Discriminatory blood drive dilemma

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With the buzz of the blood drive still humming around Marion, it’s important to be informed to the discriminatory policies the FDA has in place. Before 2015, it was illegal for a man who had had sex with a man ever in his life to donate blood, regardless of STD history or bill of health. In 2015, the ban was changed to within a year of having sex. The policy came from the AIDS scare of 1983, when gay people, specifically gay men, were stereotyped as being the breading ground for the HIV virus.

Marion High School has an excellent blood drive program that many students participate in. The donated blood helps those who need transfusions from disease or injury. One such tragedy that needed blood was the Pulse Club shooting on Sunday, June 12, 2016. The gay club had a shooting incident and the LGBT community rallied behind to help by donating blood, but unfortunately, thousands were turned away due to their sexuality. Gay men couldn’t help their injured brothers and sisters. Despite the outcry, the ban was not lifted.

With the ridiculous nature of the ban and harm it has brought, why is it still in place? The answer is simple: ignorance. Haley Blazek, senior, gave her opinion on the FDA policy saying “It’s a biased and uninformed policy, because there are other precautions that can be taken, and it’s not just a sole group of people at risk for HIV.” Essentially, ignorance is the root of the the homophobic policy.

The gay community wants to give, but blind prejudice and outdated medical views prohibit the donation of precious blood. Bigotry holds back healing, not just in a metaphorical sense. As long as ignorance exists, there won’t be equality in the medical world.

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