By Scott Tibbs, November 14, 2005
A junior at Indiana University rails against the federal government's policy forbidding homosexual men from giving blood, saying the policy represents "discrimination and homophobia". He closes the letter with this:
This inconsistent Red Cross policy does not match the ideals of equality and nondiscrimination IU takes great pride in. Because of Red Cross encouragement for this FDA policy, which consequently influenced the narrow vote that kept it in place, I urge this campus to boycott them this year. What's more, I would like to see IU join the ranks of several other universities which have banned them from their campuses in determination to make them change this policy.
I think it is a good policy because homosexual men are statistically more likely to be infected with the HIV than other groups. Even if it excludes many who are not infected and there are safeguards in place to screen infected blood, why take that risk?
The argument that other high-risk groups are not excluded is a poor one. Instead of suggesting that standards be lowered for one group to make things fair, Lehman should be advocating for higher standards across the board.
Furthermore, I think it is extremely selfish to complain about whether or not someone can donate blood. First, there is no "right" to donate blood. Second, donating blood is a sacrifice one makes for the good of someone else. The people receiving the donated blood are the ones who we should be concerned about. To those complaining about not being allowed to donate blood, I say: it is not about you!
It is reasonable to disagree with the federal government's policy and the Red Cross's support for it. It is reasonable to lobby the federal government and the Red Cross to try to get the policy changed. It is not reasonable to discourage people from giving blood because of that policy. The people you are hurting by that action is not the federal government or the Red Cross, but the victims of accidents, natural disasters, etc. who need blood. Once again, I say: it is not about you!
What is more disturbing is Lehman's demand that the Red Cross be banned from the Indiana University campus. Once again, those who advocate "tolerance" are themselves unwilling to tolerate different views. Indiana University students and Purdue University Students have an annual blood drive for the Red Cross that helps the organization provide much needed blood. If the Red Cross were banned from campus, who would be hurt?
You guessed it.
Even if the administration decided to go along with Lehman's radical proposal, IU (as a tax-funded university) would have to be very careful about how they would ban the Red Cross. I am sure the state legislature would not take kindly to such a move, and it would result in a huge national embarrassment for Indiana University.
Instead of proposing action to force the Red cross to see things their way, homosexual activists should use persuasion. Refraining from calling the Red Cross names would be a good start. Most importantly, Lehman and those who agree with him need to present a convincing argument about why allowing homosexual men to donate blood would benefit those who are in need of transfusions. That should be the primary focus of this debate.