I was in a leadership position in my sorority, and as such I was called upon to be involved in just about every social, academic, and philanthropic activity. So when the sororities and fraternities decided to have a campus wide blood drive, I was in charge of making sure the other girls in my chapter actually showed up. Problem is, they were being little pansies about it. No one wanted to give their blood, and certainly not if it involved watching it run out of their arm through a tube. By day three of the drive, when I was planning to go over and donate my blood, I discovered none of our members had shown up yet.
“Come on ladies!” I shouted.
I told them to nut up. I told them all the guys had done it and that was making us look weak in comparison (This threat didn’t resonate. It seems I’m the only girl who worries about being emasculated.)
I rallied a group together and told them to come down to the donation van, and I would go first.
When we got there, I could sense some of our members were going to chicken out. It didn’t help that we ran into some guy friends from one of the fraternities, and even one of them seemed like he might back out when he saw the needle.
“I don’t know man…” he said as he was about to be called.
“Don’t worry Ryan,” I said loudly. “Clearly you’re having your period, so maybe you can just donate some of that blood.”
His bros all laughed, and Ryan, shamed, reluctantly complied when his name was called. Sure my comment was harsh/sexist/gross, but it was also effective. I couldn’t have a guy chicken out, and cause a mass exodus of every member I had convinced to come with me.
While we waited to be called, we had to fill out these questionnaires about our health history and whatnot. Were we feeling well that day? Were we on medications? Had we recently travelled to any of the countries on the attached list?
The questions were aimed at trying to figure out if our blood was clean.
I paused briefly at questions about lifestyle. Apparently gay men (or ‘men who have sexual contact with men’) were not allowed to donate blood. I continued down the list. Evidently, women who have sex with men who have sex with men are not allowed to donate blood either. At the time I didn’t pay this question much mind, since it didn’t apply to me. I do remember thinking it was odd, and wondering, “how many people does that really apply to?” I wasn’t really aware of male bisexuality, so I assumed this question was referring to some sort of drug induced orgy situation.
When it was my turn, I was totally brave. They stabbed the needle into my arm, and I said “success!” when the blood started flowing. When it was done, I stood up (only slightly dizzy) and got a free cookie and juice box.
After that experience, I decided giving blood was the perfect activity for me- a chance to look bad ass, help others, and get a cookie and juice box? What could be better? I donated blood routinely after that.
Since dating Jay, I’ve been busy, and haven’t gotten the chance to donate blood. Then, the other day I remembered the question from the donor form about having sexual contact with men who have sex with men.
I can’t donate blood any more. Ever. At least under the current rules. I’ve been tainted. Blacklisted. My blood no longer qualifies as that of the clean, heterosexual, non-intravenous drug using population. Is this fair? Yeah I guess. They have the right to refuse the blood of anyone they want. It’s not like I can force someone to take my blood just so I can feel better about myself.
I jokingly pointed out to Jay that because of him, I can no longer donate blood.
“What are you talking about?” He asked.
“You can’t donate blood if you have sexual contact with a bi dude.”
“That’s not true.”
“Yes it is,” I said.
“Where did you hear that?”
I paused. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t ‘hear’ it anywhere; I just knew it because I was a routine blood donor, and I knew what the requirements were. But for some reason (and I’m still not sure why) I felt like I was hurting his feelings, so I wanted to make it like none of this was my fault. I wanted to put the blame on someone else.
“Nora told me. She said that it says that on the forms.”
Jay insisted that Nora was wrong about this. That sort of ticked me off, because I knew he had no basis for this assertion, other than his own assumption that it was probably untrue.
Today I remembered this dispute, and looked up various blood donor questionnaires online.
And it’s true. They all have the question about females who have sex with men who have sex with men. I texted a screen cap to Jay, and he seemed surprised. He said it seemed ‘antiquated’. I was worried he was going to be annoyed and spiral into a little sulk; he gets huffy if he thinks I’m implying he’s less healthy because of his sexual orientation. (I told him he had to get tested before we started hooking up. He said something like “Yeah I’m gay, so obviously I have AIDS.” I said something like “Stow the ‘tude. Get tested.” [He did. Obviously he was 100% clean]) He also gets huffy if he thinks that I need to prove I’m right about something. Texting him screen caps of things I’m right about tends to rub him the wrong way. But this time he took it pretty well. He didn’t seem mad at all, just surprised.
I told him that I would have to find some other way to get a free cookie and juice box now that I can’t donate blood anymore, and he said that he would buy me cookies and juice boxes. #adorable.
So to all the girls out there who have bi boyfriends, welcome to the club. The club of people feeling sorry for us, thinking we we’re dating gay dudes; the club of rotten blood that no one wants. I raise a toast. To us, and our bad blood. Here Here!