Opinion » Minerva's Breakdown

Minerva's Breakdown: There Will Be Blood

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Dear Minerva:

Facebook has been prompting me to donate blood. It's not that I am against giving blood. I've wanted to since I was old enough—17. I was indefinitely-deferred as a high school senior, and labeled as MSM (men who have sex with men). I'm not an idiot, and realize why that rule was put into place. I'm also not an idiot, in that I know a new rule is in place: be celibate for a year. My dilemma is: I've obviously been celibate for the required time, but I despise the requirements. Fight the good fight for the rights that save lives, or give in and save lives, should my MSM status be overturned? Lives are at stake in both circumstances.

Sincerely,

Young Blood

Dear Young Blood:

What a moral dilemma. Is there any good reason that men who have sex with men (MSM) cannot donate blood if every blood donaton is truly being tested for all of the reasons that give someone pause over blood from this demographic? The Red Cross is doing a disservice by refusing blood from a demographic that is willing to donate. Having a 12-month celibacy policy for MSM is also unreasonable when there are many willing donors in monogamous relationships. If the Red Cross is begging for donations but unwilling to roll back restrictions on an already marginalized population, then I wonder what the restriction is really about. I can't tell you what to do but I do share the frustration. Despite the discriminatory policy, my hope is that one would err on the side of compassion that may save someone's life.