Let It Bleed

As the President of Free To Be, the University of Vermont’s GLBT Alliance, I want to publicly address the Red Cross’ blood drives in the UVM dorms.

In accordance with the FDA, men who have sex with men (MSM) are permanently banned from giving blood unless their last male partner was prior to the year 1977. These federal regulations are blatantly homophobic. For example, a woman who has had sex with a MSM since 1977 only has to wait 12 months to donate blood. She is not permanently disallowed to donate.

At the last blood drive, a few LGBT students circulated a petition to stop the Red Cross blood drives in the UVM dorms, as it is supposed to be a safe, non-oppressive living space.

While I am a member of the LGBT community, I am opposed to this form of action. I feel that the FDA’s MSM regulation must be amended, but, denying people blood is not the solution. Every one who can give blood should, especially in this time of impending war.

Instead of boycotting blood drives, let’s end the inequality of the MSM regulation and encourage every donor to sign it. Let’s work WITH the local Red Cross to find the most efficient and positive means of making change.

I speak for myself as well as many others in the Free To Be community, but I certainly don’t speak for all of us. While we are very much divided on how to solve the inequality of the MSM policy, we are united in the realization that its implications have for too long gone unchanged.