Frog”, the on-going tale of a little misfit frog and his pals of the pond. Marvel Comics never came knocking but Andrew knew he loved to create and tell stories. Since then, Andrew has worked in advertising, PR and publicity; has interviewed politicians, rock stars and very interesting yet not-so-famous movers and shakers. He has published articles in a variety of local and national magazines and websites.


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2 Comments

  1. I wanted to say ‘YAY!’ but then after reading the details in your article… boo. Seriously dumb of them.

  2. Hehe pristine platelets

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