Friday, 30 October 2009

An end to the gay blood donor ban? Don't hold your breath

I had a hope that the NHS blood donation service would come into the 21st century. I hoped that this most powerful of health authorities in the UK would stop telling the country that gay people are inherently diseased and I hoped that they would help an increasingly more IGNORANT population realise that AIDS can afflict anyone - regardless of sexuality, that it wasn’t just a gay disease

I hoped the NHS would show some sense. I hoped they cast aside a pointless piece of homophobia. I hoped they’d let us help them refill their dwindling blood stocks when it is so desperately needed.

Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

Instead the plan that’s currently on the cards is, rather than a LIFETIME ban on men who have ever had oral sex or anal sex even with a condom, there will only be a ban of 5 years.

So if you’re a celibate gay man then you can give blood. Hey, kinda reminds me of the Catholic Church! It’s ok to be gay - so long as you’re lonely, celibate, sexless martyr who does everything in their power to be as straight as possible.

But hey, all you repressed basket cares, you can give blood,. Because that’s the HEALTHY way to be gay. That makes your blood less toxic to the noble het blood stream. That way you may have cleansed your blood of most of the nasty gay cooties.

So, yeah - let’s review:
Heterosexual man who has unprotected sex with a different woman every night: CAN GIVE BLOOD NOW
Heterosexual man who has unprotected sex with a woman he KNOWS has HIV: CAN GIVE BLOOD so long as he doesn’t think he has the disease
Heterosexual man who has unprotected sex with several prostitutes: CAN GIVE BLOOD AFTER 1 YEAR
Those who have had unprotected sex with an intravenous drug user: CAN GIVE BLOOD AFTER ONE YEAR
Those who have had unprotected sex abroad in a high risk HIV country: CAN GIVE BLOOD AFTER ONE YEAR

A gay man who has oral sex with a condom?: CAN GIVE BLOOD AFTER 5 YEARS. MAYBE. But we‘re not sure yet. This is like, revolutionary risky thinking, y‘know

Yeah, this is my not impressed face. -_- See? It’s not even remotely impressed.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Blood Donor ban on Gay/Bi men may be ending.

The news is that, with Swine Flu apparently doing terrible things to the blood supply (not entirely sure why. I assume lack of donors) the NHS is finally considering the horrible risk of letting gayness into you precious het-blood.

The NHS in the UK currently forbids men who have had anal or oral sex with another man EVER from donating blood. Ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re 50 now and had oral sex with a condom ONCE 35 years ago. You cannot give blood.

This has always annoyed me. My whole family give blood. From the age of 17 to 65 they always give blood as often as they can unless medically they are unable to do so. My parents, my brother my aunts and uncles - literally all of them. I always greatly resented being considered inherently unfit to give blood based on very empty and preliminary assumptions and judgments about me. I also, on a deeply personal level, resented the ban because when I turned 17 I wasn’t READY to come out and didn’t want to - naturally my family expected me to give blood and didn’t understand why I wouldn’t. I admit to being rather bitter at being put in that situation at a time when I did not need the stress.

So, I have to say that my dislike of the NHS’ policy here is probably magnified by my personal experiences.

Let me make this clear - and to quote the blood ban petition

A straight man who has unprotected sex with a different girl every weekend can give blood TODAY
A straight man who has had unprotected sex with several prostitutes can give blood AFTER ONE YEAR
Those who have had unprotected sex with an intravenous drug user can give blood AFTER ONE YEAR
Those who have had unprotected sex abroad in a high risk HIV country can give blood AFTER ONE YEAR

Gay men are banned FOR LIFE, even if they've only ever had sex with one partner - and even if they used protection.

I'll add that by the NHS blood donor's own website it seems a straight man who has unprotected sex with a girl he knows is HIV+ can give blood after 1 year so long as he doesn't THINK he is HIV+

However, the policy appears to make no practical sense. While it is true that there are higher levels of AIDS among gay men than straight men, the majority of HIV carriers in the UK are not gay and heterosexual sex is by far the biggest transmitter of HIV in the UK. Add in that the blood supply is vigorously checked then denying a source of much needed blood like this is not only ridiculous prejudice - but it’s foolish and destructive.

The NHS is also not helping any sensible anti-AIDS campaign with this. Ignorance about AIDS continually paints it as a gay disease. In fact, according to the Terrence Higgins Trust, that ignorance is actually GROWING with a greater number of heterosexuals today believing heterosexual sex doesn’t pass the virus than there was in 2000.

