So, I got PR today about a worthy cause…Bloodworks Northwest, who supply blood to hospitals all over the Pacific Northwest is launching it’s 2nd annual “SAVOR LIFE. SAVE A LIFE” blood drive campaign on May 1st. Its goal is to increase the number of blood donations which are badly needed. Covid 19 created a lot of problems with the blood supply (fewer people willing to give blood; more people who need it) and hospitals are still struggling to maintain blood inventories.
Obviously giving blood is very important; really, it’s a civic duty, but….it’s problematic for gay and bisexual men who have been banned from donating blood for decades because of the fears that our “dirty slutty homo blood” might be tainted with the AIDS and kill “innocent people”. Now, the likelihood of AIDS infected blood (or, more accurately, HIV) reaching anyone via a blood transfusion are slim to none. Things have changed since the scary days of the 1980s when the gay blood ban began. But, the US government has only made tiny steps in changing the rules that prohibit “men who have sex with men” from donating blood. In recent years, it was announced gay men COULD donate blood, but only if they weren’t having sex with men…in other words, being celibate or at least being celibate when it came to man on man intercourse.
“Fuck as many women as you like, but if you kiss one dude, your blood ain’t welcome, man!”
They then narrowed it down to a 90 down window, meaning if a man hadn’t had sex with another man for at least 90 days, then he could give blood. And, in March of this year, the FDA announced it was looking into making further changes for blood donation for men who have sex with men, moving to a “science-based, individualized assessment approach to determine who should be allowed to donate blood”. Which is yet another tiny step but also one that requires an assessment process (“Hey, how many dudes have you banged recently?”) which is also still problematic.
Soooooo….it’s a conflict. Hospitals need blood donations to help keep people alive. If you can give blood, please do but it’s still very much a work in progress when it comes to gay/bisexual men and their options to do so. We need to continue putting the pressue on the FDA to move forward on making it easier for community members to take part in something that is so important.
Here’s the press release about the “SAVOR LIFE. SAVE A LIFE” Campaign form Bloodworks Northwest. It involves some local celebrity athletes and some local restaurants. If you’re able to offer up a vein, then do so. You can learn more below AND at a launch event on Friday, May 5 at the Top Pot Doughnuts in Renton Landing. Details below:
Location: Top Pot Doughnuts (Renton Landing)
815 N. 10th St. F, Renton, WA 98057
Time/Date: Friday, May 5 (First Free Bite Friday)
10am to 12 Noon
Details: Meet Tariq Woolen – get your photo and autograph
The first 56 community members in line receive a Free Bite from Top Pot
Bloodworks Northwest, the primary blood supplier to hospitals in the Pacific Northwest, is launching the second year of its “SAVOR LIFE. SAVE A LIFE.” campaign on May 1 to boost the blood supply for local hospitals and patients who are counting on it. This year includes a dynamic collaboration with The Young Bloods, three of the Northwest’s favorite young, professional athletes; and Intentionalist, a social enterprise that makes it easy to find and support a diverse community of locally owned restaurants and small businesses.
The campaign, which runs from May 1 – July 31, seeks to raise awareness of the ongoing shortage of blood donations, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bloodworks Northwest is responsible for providing a safe and reliable blood supply to Pacific Northwest hospitals, and the organization aims to urge the community, in a fun and engaging way, to step up and help save lives.
Intentionalist is an online guide to intentional spending that support small businesses and diverse local communities making it easy to find local restaurants and other businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, indigenous people, members of the LGBTQ community, and disabled people. Participating Intentionalist businesses will celebrate blood donors by “giving a bite for donating a pint,” offering a $5 voucher good at more than 20 participating restaurants from Eugene, OR, to Bellingham, WA.
Go to https://www.bloodworksnw.org/savor-life/ for more skinny.