"[Gays are] only a drain on society, so much so that the medical profession recognizes that they’re a disease carrying nasty threat to society and are not allowed to donate blood. That’s my position.”
Another man, this one called Don, also used medicinal terms in describing his anti-gay politics: "Sodomy causes AIDS, okay? And AIDS is a serious problem in this nation as well as around the world."
Ron, Don and others aren't entirely to blame for thinking such things: the government's been sending that message for years.
The FDA chose the low road earlier this year, when it decided to keep a ban on donated blood from men who have sex with men. "A history of male-to-male sex is associated with an increased risk for the presence of and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS," the federal bureau says on their website. "FDA's policy is intended to protect all people who receive blood transfusions from an increased risk of exposure to potentially infected blood and blood products."
The ban was first instituted in 1983, as the reality of AIDS dawned on America and the government struggled to isolate an unknown disease. Since then, however, research and public approval have helped evolve the face of HIV: it's not a gay disease. It's a human disease. And new technologies make testing more reliable than ever, thus allowing a safer donor system. The FDA, however, ignores those facts, and inadvertently helps heterocentric activists.
By prohibiting men who have sex with men from donating blood, the FDA tells the public that gay men are indeed a health risk, and therefore inferior. Conservatives then use that implication to build up their distorted and dangerous politics, like those currently on display in Iowa.
The FDA should take a leading role in combating medically misleading arguments by reversing its discriminatory prohibition. Not only are right wing messages neutered, and people properly educated, but the FDA can tap a tide of new donors to keep the nation's bloody supply flowing. Seems like a no brainer...