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Comment: How I abstained from gay sex for a year in order to give blood

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  1. Whilst I symathise with Calum’s position in his article, surely there is some understandable concern? Latest figures indicate one in twenty sexually active gay men are HIV positive in Britain. And there is an incubation period where the virus does not show in tests. I am not sure donating blood is a right, the main concern is the welfare of those receiving the blood.

    1. Commander Thor 13 Feb 2013, 6:52pm

      Do you believe him when he said he abstained from gay sex for 12 months? Then why can’t you believe him if he says he has been in a monogamous relationship for 3 years and both him and his partner have been tested and found to be free from HIV?

      Unprotected anal sex is dangerous for anyone, gay or straight. The ban should be based on the risks you take, not the genitals of the person you bonked.

      1. Because people lie and cheat. Ive had several friends in monogamous relationships who have infected their partners with HIV. We are at higher risk. Why we cant get over it I have no idea.

        1. Well then they’re not in “monogamous” (or, more accurately, sexually-exclusive) relationships, are they?

          1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 2:35pm

            They are monogamous until you get caught.

          2. And people call me a cynic – !

        2. Commander Thor 14 Feb 2013, 2:56pm

          And yet you believe him when he says that he didn’t bonk for a year… it’s always someone else that cheats, isn’t it?

    2. Those figures are irrelevant. What you want to know is how many additional people would give blood if the rules were changed, and how many of them would have blood-borne diseases. Many HIV positive gay men would not give blood anyway, and undoubtedly some do already by lying. The blood service’s justification for the current policy is really quite weak – there just isn’t enough evidence to work out what the impact of changing it would be.

      1. I’m not against changing the rules if the scentific evidence is that it is safe. If there isn’t enough evidence as to the impact of changing the rules, then I would say we’d need that evidence first. At the end of the day, the medical profession has a duty of care to the patient.

    3. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 12:45pm

      It just demonstrates the hypocrisy and head-in-the-sand attitude of most gay people by the number of mark-downs here. Gay men in the UK are currently 111 times more likely to be HIV+ than anybody else.

      LA-LA-LA! I’M NOT LISTENING! – YOU ARE JUST PICKING ON US – LA-LA-LA! – HOMOPHOBIA!

  2. I’ll soon be eligible too and I’m not even trying (and that’s not even for the first).

    At the end of the day, however, this is possibly the only example of discrimination that doesn’t affect the person at the receiving end but well and truly those who create that discrimination. If they don’t want my blood, when there is such a shortage, I am not going to “shove it down their throat”. The way I see it, it’s a case of cutting one’s noise to spite one’s face.

    And that’s fine by me.

  3. Suddenly Last Bummer 13 Feb 2013, 6:45pm

    More fool him to bow to discrimination and give in. If my CLEAN blood isn’t good enough to save lives then eff off.

  4. I forgot that we were regarded as not worthy to give blood. Well done to you. But a year?

    I know the reasons for and against us giving blood. But I never understand why its okay for a straight slut/stud to give blood that has a higher chance of STI’s, but not a gay slut/stud.

    Maybe the rule should be anyone who has had more than ** partners in a certain time should be banned, regardless of their sexuality.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Feb 2013, 10:27pm

      I agree. Given the soaring rate of divorce, usually as a result of sexual infedility among heterosexuals, the same scrutiny isn’t applied. Sir Roger Gale who voted against equal marriage last week has been married three times. Yet, nobody would question his right to donate blood of tell him to wait a year.

      1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 12:48pm

        Same scrutiny isn’t applied because the promiscuity and amount of anal sex is still considerably less! Get over yourself.

        How many straights do you know that have three or four anal sex partners a week? I know quite a few and they are all gay men.

        1. How fascinating. I know none.

          1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 2:24pm

            I used to be one of them.
            Try nipping down a sauna some time.

          2. I have some experience of saunas (though not in the UK and back when dinosaurs roamed the earth), but even at our most active neither I nor any of my good friends would have fucked or been fucked by 3 or 4 different men a week. That is extreme and, I would suggest, less common than you might imagine.

          3. As this is your first comment, we need to confirm your email address. Please check your email inbox!

            WTF?

