Blood War-Fighting The FDA Oppression Of LGBTQ Donors By Kyle Leach

Blood War-Fighting The FDA Oppression Of Gay Donors By Kyle Leach

June is always a endless sea of happiness as I watch LGBTQ express themselves and throw off the burdens and chains that still bind way too many of us. Watching our community emerge from its' cocoon, spread its' wings, and take flight is an empowering affirmation every year. Seeing us grow and publicly share our love and affections never gets old. By the time LGBTQ have finished our month long celebration of who we were, who we are, who we want to be and refocus on the continuing fight against bigots and ultras conservatives, the middle of July has rolled around and I'm pricked by a little sadness. The National Gay Blood Drive starts, an expanding effort I vastly approve of and loathe that it has to exist at all. 

In 2014 gay men still can't donate blood in the United States. Bisexual men can't donate. Some transgendered blood donations are denied. Even though all blood is tested now, even though other high risk populations are not banned, we, as a nation,  continue to let the FDA hold fast to a scientifically flawed, unequally applied, oppressive, Reagan era shame tactic against LGBTQ. To counteract this repressive hold over from the jellybean obsessed, jelly brained, C-movie actor and former President of the "free world" the The National Gay Blood Drive was formed. Visibility and team effort are the goals of this very special project, getting people to donate more blood is icing on the cake. Essentially, gay donors and allies try to find as many people to donor blood for those who are prohibited from donating blood. LGBTQ donors can tell their stories, show their commitment, and send them off with the paperwork. The drive is nationwide, but tends to be concentrated in major cities. The two closet to NH are in Boston, MA and Portland, ME.

I'm not really sure when this started to bother me so much. I noticed when I tried to donate blood in college. The nagging in my gut intensified when blood donation and supplies started to dwindle here in the US. When a crisis hits the nation or another region and everyone rushes to donate blood I feel the keen icy isolation too. Considering how far we have come on so many levels in the past decade this gross exclusion makes me feel worse and worse each time a two month cycle ends. Every two months I could be giving blood to help someone recover lost blood from surgery, help a hemophiliac restore life in their veins, or assist people which need routine transfusions. All of that potential lost each year because a very small group of homophobic bigots managed to get control of the nation three decades ago and few have been brave enough to champion our cause since. All because I love men and choose to express that love, without apology or reservation, instead of choosing to lie or suffer silently while being mistreated.

As a progressive I believe all life is sacred, all suffering unneeded. Our job is sustain life, to make lives better, to make life stronger. The people that fear me because I am a gay man would love for my community to be erased, they would love for us to be silent, but we will not. We will not let them demean us with this discriminatory policy. We will not let them win. You may try to bludgeon us with your hatred, but we will transform it into something beautiful like the National Gay Blood Drive. I hope we can expand this event while we have to. Maybe next year we can get one donation site in NH? Maybe two? My greatest  hope is to not need the event at all. Until then, if you are an eligible donor please give blood as often as you can. Donate because some of us want to help others, but have been told we cannot do so because we are different. Donate blood so bigots and hatred don't get the final word in this arena. Donate blood because it saves lives each and every day.

National Blood Drive Is Fighting the FDA Ban on Gay Donors