We’ve received over the past few months many complaints from the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in Lebanon, over one of the points we stated on our website www.dsclebanon.org, when it comes to the conditions which do not allow people to donate blood in the country:
Let us be clear, once and for all, about this issue.
We, as Donner Sang Compter, do not first of all withdraw nor collect blood. We seek volunteers who are eligible to donate blood or platelets. We leave the former action to the hospitals’ blood banks.
Never have we asked anybody about his/her sexual orientation, because we feel this is not of our business. Each person is free to behave the way he/she feels comfortable with.
However, we are forced to stick to the national guidelines and regulations (which are very similar to the international ones) adopted by all the Lebanese hospitals, which agree at least on this point.
Why is that?
Because monogamy (having only one partner at a time) in this community has been decreasing over the years, mostly in European and American countries, while on the other hand promiscuity (having sexual intercourse with multiple partners over the course of one’s life, being unrestrained in sexual behavior) has been increasing.
One U.S. study reports that “the average homosexual has between 20 and 106 partners per year. The average heterosexual has 8 partners in a lifetime.” – Bell, A. and Weinberg, M. Homosexualities: a Study of Diversity Among Men and Women. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1978.
The same study adds that “Of homosexuals questioned in one study reports that 43% admit to 500 or more partners in a lifetime, 28% admit to 1000 or more in a lifetime, and of these people, 79% say that half of those partners are total strangers, and 70% of those sexual contacts are one night stands (or, as one homosexual admits in the film “The Castro”, one minute stands). Also, it is a favorite past-time of many homosexuals to go to “cruisy areas” and have anonymous sex.”
Men who have had sex with other men (MSM), at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for the presence of and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion.
They have, according to the American Red Cross, an HIV prevalence 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors.
Our personal point of view
We encourage clean protected practice during sexual intercourse, whether for homosexuals or heterosexuals, to avoid or at least limit the sexually transmitted infections (formerly STDs).
We believe insane of course to generalize the rule to all the gays, because some may be cleaner and much more careful for their health than many straight people.
If you look at the above-mentioned points on our site, you can as well find, just over the highlighted condition, one that states you cannot donate blood if “You have had an unprotected sexual activity with multiple partners”.
This affects both straight and gay people, and even if using protection the right way reduces the risk of having HIV, Hepatitis B or C to the minimum, it is still up to the local hospitals’ blood banks and other more specific medical organisms to decide upon allowing those people or not, especially that many heterosexuals tend to hide this issue, or simply neglect it.
Nevertheless, rules are rules; we are forced to respect them and share the nationally agreed upon conditions, and leave this issue for the NGOs concerned with defending the LGBT’s rights.
We have always defended this community, and will keep on doing so by sharing articles related to lifting the ban on gays and lesbians not giving blood over the world, hoping that one day, if ever the local hospitals and medical personnel find it suitable and safe enough, Lebanon will be included alongside the likes of China and the UK, which have been added this year to the growing list of countries progressively allowing homosexuals to donate and help save lives.