Outdated policy offensive, invalid

On Aug. 18, I wandered aimlessly around campus with a friend of mine, a hobby of ours from high school. We stumbled upon the blood drive and decided to donate since we both like to help out whenever we can and had nothing better to do.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t donate because of the medicine I was taking at the time. As always, I shared my frustration with all my friends on Facebook and I got a comment on my status that started an interesting conversation, one that got me very riled up.

While I was complaining about not being able to donate blood that day, a homosexual friend of mine brought a policy issue to my attention that bans him from donating at all. Unbeknownst to me, there is a law in place that permanently prohibits any male who has had sex with another male from 1977 to the present day from giving blood.

As is my nature when I hear of such an injustice, I went ballistic. When I researched the topic further, I realized  how absurd it is to have such a policy in place.

It is obvious that the reason for the law’s creation is the stigma about gays and HIV/AIDS. Back in 1983 when the law was passed, HIV was the termed the “gay disease”. Everyone assumed that gay people had sex with multiple partners and spread it to all of them.

Being a part of a multicultural tolerance program in which discriminatory myths were dispelled, contrary to most assumptions, homosexuals are not the majority when it comes to having HIV. The largest group is actually African American females. So the driving force behind the law holds no validity.

Besides the fact that the law is based on myths and stereotypes, all donated blood is checked for diseases anyway. Why ban a certain group of people when the blood will be analyzed regardless of a donor’s answer to the question: Do you have HIV/AIDS?

There is no reason for such a law, yet it still stands even though it was revisited just a few years ago. Unfortunately, our old, close-minded government voted to maintain it. This is 2011 and this is the United States. The law is unnecessary and it discriminates against our citizens.

Therefore, it must go.

August 28, 2011


Ashley Irven

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