Gay Politics

My blood is unclean…

I couldn’t agree more with this piece on gay men being banned from being sperm donors. The same thing happened a few years ago with the blood transfusion service. They’re desperate for donors and yet the rules say (in the UK) that any man who has ever had sex with another man should not donate. I’ve been tested regularly for pretty much everything and am clear, have a relatively rare blood type (A-) and there are chronic blood shortages that could result in deaths. What possible rationale could there be for stopping me from helping?

19 replies on “My blood is unclean…”

Quite so. I can’t give blood because I’ve been to Africa more than once. Presumably I had a shag-tastic time with the festering natives.
My only consolation is that my blood group is both rare and utterly useless… AB can only be donated to other ABs. Whereas we ABs can receive the pure unsullied blood from anyone judged sufficiently non-aberrant to give.

If I had a rare blood group (which I don’t think I do) – I think it’d be amusing to go along, get yourself at the point where they’re just about to insert the needle, and suddenly state “Oh, wait, question 5… sex with men? I suddenly remembered that I’m a big flaming nancy and I have sex with men all the time. Sorry for not saying earlier, I was just looking forward to the cup of tea.”
It’d be worth a hoot for two minutes, at least.

It really is the most ridiculous form of homophobia, but it also has a real grounding in liberal rights too (i think): The plan is to prevent any infected blood entering the pool, and – according to the site – their testing procedures are not 100% accurate. So they have to rule out common groups.
Yes, it’s sucky – I think that for rare blood types, they should enable a more active process of recruiting people, and be more open about it.

umm dont want to point anything obvious out here but your ummmm gay. that means the *chance* of you catching blood borne diseases are far higher.. simple stuff really.
And for the guy that is moaning about the transfusion service in the UK not taking your blood because you have been to Africa – its not because they think you have been having a “shag-fest” you nob – its because once again you are more likely to get blood borne diseases here – Mosquitos are rife. Dare I need to go on..
And dont try and flag me with the “homophobic” flag please – thats just an excuse for ignorance of the wider issues.

I don’t entirely agree with their policy, but I don’t think that it’s homophobic either. They do have to be very careful. Not only could an infected sample spread disease; they can be (and have been) sued under the Consumer Protection Act for providing a “defective product”. So they exclude groups that are classed as high-risk. If even 20% of people who are allowed to give blood did so, there still wouldn’t be any shortage whatsoever.
Sperm, however, the policy makes less sense for. It stays in the banks for longer, so testing is more reliable than in quick-turnover blood banks. And as we’re not exactly likely to pass our genes on to a child in the normal way, it’s good for the gene pool for gay men to contribute to sperm banks.

I don’t know, Stevo. I think your argumentation is lacking.
I’m sure you know, just as well as I, that there are lots of straight people fucking around without much control, while there are many responsible and precautious gays who don’t. (And vice versa of course.) Who do you think put themselves at greater risk?
You’re suggesting that these people should go before me in line just because I occasionally fuck men I know aren’t infected. Is that the good policy you support?
Your argumentation is thereto based on chance: very scientific indeed..

Stevo, two questions… have you ever given blood, and are you familiar with HIV transmission statistics?
If you have ever given blood you will be aware that before you donate you are asked a number of questions which include whether you have ever been infected with various diseases (including, for instance, hepatitis etc). Whilst mosquitos are responsible for the transmission of a variety of diseases (such as malaria) you will undoubtedly know if you have caught one of them. They do not transmit the HIV virus.
If you were familiar with HIV infection statistics you would know that nearly two thirds of all new infections in the UK are as a result of heterosexual sex. See

The truth about “quick-turnover blood banks” is that blood can be stored 6 months without much hassle, meaning there’s plenty of time for prolific testing.

