Is Britain’s Gay Blood Ban Unfairly Outing Cops?

Britain’s Gay Police Association, which boasts membership in all 52 of the United Kingdom’s police units, has found a novel way to attack the National Blood Service’s prohibition on gays donating blood: the ban unfairly outs gay cops.

Like the United States and Canada, the U.K.’s national blood agency bars gay men from donating blood, with the assumption that their “lifestyles” (read: having the butt sex) puts them at greater risk of being poz, and donating tainted blood. Also like the United States and Canada, the U.K.’s National Blood Service screens all blood donations for unwanted pathogens before ever passing it off for use on patients.

In Britain, any man who’s ever had sex with another man, condom or not, is banned from donating for life. NBS maintains lifting the ban would mean a 5X increase of HIV-positive blood entering the system.

In a new push to strike down the ban, the Gay Police Association — which landed in trouble back in 2006 for claiming Christians were behind a spike in anti-gay hate crimes — mounts the argument that the ban is “homophobic in its archaic position on the life ban for gay men as donors.” By soliciting donations from those working in public service, the NBS by default calls attention to gay police officers who refuse to participate — because they simply can’t. First you tell us you don’t want our disgusting blood, and now you out us?

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  • sorcererdale

    I am sure there are people that lie about not being gay, so they do get some of the gay blood.

  • ewe

    Until the U.S. Government lifts the banning of gay male blood donations, we are not experiencing equality among our straight comrades.

  • ewe

    @sorcererdale: lol. Is there really such a thing as gay blood? Sort of the same concept as gay money. Once it changes hands it may morph into straight blood. That’s kinda creepy and interesting too. Don’t tell the Ex gay campaign.

  • deferr

    I have donated plenty of my gay blood, and I’m proud of it

  • Marc

    In Canada there is an opt out at the very end of the process. Gay cops could donate, go through the process with their comrades, then discretely ask the Canadian Blood Services to not use the blood that he just gave. Saves dignity, isn’t that what this is all about?

  • kae

    First of all, I am skeptical about anything reported by this Christian organisation with whom the GPA have a contentious relationship and which sensationalises everything in an effort to whip up anti-gay sentiment.

    Secondly, even supposing that this story has some semblance of truth, how is this policy “outing” police officers? No police officer is compelled to donate blood – its a purely optional matter as per the rest of the population. Before anyone donates blood, they have to fill out a very comprehensive form which asks questions about specific sexual activity, not whether you’re gay or straight. These questions apply equally to everyone and therefore many straight people will be prevented from donating blood. It also asks a whole series of questions about exposure to pathogens in foreign countries. The questions about sex are only 1 part of it. There are many ways that one could disqualify oneself from giving blood. I know I had to fill the damn thing in. Not only that, but I wasn’t required to broadcast the fact that I had signed up to give blood.

    Most officers won’t be able to find the time to give blood at the specific date and time they are invited too anyway. Good grief, this is the least of our problems right now. You would think that they (the GPA) would have better things to worry about.

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