Thursday, 2 June 2016

Bloody looking forward to 1 September #bloodban

The last time I donated blood was on Monday 17th August 1998, I did so illegally because as a man who'd had sex with a man I wasn't totally truthful on the form. But it was two days after the Omagh bombing and blood stocks were low.

However, 18 years and 2 weeks on I will be able to give blood again and this time fully legally providing I don't have any sex with another man in the meantime. This is because today Northern Ireland's new health Minister Michelle O'Neill announced that science and not stigma would be the guide by which those making blood donations would be tested.

It is the end, within the UK, of a campaign I have been involved with for much of the 18 years since I last donated. It is one of the steps for LGBT+ equality that are needed for me as a Northern Irish gay man to have a civil worth that equates to the self worth that I took many years to come to terms with myself. There are still many more fights to be won but this a welcome one and one we haven't had to reach through the courts (although there were court cases pending on this issue).

So roll on 1 September, I look forward to digging out my 28 year old donation booklet to add new confirmations of donation.

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