A ban on gay men donating blood in the UK has now being lifted after it was decided the rule in place was discriminatory and was breaching equality legislation. But with the new proposed rule now allowing gay men to only donate blood on the proviso that they haven’t had sex in ten years pauses one to consider how much has really changed. That said the UK Telegraph now reports such a lifting has reignited fears amongst British transfusion patients.
telegraph.co.uk: Gay rights campaigners have pushed for the ban to be lifted, saying many homosexual men are in long-term monogamous relationships, practise safe sex or have been celibate for years.
A Government source said: “A complete ban is unfair and discriminatory but we need to protect public health, so the 10-year rule is what is being considered.”
10 years? One has to wonder by sheer definition what defines a gay man. Is it the act of identifying oneself a gay man? It’s culture or by the idea one is gay as long as they engage in same sex? If a man hasn’t had sex with another man in ten years- can society really judge him to be gay despite their professed sexual orientation? In the strictest sense can a man be considered to still be gay if he hasn’t had same sex in ten years and if so is the current proposed policy shift a kind of obtuse idea essentially singling out gay culture?
The current system is based on trust. There are no checks to ensure donors are telling the truth about their sexuality and around seven per cent of sexually active gay men are thought to give blood despite the ban.
Which begs the question with the UK’s public health minister Anne Milton pushing for a change in transfusion status if somehow the rule is perversely even more discriminatory than what current standards of the law currently in place? So much for trust.