by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
Some people are just too gay to donate blood — so says an employee of Bio-Blood Components blood bank earlier this month. NYDailyNews.com reports that Aaron Pace, “an Indiana man, is suing a blood bank for operating with broken ‘gaydar.’ Aaron Pace, who says he’s straight, claims he was barred from donating blood at Bio-Blood Components in Gary, Ind., after a screener told him he acted like he was gay.”
Pace, 22, told the Chicago Sun-Times, “I was humiliated and embarrassed. It’s not right that homeless people can give blood but homosexuals can’t. And I’m not even a homosexual.” He told ABC News that an employee told him specifically, “I’m sorry, but it’s the way that you act and appear to be.”
Technically, the Bio-Blood Components staff member who prevented Pace from donating blood was operating off of the law — the outdated law, that is. NYDayilyNews.com reports, “The Food and Drug Administration has a nearly 30-year-old policy that bars gay men and women from donating blood. The policy was created in 1983, sparked by fears that HIV could contaminate the nation’s blood supply.” In these current times, however, donated blood is tested for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, syphilis and others. It is no surprise that members of the gay rights and health communities came to Pace’s aid. Curt Ellis, the former director of The Aliveness Project of Northwest Indiana — an organization that supports people with HIV — says how Pace was treated was “unfair, outrageous and just plain stupid.”
NYDailyNews.com says “Pace said on Tuesday that he plans to sue the bank for sexual-orientation discrimination. Bio-Blood Components didn’t return a call for comment from the Daily News.”
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.