2020-Jun-26 - I wrote a rebuttal to a newspaper article. My rebuttal was not published.

In response to "Editorial: Good reason to have wait time in blood donation" - published in the Times Colonist as an Editorial on 2020-Jun-26. I wrote this response to the editor:

The Times Colonist recently published an editorial critiquing MLA Randall Garrison for saying that the current blood collection guidelines are discriminatory towards gay and bisexual men. The author of the article said Garrison's response was biased towards the health of those in our LGBT+ community, and that his response was not science-based, and that the waiting time of three months was meant to protect the blood supply from HIV.

What the author failed to acknowledge is that in order for this policy to be science-based as they claimed it was, then why aren’t all people who engage in sex with men being subject to the same policy? The policy is discriminatory because it’s making a value judgment and assumption in how gay men live. 

Further, the current wording direct from the Canadian Blood Services website states specifically “men are eligible to give blood if it has been more than three months since their last sexual contact with a man.”  This does not say with a new man, this says with any man.This means that all gay men are automatically told that they have to put their intimacy on hold for 3 months every time they want to give blood. Not only in this biased against gay men, but it would be humiliating for anyone to defend the same lifestyle lived by many straight people every day and not queried as to how many different partners they had recently. A straight woman is not considered a risk, despite potentially making high risk choices. The policy infers that by virtue of a man being gay, that he must be throwing caution to the wind in taking care of his sexual health. 

The reason why discussion of this topic makes people uncomfortable is because no one likes admitting that gay men are still being forced to subscribe to different standards of conduct than the rest of society. By this policy’s existence, it is making many moral assumptions on how people live their lives.

To learn more about valuable organizations working to end this discriminatory practice, check out the All Blood is Equal campaign.