White DE version 2

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Big Gay List

I just posted a comment on Ethan's post about giving blood that I am on 'The Big Gay List'.

Throughout high school and college, I always gave blood at all of our blood drives. It was a good thing to do and it got you out of class for an hour or so. My first donation was a little scary, but over quickly. They tested me for healthy iron levels (thumbs up) and my blood type (A+). They also ask you a series of questions. Most of them, I had no problem with. I have never been to Africa, never had cancer, never done drugs, blah blah blah... Then they get to the question I hate. "Have you, even once, had sex with a man since 1977?"

My honest answer, even in high school, would have been yes. Knowing the reasoning behind the question and knowing that I had never had unsafe sex, I always lied and said no. No one ever questioned it, so I never thought twice about it. They never even looked up from the paper when they asked. They expect you to say no. So, on it went...every 6 months or so, I would donate blood. When I entered college, I worked at the Student Health Center, so I had even more opportunity to donate.

Once, during the summer after my freshman year, a friend and I were dangerously low on cash. We decided an easy way to make $30 would be to donate plasma. We headed down to the Levee where the blood bank place is and did it. When the machine was recycling and pumping blood/saline back into my arm, the needle slipped and the liquid started to gather under the skin. I told them to just remove it, I wanted to be done with it. I got a big lecture about having just given a LOT of whole blood and I wouldn't be able to donate for an extended period of time. No problem, I thought...I am not signing up for this any time soon.

About a year later, another friend of mine was low on cash and was going to donate. I decided I would tag along. My waiting period was up and I could always use a little extra cash. (The experience from my first time had faded into a glossed-over memory.) We got there and did the deal. (Everything worked out fine this time.) As we were heading to the counter, the location manager asked me to join her in one of the conference rooms.

She said she was sorry to tell me that they wouldn't be able to accept my donation today because I was homosexual. I told her that, yes, I am homosexual...but they didn't ask me anything about that. She said that a person working in the facility had seen me at the Sportsman, a local gay bar. Because of this, she would not be able to take my donation, but I would still be paid. I asked her how going to a gay bar had anything to do with the screening questions I had been asked. "Have you, even once, had sex with a man since 1977?" She just kept repeating that question. I told her that, no, I have not had sex with a man...ever. She said, "Well, you just told me that you are a homosexual, didn't you?" Yes, I had said that. I wasn't aware that you couldn't be gay unless you were sexually active. She told me that since I identified as a homosexual, she must, then, conclude that I have had sex with a man...and gays tend to be promiscuous - leading to HIV, so she couldn't accept my blood. This is when my blood started to boil. (No pun, or whatever, intended.) I stood up and started firing questions at her.

Since I was at a gay bar, I must be gay? Since I am gay, I must have had sex with a man? Since I had sex with a man, that makes me promiscuous? Since I am promiscuous, I must have unsafe sex? Since I have unsafe sex, I must have HIV?

Her only response: "Yes, that is what I assume."

I told her that her line of logic took me from being in a gay establishment to having HIV...that's a pretty big jump.

Enraged is hardly a strong enough word to describe the hatred and anger I felt at this point. I demanded to know who said that they saw me there. I did not recognize anyone in the building. She told me that they have an anonymity policy for people to report such things under. (Understandable, I suppose.) I then asked her why it was ok for this other dirty gay man to WORK there...HANDLING blood all day? She said that was none of my concern, and that the person in question was certainly not a 'dirty gay man'. (Yeah, break in logic...we were both in the same place...I must have HIV, but not him.) I asked her if this man saw me having dirty butt sex in the bathroom. Did he see me giving a blowjob on a barstool? Was I barebacking on the bar? No. No. No.

Then, unfortunately, I started asking her personal questions. Have YOU had sex with a man, even once, since 1977? She said yes, of course she had. Have you, EVERY TIME, used protection? She said, "Obviously not, I have 2 children." Do YOU use a condom when you give a blowjob? "Well...no..." I stopped dead in my tracks at this point. I was so angry I was near tears. I looked at her dead in the eye and said, "You have just admitted to having an infinitely greater amount of unsafe sex than I ever have...Do you see what doesn't make sense here?" She looked down at the desk and mumbled the most hateful thing I think I have ever heard. "I have to make certain assumptions based on your sexuality."

Anyway...Now I am on 'The Big Gay List'. I can not donate blood or organs. It's even in my medical records. If I am admitted to the hospital, one of the first things an nurse or physician will see on my chart is 'homosexual'...aka 'careful with your gloves'.


Blogger Craig said...

About 8 years ago I got a phone call from the bone marrow list people...She told me this sad story about a little girl who just happend to be a perfect match with me and she was dieing. The women brought me to tears on the phone and then we started the questionaire. She then basicaly told me she would rather let the little girl die then take my blood because I had my nipple peirced 4 months earlier. I felt guilty for weeks.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Rigo said...

That is some fucked up shit. I'm sure it took lots of restraint to keep you from bitchslapping her.

10:44 PM  
Blogger . said...

Yea...I ahve not read Ethan's post yet...but alas I, like you gave blood for years while I was married to keep up the front and continually lied about my sexual escapades. I felt I was OK since I never fucked or was fucked. When i FINALLY came out, I stipped going to the American Red Cross to give since I knew I couldn't. I kills me that these people that are judging us are probably at a MUCH higher risk than most gays since we learned to be safe long ago. Most straight guys I know REFUSE to use a condom when they mess around, "she's on the pill," they say...um honey the pill doesn't protect from disease!

12:23 AM  
Blogger Incognito said...

I officially can't open your blog from work for at least a week... I keep forgetting this post is on here... nasty boy

8:49 PM  

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