The irony behind the blood drive


Michael Pudie, News Editor

The annual blood drive on October 11 is an important day for giving students. However, it is also a day that affects many students all across the nation.

Established in 1988, National Coming Out Day is an annual event that many LGBT teens take advantage of in order to come out to their friends and families.

Every year, the Gender Sexuality Alliance commemorates this day by having students come out to other members of the club either for the first time or as practice for telling their families.

From personal experience, this day was beneficial by giving me the motivation to follow along the footsteps of hundreds of other teenagers and establishing deeper connections with my friends and family.

Now that I am finally old enough to donate blood, I was excited to help someone in need. However, I remember speaking to the students signing others up for the blood drive at the table in the front lobby a year ago. They were saying that gay people cannot donate blood.

Saying I was shocked would be an exaggeration, I just kind of accepted it. Eventually you get used to being told you cannot do certain things because of uncontrollable outcomes.

But I was curious. It just didn’t seem right. After all, our country was advancing so far in the past few years towards these social issues. I took it upon myself to research this topic.

Upon exploration, I found that any person who has had sexual relations with someone of the same gender since 1978 is banned to give blood because of the AIDS epidemic. So not only could I actually still donate blood, I could understand why these precautions are being made.

It is no secret that homosexual men have a higher risk of getting infected with AIDS. It makes sense why the government would be afraid to take blood from these individuals.

However, upon further investigation, I found that any woman who has had sex with an aids infected partner is allowed to give blood after a year. Well this doesn’t make sense does it? Why should an AIDS infected woman be able to donate blood, but an HIV negative man cannot because of their sexual orientation?

This issue wouldn’t annoy me if the Orlando shooting did not happen. After many were injured from the hysteria in the Pulse Nightclub, blood donations were critical need. It was a life-or-death type of situation.

However, the most enthusiastic people to donate blood were not allowed. Many LGBT individuals wanted to support their community by donating blood, but by law, they were not allowed.

This all brings us back to October 11. The day in which the blood drive is taking place this year. And the day in which many students will change their lives forever by coming out to their peers.

Many of these closeted students already live in fear because of the community we live in, a primarily conservative population where “gay” is used to describe any other word. And the events in Orlando may in even have pushed some students further into hiding.

But the tipping point could possibly be the blood drive. Students learn that cannot donate blood merely because of their identities. Teens will do anything to be liked, and they may not want to be associated with a group that is still being discriminated today.

This event affects our community by driving LGBT students into isolation. Inequity increases the fear that closeted students have, leading to mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Coming out is an important event for all people of the community. People reveal one of the most important secrets they have ever had to keep.

It’s ironic that such a giving event discriminates people who may be changing the course of their life because of what day it falls on.

Changes have to be made in order to help Americans in need and the LGBT community. If you want to help, you can sign an online petition on and support the cause. For more information, go to