We need to slam this home - this is NOT a gay disease. Gay people are not inherently diseased because we had the big bad gay sex and gay sex is not inherently harmful. At the same time straight people are

And when you decide that a gay man of 60 who had oral sex with a condom at the age of 20 cannot give blood because he’s an AIDS risk but a heterosexual man have unprotected sex with 10 different women a week is considered ok so long as he isn’t paying for it - well, that is really not slamming the message home.

Let us hope that this discriminatory practice is now ending.

There is also a Petition here you can sign in favour of ending the ban

Our blood supplies are low. That can only ever put people at risk. I - and mine - want to help. Do not risk innocents for the sake of preserving prejudice

Friday, 16 October 2009

Jan Moir - please feel free....

...to jump out of a high window at the earliest opportunity. The world will be a lot better place without your vileness.

I had a lot to do today, but I feel rather diverted now by outrage. Gah, homophobes please stop for a bit? I need to catch up!

Jan Moir, for those blessed not to know, is a columnist with the Daily Mail. That should already tell you she's a person who should be arrested for wasting good air. But she manages to excell herself by being more tasteless and more repellent than even that paper normally manages.

As we probably all know, Stephen Gately, the openly gay Boyzone star, recently and tragically died at the age of 33 of pulmonary oedema. All reports point to it being a completely natural, but tragic death

Here is a link to the comment she has just written about Stephen Gately's death. I'd warn against reading if you have high blood pressure or if there's anything fragile on your computer desk.

The original title was: "Why there was nothing 'natural' about Stephen Gately's death." Yeah, I see what you did there! The title alone raised my blood pressure. The title was dropped (though they forgot to edit the side bar. Arse-covering bigots have little attention to detail) in the outrage storm. However, the article remains in all its vile glory

Really, most of it needs no comment - it's just so obviously awful and bigoted nothing I can add will really matter - but let's draw out some of the most repellent excerpts

fans know to expect the unexpected of their heroes - particularly if those idols live a life that is shadowed by dark appetites or fractured by private vice.

And she refers to Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson who, yes, were known to have tragic vices and troubled lives.

Stephen Gately? Not so much. Oh but he was GAY. Is that a dark appetite or private vice, Ms Moir?

Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.

Really Dr. Moir? Oh wait, you’re not a doctor. In which case please help yourself to a big cup of STFU and stop showing your ignorance. Yes, amazingly enough, 33 year olds CAN die suddenly, naturally and unexpectedly as any half way competent doctor can tell you.

After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.

Or, to remove the homophobic spin, after a night clubbing, Cowles and Gately took someone back to their hotel with them. Y’know I’ve invited my own friends back home and back to hotels we me. Male, female, straight and gay.

Of course, being a gay man I simply MUST have been having orgiastic sex with them. Gods forbid that we actually have platonic male friends. Everyone knows we’re all fucking like bunnies the minute you take your eyes off us.

Another real sadness about Gately's death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.

I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over your bigotry. It does WHAT?! A young gay man dies suddenly and that indicates WHAT about civil partnerships exactly?! Even if he were having affairs and threesomes left right and centre, how the hell does this say ANYTHING about civil partnerships except to mistress bigot here?

Should we judge straight marriages the same way? ZOMG this heterosexual died young! This proves it! THERE IS NO HAPPY-EVER-AFTER IN HETEROSEXUAL MARRIAGES EVAH!!!!

It is repellent that this was even given the slightest credibility in any paper - even one as vile and repugnant as the Daily Mail. Jan Moir is unfit to be a columnist or a commentator - how can someone so divorced from reality and so steeped in hatred possibly comment intelligently on anything?

Thursday, 1 October 2009

If you read only one post about Lambda drama

Read this one

Because I think it is the most eloquent and powerful statement as to why this is so important and so damn necessary

2 excerpts

Well, I gotta newsflash for you: when I handed over a copy of The Beautiful Room Is Empty and told my teenaged customer, "this book won a Lambda award, and it's about a gay character and the author is gay," -- maybe that statement would mean nothing to you, Ms Straight Writer Who Bemoans Being Excluded -- but you better fucking believe it meant everything to that kid.

That teenaged customer didn't fucking exist, not as his true self, can you get that? He was already halfway in hiding, learning to be invisible. He was learning already to keep quiet about who he liked, that the world around him would always show him pictures of smiling het couples, that even in places where there might be slightly more tolerance that he couldn't expect so many things het-folks would take for granted. The stories are so valuable because they exist in the place where these things do the most damage -- the imagination -- and the one place that could, potentially, be the most private and thus the most precious. In this last resort, this place of the mind, this child now had an ally. He had someone who had blazed the path before him, someone telling the story that might be his, or it might not, but it was a voice in his head telling a story that just might have him in the goddamn starring role for the first time in his entire life.

Nothing I've written or read contains the same impact as this post - or cuts to the heart of why this is so important