Today at work, someone walked by a group of three or four of us and said the blood donation mobile was out in the parking lot if anyone wanted to give blood. I commented that I cannot give blood. One of my coworkers said, "Get out," another said, "You'll pass out," and another said, "You're just scared." I further stated, "No, I'm serious. I cannot give blood." Now my lifestyle is no secret at work; most, if not all of my collegues, know I'm gay. Finally one woman asked me, "Why can't you give blood?" I said, "because I'm gay and they won't take a gay person's blood." Her response was, "You gotta be kidding me! In this day and age?!"
Yes, it's true! The American Red Cross will not allow a gay person, well actually, "if you are a man and have had sex with another man, even once." to donate blood. Even in the year 2007, gay men are excluded from donating blood. The Red Cross checks blood after it's been collected, and if not able to be used due to infection, discards that blood. Even so, a gay man cannot donate. Even during a catostrophic incident, such as Katrina, when blood is desperately needed, the Red Cross will not take the blood of a gay man.
Discrimination? Perhaps. Can't a woman be HIV+? How many men lie about not having any sexual encounter with another man? Maybe it's time the Red Cross move into the 21st century and change its policy.