  5. Dan Filson 13 Feb 2013, 7:02pm

    Why single out gay men, when we just don’t know who is infected with what? There are many gay men out there who meticulously practice safe sex in ny sexual encounter and many straight men who don’t. I don’t think everyone has a right to be a blood donor but felt pretty shitty about being barred just for being a homosexual without any qualifications as to what kind of sex, if any, I practised. It’s good the law has changed, which I missed, and I wonder how many lives my blood donations from 1983 might have helped as those I did gave from 1966 to ? 1983 might have one.

  6. This comment is great, thank you. But how do we go about changing this and how exactly should it be changed? Should it be changed to consider a person’s behaviour? I’m interested in specifics here. And is that actually workable and backed up with science?

    1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 12:49pm

      What needs to be changed is gay men need to keep their dicks in their pants more, have less casual partners and start using condoms.

      Simple as that.

  7. Jack Mason 13 Feb 2013, 7:45pm

    Readers, please note that he needn’t be heralded as some form of inspiring martyr here, because what he’s essentially done is to conform to the inequality; that awful snowflake metaphor he uses only serves to illustrate exactly what he HASN’T done right! On a side note, his pseudo-heroic writing style is archaic, and his blog is even worse- just more self-absorbed ramble. ‘His Stonewall’ indeed! The audacity!

    The consistent confusion between law/legislation/NBS rules/public policy is astonishing. Please publish better informed, more competent writers PinkNews, not more of this useless drab!

    1. Are you a bitter ex boyfreind of his?

    2. And your perfectly penned words, the gold standard and commandments for the world, are where?

    3. I’m entirely with Jack here (see my pos below) but haven’t read the blog.

    4. Dave North 14 Feb 2013, 9:18am

      I entirely agree.

      I am yet to see a forms when donating blood, asking if you are a heterosexual male who sh@gs scores of disease ridden slags.

      Why single out gay men?

  8. Give my commendations to this man for his work.

  9. I’m 21 and my first sexual encounter was with my current boyfriend of 2 years. He is my first and only boyfriend and this will (hopefully) stay this way. We have both been tested and have clean bills of health and we are both monogamous and have an active sex life.

    So here’s the thing…I am a regular donor. I don’t abstain and I will never abstain from gay sex. When I fill out the form, I lie. I’ve been donating regularly for 2 years whilst maintaining my active sex life.

    I would challenge the NHS to prove that I’m gay. We all know that it’s something that isn’t visible. You can’t look at me and say, “Oh, he’s gay. He must be lying on the form.”

    I know that I’m clean. Although we’re in a long-term monogamous relationship, condoms are always used regardless, no exceptions.

    If I can do this, what’s to stop so many others? I can’t be the only one. The rule is unenforceable.

    1. Commander Thor 13 Feb 2013, 8:44pm

      If you can lie about being gay….how can we believe you when you said you used condoms or when you say you are monogamous?

      Honesty is the best policy, as they say. If they don’t want gay blood, there’s no point in giving them gay blood.

    2. Have you had sex within the window period of last being tested or since? If so was it unprotected anal sex with your bf? If it was you are at a higher risk of being infected than most because of your behaviour. You cannot be certain that your bf is as monogamous as he you. So stop donating! In contrast if you have only had unprotected aural sex this is relatively safe in terms of HIV.

      1. Commander Thor 13 Feb 2013, 8:48pm

        Agreed, aural sex is considered very safe in terms of HIV.

        1. It sounds rather painful though.

        2. Un/intentional Family Guy reference?

        3. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 12:51pm

          As long as you don’t cum in their ear.

      2. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Feb 2013, 10:33pm

        Oral sex isn’t necessarily safe if you have bad dental health such as bleeding gums, gingivitis and torn blood vessels in the roof of the mouth, the quickest way to transmit HIV. Aural sex refers to the ear. Not quite sure if there such a thing as aural sex.

        1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 12:53pm

          I know of one person who is certain that is how they contracted it, as they never had penetrative sex.

      3. Aural sex? How bizarre! I prefer to restrict the use of my ears to their conventional purpose, I must say.

        1. Christopher in Canada 13 Feb 2013, 10:46pm

          Those radio dramas have gotten quite risque of late…

          1. Heh.

      4. I’ve never had unprotected sex. Full stop. Yes you’re correct that there’s no way of knowing for certain that my boyfriend is monogamous, but could the same not be said for absolutely any relationship, gay or straight?

