Blodgivning och män som har sex med män

Sedan 2013 får män som har (haft) sex med män (MSM) ge blod, om de avhållit sig från att ha sex med någon man på minst 12 månader. Att likaställa sexuell läggning med riskbeteende har inget stöd i verkligheten. George Takei skriver följande på sin blogg That Blog Is So Takei.

 

this blood is certified 100% straightOn Christmas Eve, I opened the New York Times to read what seemed terrific news: The FDA finally had lifted its 37-year ban on blood donations by gay men. Since 1977, an insidious policy presumed that gay blood was tainted with HIV and therefore might endanger the national blood supply. When men went to donate, they would be asked whether they had “sexual contact with a male, even once.”  A “yes” earned you a “lifetime deferral”– forever banning you from donating blood. Despite significant advances in testing that reduced the risk of accidental infection to just one in two million units, the FDA held that gay blood was a threat to public health, and it would not be accepted, period.

While the FDA finally agreed that the ban would at last be lifted, the finer print revealed a startling exception: Gay men could donate, but only if they had not had any sex with another man for 12 months. It seems only celibate gay men will be accepted as donors.

My blood, which I’d been ready to donate, was boiling. I was reminded instantly of Pearl Harbor, after thousands of Japanese American men rushed to local military recruiting offices to sign up, only to be told that they’d been reclassified as “enemy aliens” and rejected for service. The government once more had presumed a whole group were unsuitable based on the fear that some of them might pose a genuine threat.

This desexualizing of gay people is also nothing new. Until recently, the U.S. military enforced its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which, rather than provide equality to gay people, led to even more invidious discrimination by only permitting closeted LGBT people to serve, as if there was something inherently bad about being gay.

The FDA justifies the celibacy requirement by noting HIV transmission rates are far higher among gay men than among straight men. But the Centers for Disease Control estimated in 2007 that HIV rates among, for example, African American women were 18 times higher than other women—more even than the presumed prevalence rate difference between gay and straight men. Yet there has never been a blanket deferral period for black women to donate blood, nor should there be.

Officially sanctioned government stigmatization carries other substantial but overlooked social consequences. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the notion of “dirty” gay blood further social stereotypes about gay men that promote a culture of violence and bullying. LGBTs youth are four times as likely as their straight peers to commit suicide, making it the second leading cause of death among LGBT youth. If we’re worried about lives being lost, we must think comprehensively about what effects government policies have.

Moreover, the logic here, if extended, could justify all manner of profiling on grounds of national security. Some argue, for example, that most acts of terror committed against U.S. interests and citizens are perpetrated by Muslims. Be we should not and cannot presume from this that all Muslims are potentially dangerous. These sorts of presumptions are odious; they are anathema to our way of life and to basic notions of fairness.

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