A Lesbian, Risk-Taking Behavior, and a lot of Blood

Today is an ordinary day. Okay, it is a more or less ordinary one. I am donating blood today. This has already become a routine, I go to a blood center at least four times a year, and I already have a blood donor certificate. A sip of sugary tea with a cookie — and here you go.

Why do I need this donor thing? When I want to joke or am too lazy to explain, I say that it is the fastest way to loose half a kilo of weight. But if to be serious… Someone might need my blood and my body will anyway produce more. I think it is enough of a reason.

However, I wasn’t totally honest composing my donor biography. When four years ago I summoned the courage and decided to become a donor, I came to a blood transfusion center, where I started to diligently fill a long form… And there, in a paragraph “Absolute Contraindications” I found a sub-paragraph “Forms of Risk-Taking Behavior: providing sexual services in exchange for a pay, unprotected sexual contacts with strangers, having multiple sexual partners, homosexual relationships, drug addiction.”

At that point of time, my beloved and I had been together for already a few years. We are faithful to one another, we exercise, we don’t have bad habits, we are attentive to our health — I would even say that we are too attentive, since we want to have kids but that is another story. Our relationship is 100% homosexual. So, you are calling our lives a form of risk-taking behavior?!!

I ran away from the blood transfusion center then. I was rejected! I found out that I was a person of second quality!

Afterwards, I was asking my friends who were doctors whether there are any medical reasons to prohibit blood donations to me. They told me that there were none. “That form was asking about other relationships,” doctors told me. “You know, people think that gays often change partners and practice anal sex — which can lead to HIV infection or another STD. No, it wasn’t about you.”

It wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about all women in same-sex relationships. Not about homosexual men that don’t have multiple partners but have families or just don’t have sex in years. Maybe those bureaucrats who came up with all these instructions couldn’t even imagine that there are these people and that there are many of them. All these people are forced to lie and feel rejected, feel as they are people “of second quality…”

Bureaucrats who wrote these instructions were governed by their stereotypes — not by real experiences of real people. Meanwhile, the situation with blood donations isn’t really optimistic in Ukraine.

What I want so say is… Unprotected sex, multiple sexual partners, providing sexual services for a pay, taking drugs — these are the forms of a risk-taking behavior one can engage in irrespective of one’s sexual orientation. I am really angry when my life and my relationship are perceived as inferior, when someone wants to reject my blood despite my sincere desire to help.

In the end, I became a donor. But when I am in the blood transfusion center, I don’t talk about my love life. It is humiliating and unfair, don’t you agree? But I know for sure that I am healthy and that I help people by donating my blood. A doctor in charge of examining the donors can always look up a special document on her computer and tell whether the blood I donated the last time was of good quality and whether some of it was already used. I always try to ask about it. This fills me with warmth and makes me feel especially calm.

I hope that a day will come when homosexual relationships will stop being “a form of risk-taking behavior,” so people like me will be able to donate their blood without lying and being humiliated.

And… I have already notified my kin. You never know when you will die and how. Especially, when you practice a “risk-taking behavior” (I should have put a load of sarcastic emoji here). If my organs which are “of second quality” will be of any use, when I die, I would really like them to help save someone’s life. Sexual orientation doesn’t matter.

Olena K., Kharkiv