        But my point is this: if, like me, you partake in safe sex and are confident in your sexual health, there is literally nothing anyone can do if you choose to donate regardless of the rules – well, unless the NHS sets up cameras to prove that you’re lying on the questionnaire. Some rules are made to rebel against. In my view, this rule is one of them!

  10. Obviously there’s unjust discrimination inherent in our laws at present, and that should change. There should not be double-standards of any kind.

    But, leaving aside the unfairness of the law, what’s the big deal about going one short year without sex? This article makes out as if it’s some herculean effort of personal denial, when it really isn’t.

    I’ve gone for something like five years now without sex – not as a result of conscious “abstention”, but simply because it hasn’t happened in that time. Do I deserve some kind of medal for this apparently tremendous feat of human endurance? Of course not – it’s just one of those things. Get over it.

    And people wonder why the gay community has a reputation for being sex-obsessed! If a year without is generally seen as a huge sacrifice then perhaps the detractors have a point…

    1. the gay community has a reputation for being sex-obsessed

      Which is particularly unfair given the grotesque level of sexual obsession one finds among young non-gay people and unmarried (and many married) men of all ages.

      As for managing without sex for a year and whether it’s a feat or not, it really depends on the level of one’s sex drive – it’s just not recognised that individuals can vary quite a lot in this respect.

      1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 2:29pm

        It’s not unfair in the slightest. I really wish people would stop trying to equate the straight world with the gay one; they don’t hold a candle to us.
        I know of no straights, male or female, that aren’t on the game, that get anywhere near the amount of nookie a gay man in his prime has.

        Straight men might be as willing, but they simply don’t get the opportunities gay men have.

        1. You say a gay man in his prime (whatever that may be – speaking personally I was much more active in my late 30s than at any other stage) as though there’s one catch-all description. I would suggest you know a very limited range of gay men: I (clearly) know an extremely broad range, since there’s no easy consensus when it comes to sexual history among them.

          I will grant that in general the gay men I know have had more sexual partners than the women I know; but watching even a part of one of those ghastly programmes on BBC3 about booze-filled holidays in places like Ayia Napa shows me how limited my range of female acquaintance obviously is.

        2. In passing, I would also say that referring to the straight world is as vapid (not something one would usually say of you, Spanner) and inaccurate as referring to the gay community: as you have also observed about the latter, there is no such thing. By the same token I don’t think some 6bn people can be lumped together in one category.

          1. Spanner1960 15 Feb 2013, 12:14pm

            Au contraire, mon petit.
            You can lump them simply by being gay or straight.
            All men are naturally promiscuous, but straight women limit straight men’s sexual antics, whereas a bunch of constantly priapic men that fancy each other – that is very different.

            OK, so straights shag about for 10 days on holiday every year. Gay men do it 365 days a year.

          2. On the contrary, my little cabbage.

            Gay men you know may. You cannot speak for all gay men, that level of solipsism is just immature and too often indicates a limited education. As I have said before (several times), my own experience alone, let alone that of most of my friends, suggests there are many many, more levels of actively-sexual gaiety that you seem capable of comprehending.

        3. My friends (who are all straight) get far more sex than I ever have. Not that it’s a competition of course.

          I don’t think it is split down lines based on orientation – personal circumstances are the key here, and they vary in such multifarious ways that making meaningful generalisations is impossible.

  11. DJ Wynyard 14 Feb 2013, 3:43am

    I read this story with some anger. My way of fighting is different from that of Calum McSwiggan. I cannot stand beside him as he requests I do. In order for me to give blood, I require profuse apologies with manifest contrition. Anything less and those people in charge who have banned my blood will please “go **** themselves forthwith”. I may even require some reparations but need some time to consider which reparations would be appropriate.

    1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 2:33pm

      Apologies for what precisely?
      You want them to apologise for trying to limit a terminal disease from entering the blood transfusion system? You want them to apologise for removing the single largest HIV+ sector of the population?

      They are doing what they can to stop innocent people becoming infected.
      The question is, what are gay me doing?
      I suggest it is you who should go fuck themselves, sunshine.

