Many of us might not be aware that under current FDA policy, men who have sex with men (MSM) cannot donate blood, serum, platelets, organs, sperm or any other bodily tissues — including bone marrow. The policy was originally motivated by the concentration of HIV/AIDS cases in the MSM community, but as the disease has spread across all demographics, nearly all relevant professional organizations have called for the policy’s abolition, and it now only serves to suggest that the very bodies of MSM are somehow inferior in our government’s eyes. Many Yalies just learned of this injurious policy during Thursday’s Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registry Drive.
Several volunteers for the drive learned about it when classmates they had asked to register took a moment to explain why they were ineligible. Others, instead of learning, responded with incredulity. MSM were repeatedly met by denials, either in the form of assurances that they were misinformed or suggestions that they were merely fabricating an excuse to avoid registering. Feeling disbelief that such a misguided policy continues to exist would be understandable, but outright denial is less so.
Denying a claim of injustice, however unlikely or insignificant it may seem, is hurtful and inconsiderate. For the sake of our community, we can do our best to understand what injustice exists around us and to hear out our fellows when they claim to be victims.
The writer is a freshman in Branford College.