Monday, October 03, 2005

shame

Another three months have rolled by, and it's again time for the quarterly blood drive here in my building.

Of course, fags need not apply.

Having given blood in college I was aware that they ask a question about man-on-man sexual activity. However, in college I would have never admitted I was gay to a total stranger, and I hadn't given blood since college, so I wasn't aware of the repercussions of answering "yes" to a question on gay sex.
That is, until I signed up for the blood drive last spring.
When I went upstairs for my appointment at 11:00 a.m. the room was completely empty. COMPLETELY. And there are probably thousands of people who work in the two towers.
There were volunteers sitting around, chatting, eating those shitty little snacks they give you to get your blood sugar up, and just looking bored in general. While I was filling out my paperwork they even asked if I would be willing to go back to my office and try to recruit a few more coworkers.

Then I was called behind the curtain. The nurse's eyes scanned my form, and then stopped at the gay question. She frowned slightly, tapped her pen on her teeth, leaned forward, flipped through her "Big Book of Blood Do's and Don'ts" for a few moments, then looked up and told me that they couldn't accept my blood because I've had sex with a man and that I would be permanently prohibited from donating.
I was speechless. And pissed. Pissed at her not because she was turning me down, which was undoubtedly beyond her control, but because she acted like she'd never faced this situation before and had to look at her goddamn book for an answer, even though she knew exactly the kind of bigotry that was being propagated. Chicken-shit nurse.
I voiced my disappointed and then fled the room, red-faced and sweating with my heart pounding, feeling so ashamed of myself, even though I had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

I know I was being naïve going up there in the first place, but I was stunned that in this day and age physicians would trust the blood of straight people more than gay people. I mean, this is 2005, not 1985. We all know the truths about HIV and that anyone – ANYONE – can potentially have it.
I go in regularly for my STD tests and I use protection in sexual situations. I'm not saying that all gay men do, but I know all straight people sure as hell don't either.
Why is it still acceptable to treat gay people like second-hand citizens in situation after situation after situation?
I really hope we can look back at all this anti-gay bullshit years from now and shake our heads at how ridiculous it was.

I just hope it happens in my lifetime.

4 Comments:

Blogger hot babe said...

OK, I'm not getting this- since when do we tell the truth???

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

First, In response to hot babes comments, since when do we not tell the truth. Second, I know how you feel. I would love to give blood, but knowing that I can't makes me feel unwanted. When I lived in Africa, I gave blood every chance I could b/c that bias or even that question never came up. They were just happy to have clean good blood that could be used no matter your history. Which I think is funny, would gay men be able to give blood if their really was a blood crisis in this country, would we then be able to contribute just like everyone else. Everyone is a hypocrite. I've always wanted to give blood and then after tell them I slept with a man and see what they say. I'm sorry you had to go through that, nurses suck :-)

8:22 PM  
Blogger denverco said...

I know - I thought of that too. I thought, why don't I just lie and help someone who really needs blood. But then I thought, I shouldn't have to.
I'm getting all proud and political and ornery in my old age.
Yay - I'm glad I got a hotbabe comment!

8:47 AM  
Blogger hot babe said...

Oh Janson- the lies we all tell everyday- too many to count.

4:36 PM  

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