  12. I am also not having sex so I can give blood.
    Whilst I completely disagree with the law and the fact that people hide behind some terribly dodgy statistics it’s the only window of opportunity we have.
    My wish to help outweighs my wish to deny my help to others out of spite for the law makers.

    Giving up sex to help a stranger is harder than you think. Mainly for the endemic culture of gay men being able to have safe sex without repercussions. If you can’t offer sex then your worth (as viewed by others) changes. You become less interesting to many because they don’t stand a chance of a shag with you. That or they assume that you must have HIV or AIDS as ‘who in their right mind would give up sex’.

    It messes with your head as much as it can mess with you life. But in 5 weeks time when I arrive at the donation location everyone will know what I’ve done to be able to give blood and my voice on the issue of the inequality will not be silenced.

    1. Spanner1960 14 Feb 2013, 2:43pm

      I totally disagree with you.
      I haven’t had sex in a long time (I stopped counting after the first 5 years.)
      I am still more than capable, I am still fit and HIV- and I find people actually drawn to me as they see me as something of a challenge.

      Giving up sex is like giving up smoking; it’s tough for the first few months and then you get over it and wonder why you bothered with such a filthy habit in the first place.

      Personally, I find sex boring, and those that chase after it are not the sort of people I am looking for. If I could find a genuine guy that was interested in me first and not my dick, they might actually stand a chance.

  13. I think that I have some admiration for someone who has such a generous view of community but I know that I don’t understand the depth of his clearly sincere feelings. There is almost a hint here of a version of Stockholm Syndrome with the captive (the discrimination sufferer) pleading with his captors (in this scenario the heteronormative health service) to accept him as “good enough”. I ask this sincerely: am I being unkind here?

  14. I think I would be more supportive of the ‘let gay men give blood’ crew if they came up with a specific model or addressed the specific practical and scientific concerns rather than general outrage

  15. Sookie Curnow 14 Feb 2013, 11:40am

    Although I think this is admirable – I still don’t understand the rules around blood donation.
    I’ve been with my fiancé for 6 years, in a happy monogamous relationship and neither have anything. I have a really rare blood type and would happily give blood but we can’t – my friends however (straight) are in an open relationship and he gives blood every three months! I don’t get it!!!!

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 14 Feb 2013, 12:30pm

      I empathise with you. I get it though. It’s because there’s still the myth and stigma that all gay men are HIV positive. If this virus had first appeared in heterosexuals and they were the ones succombing to it more than we are (although in third world countries that is the case), societal attitudes and the health authorities would probably have a different strategy. I don’t think there would be quite the same stigma that we’ve been labelled with or any of the hateful, cruel rhetoric coming from homophobes. There’s definitely a double standard at play here, hypocrisy too.

  16. I can see why they worry about the much greater risk of HIV in guys who sleep with different people regularly, but surely men in long term monogamous relationships where both have been tested should be allowed to give blood. The reasoning just doesn’t extend to that.

  17. I understand that it is unfair that men who have safe sex with men are treated with a lot more suspicion than those who have unsafe sex with women.

    However, I would not call it homophobic bigotry. When the law was changed, the BBC released statistics which indicated that the risk of HIV contamination rose (albeit by a very small percentage) when laws on men having sex with men giving blood were relaxed. Everybody’s primary concern should be the safety of the NHS blood supply, above all else.

    It should also be noted that such restrictions do not discriminate against all who identify as homosexual, but rather against men who have anal sex with men- an act which undoubtedly has a greater risk of HIV transmission. The strict rules are there for a reason, and gays are not the only people affected. A straight person who has had sex with a person from a country where HIV is prevalent is also subject to a 12 month ban, even if that sex was safe.
    Please get some perspective!

  18. Don’t live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.

    Would any straight person you know spend 12 months of their life celibate to donate blood to you? The question of whether to give blood answers itself.

  19. I´m a donor since I I´m 18 years. Now I´m 30, I´ve donated in total more than 21 liters of blood. Since I was 17-18 I’m gay, so all my life I’ve been gay donor. Never my blood has been rejected because I’ve always been healthy, besides being responsible and not have sex with anyone. Therefore I´m very angry with the blood bank, because I´m discriminated against my private life and not for my blood.

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