This gay guy gave up sex for a year
A gay guy has opened up about abstaining from sexual contact for 365 days – in order to protest current regulations on blood donation.
Rules introduced at the height of the AIDS crisis placed a permanent ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men.
The FDA relaxed the regulations in 2015 to allow gay men to donate blood if they have not had sex it he past 12 months, but critics argue the lengthy exclusion period still acts as a de facto ban.
21-year-old Jay Franzone decided to make a point about the rules a year ago – giving up sex for 365 days in order to become eligible to donate.
One year later, and he has completed his journey, and was finally able to give blood this week.
It hasn’t always been easy, however – with the activist struggling to maintain his abstinence with his boyfriend.
He explained: “My birthday was tough, April 17 – we’d been dating for a full month and I’d turned 21. He took me to a really great dinner, we could see the whole skyline of Boston, it was nice!
“That was a really hard moment, just going to bed, because normally on a birthday, you’re turning 21, you’re going to have sex!”
A few months later the activist realised his relationship was in trouble, and considered throwing away his pledge to try and revive it.
He said: “After the summer, knowing my relationship was in the toilet… I’ve already been public with my abstinence, do I go and have sex with him?
“But what does that mean our relationship is based on, if you try and revive it by having sex? That’s not something you’d want. It was a hard moment.”
Mr Franzone is now single again, explaining that trying to date while abstinent is also difficult – especially given the publicity his abstinence pledge has received.
He said: “I’ve obviously been very public with my abstinence, if I go on a couple dates and they end up Googling [me], you’re going to find coverage! I’m kind of putting it on my forehead and being upfront with this, because this wasn’t something I wanted to hide.”
Pointing out the rules only ban oral and anal contact, he added: “When you think about it, it’s interesting, because there’s so many other things you can do!”
Mr Franzone explains he wanted to highlight how the current system “falls short by failing to consider a potential donor’s individual risk factors”, considering all sexually active gay men as equally high risk – while permitting heterosexuals who engage in risky sexual practices to donate.
Writing in the New York Times, he explained: “The FDA should adopt a modern blood donor deferral policy that is based on the risk of individual donors, as determined in interviews by people trained to make that determination.
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“This approach is used successfully in Italy and Spain, among other nations. In Italy, donors are asked to refrain from giving blood if they have been involved in sexual activities that have a high risk of H.I.V. transmission.
“Spain asks donors if they have engaged in specific risky sexual behavior in the last six months. Merely being gay is not grounds for automatic deferral in those countries.
“In my work with the National Gay Blood Drive, I’ve heard directly from patients and their family members about their need for blood.
“After I was finally able to make my donation on Tuesday, a mother messaged me on Facebook, thanking me for giving her son ‘and kids like him the tools to fight’. You can’t help but well up when you hear that.”