this one’s a tricky one
when i first started riding a motorbike, i went from being pulled over by the cops once a year or so, to being pulled over every couple of months. i quizzed a couple as to why and they pointed out that a lot of bikers on the road were out of order– about 10% pulled over had dud licences for example (!).
i’d joined a highrisk group where the risk affected other people.
re aids: gays “on average”/”as a category” are still far more likely to be infected than straights. in this country, anyway.
1/ PRO this approach: put yourself in the position of a responsible person attempting to set policy for a population, all of whom will have to live with the consequences of your actions. looking at big groups, you really have to lean towards the overall probabilities. the categories might be rubbish, but if they’re the only categories you’ve got that give you extra predictive power (statistical term), it’s not fair to everyone to ignore them. the current porn-industry problems are an indication of the downside of even a couple of infected donaters. and remember, they’re compulsorily tested monthly AND use a special test unavailable in the UK which has only a two WEEK latency period, as opposed to the normal three month.
2/ CON this approach: but having had an aids test in this country, i was ready to kill the people in the clinic for their sneering supercilious whining incompetent pseudo-superior attitude. and they had no *(&^%$ idea what the reality of the situation was but were very very happy to bang the drum for category this and regulation that. and i’m straight so didn’t even get the homophobia thrown in. rargh.
“ohhhh you’ve been to asia… you are at high risk”
“…. singapore has a lower aids rate than even estonia.”
“no, asia is high risk”
“asia is not one country. you might be thinking of thailand?”
“[panic!: authority not being worshipped fearfully!] do you WANT this test or NOT!?”
jesus, choke a jobsworthy today everyone

the reason why your not allowed to donate your blood is probably cause they dont want people being infected with your genes and being turned into raging queens – its kind of the same thing for vampires I hear.

They banish all kinds of ‘high risk groups’, including heteros who have had more than a specefied number of sexual partners per annum. Given the problems with the blood supply in my country I have no problem with this… even though I could donate based on these rules.

I am not homophobic but as it is undetermined where the Gay gene comes from it does create a problem with legal issues if the parent is to be given sperm which later is claimed in court to be the cause.

There is no Gay gene. I hate that term, when it gets discussed in this manner, it medicalises homosexuality. Are we heading back to putting homosexuality in the DSM-IV?

Carl, I don’t know what the DSM-IV is but I’m guessing it isn’t good. I am willing to accept the possibility that the Gay gene doesn’t exist but what is the alternative. I’m not suggesting that it is a bad thing or that I am singling out the “Gay gene” as I would say there was a “Straight” gene as well. If the explanation of a Gay gene offends you I apologise but have you got another explanation

Carl, I understand exactly where you’re coming from, but I’m afraid that whatever the cause is for people being straight or gay it can be medicalised. If people are the sexuality they are for biological reasons, then people can describe it as a defect or abberation. Same thing if it’s associated with inter-uterine conditions. But then again, it can also be just as easily medicalised if it’s a consequence of upbringing and can be considered a sign of moral weakness if it’s considered a choice. There are of course parallel positive versions of all of these – that one’s sexuality is ‘natural’ if it’s biologically deriven or represents ‘freedom’ or ‘choice’ if it’s not biological. The direction that people will chose to take will depend on whether they think people have a choice in their own sexuality and whether people consider it disgusting or interesting. I’m gay, so I obviously don’t consider it a bad thing, but I’d still quite like to know why I’m gay and why my brother is straight. I would be appalled if people used this information to oppress gay people, but then I’d be appalled if people oppressed gay people generally.

Yeah, this is a variant of the “cootie” syndrome. We have the same dumb rules here in South Africa. I couldn’t even give blood prior to my sister delivering her baby (reserve blood for emergencies).
My position is, if they can’t test the damn stuff, I don’t want any no matter *where* it comes from. Especially in this country.
Oh, and yeah, I’d also like to know, like you (out of curiosity) the reason I’m gay. I strongly suspect it’s genetic. As I mentioned in a blog post the other day (based on one of your other blog posts!) if it’s biological, yes, it may give reason for people to treat it like a disease – but since when are we scared of the *truth*?

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