Thursday, August 4, 2011

Because We Shouldn't Have To

"They say you can imitate anybody, even their voice."
"Even their voice."
"They why not stay is disguise all the time?"
"Because we shouldn't have to."
-Mystique and Nightcrawler in X-Men II

I don't imagine many people found this short exchange of lines in the movie so revolutionary, but I did and still do. It's part of how I feel my sexuality is treated.

I'm bisexual. Sure, I could life my life as straight, but I shouldn't have to. It would be tantamount to refusing to use my left hand just because my right is primary.

I am fortunate to live in a fairly open-minded area, but unfortunate to live in a country that disallows gays from donating blood. Gays, not homosexuals. The rules set down by the FDA specifically target gays.

Transexuals are deferred for life if they had sex with men while male, but if they only had sex with men while female, they are not deferred. Women who have sex with men who have had sex with men are only deferred for one year, which is the period of time it takes to be certain whether one has HIV or AIDS. Only men who have had sex with men are deferred indefinitely, regardless how long ago it was, how comprehensively they've been tested, how certain science is that they are clean and healthy.

There are countries in the world who have recognized this as what it is: irrational fear and discrimination. There are countries that allow men who have had sex with men to donate blood.

Right now, the United States is going through a blood shortage. It's not just limited to this local area, nor to any particular blood collection service. This is everybody. And yet, because of one out-dated rule, upwards of thirty percent of the male population (source) has been denied the ability to help the problem.

I work for a local blood collection service, as well as being a regular blood donor. I know what is defined as sex in the medical deferral book: any sexual contact where bodily fluids can and have been exchanged, oral, vaginal, and anal.

It is true that I could lie about having had sex with men. But I shouldn't have to.