Saturday, September 8, 2012

Guest Post: On Romance, Gender, and Blood

Well hello. I’m a BYU student hoping to major in something with enough science to get me into Medical School. I grew up on the East Coast. My favorite food group is fruits. I’m a lesbian. I’m a member of the BYU club USGA, the people there are amazing and cheer me up every single week. I didn’t really accept my sexuality until I was 14. Even after accepting it, I still sometimes fight it, try to fit the mold, lie just enough to fit in. Before I accepted it, I tried dating a couple guys, in an effort to feel whatever it is that straight girls feel. I ended up in some really bad situations, and it was just making things worse. I have some awesome guy friends, but I just can’t see them the way that I’m supposed to. I’ve dated a few girls seriously, and the months that I’ve been in those relationships are some of the best times of my life. I was also lucky that their families were supportive and accepting.
There’s always been this big romantic thing about love being blind. That we’re so advanced now, and instead of arranged marriages we can be free to love someone who’s in a different socioeconomic class, or has a different skin color. (Yet statistically speaking if you get married at BYU it’s probably two middle class white Mormons). People talk about love as if it’s some big Disney movie. The truth is my black friend and his white wife can’t even run around the mall without people assuming he’s some crazy black guy trying to rape the white chick. Yep, I read the National Geographic and learned all about kids in arranged marriages. The point is, this is usually graced over in our culture, and we focus on the happy loving couples we see getting married in Temple Square or wherever.
So we keep hearing, from movies, books, media, that love isn’t stopped by these things. Why then do we decide to draw the line at gender? What is it about two girls dancing together that signals the end of the world? Why is it that LGBTQ people feel so confused and scared that they shut themselves up in closets to avoid the persecution and the confrontations? There’s a lot that I don’t understand about the way people react to homosexuality. It’s just another thing that the LDS church, and much of society, has slid into that box marked ‘taboo’.
During my time working at a volunteer fire department, I made friends with a gay firefighter. One day there was a blood drive at our station. It was my first time giving blood. I was all bubbly, chatting with the people in the blood drive bus, and taking advantage of all the free juice and cookies. But there was something that really killed my groove. In the middle of all the personal questions you’re asked before you can donate blood, there’s something that sticks out like a thorn. Practicing gay men aren’t allowed to donate blood.
I sat there, watching my blood drip into a plastic bag, knowing I was doing a service, while my friend sat inside the fire station. He’s donated countless hours of service, responding to more 911 calls and putting in just as many long nights as I have. He deserves that right to serve people. Sure, there’s a higher chance that he’s got some kind of STD, and the blood bank can’t afford to spend time on someone who’s a high risk group for something like HIV. I understand that it’s not really discrimination. It’s just statistics and rational judgment. But it hurts. It hurts to know that I could sit in there, little miss perfect, getting my blood drawn to save lives, despite being a practicing lesbian. And yet my friend didn’t have that luxury.
There ya go, I just spilled a few beans that I usually keep all locked up. A little bit of the chaos in my life, typed up on a Microsoft Word page when I really should be going through my textbooks. Forgive the broken speech, run-on sentences, and grammatical errors. Hopefully this mess does you as much good as it does me. Aaand here’s a little something from my favorite poet. I figure if I tack that on to the end of this rambling post, at least there’ll be something on the page worth looking at J



  1. I was going to write about not being able to participate in my work's blood drive this week. But, you beat me to it! Seems like great minds think alike. Thanks for your post and best of look on all of your upcoming adventures!

  2. I hate the lines we put on gender. I figure if you're a good person then what does it matter if you are a boy or girl or somewhere in between?
    Anyway you should keep posting around here :) Good to hear your point of view.

  3. What I really want to know is why do we, as members of the LGBT community, still buy into the stupid things that straight society has fed to us? For instance, you said, "Sure, there’s a higher chance that he’s got some kind of STD, and the blood bank can’t afford to spend time on someone who’s a high risk group for something like HIV." Why do you think that your male counterpart has a higher chance of getting STDs or having HIV?? I bet that more straight people have HIV than do the gay ones--and what do we do about prohibiting THEM from donating blood? Why is a sexually active gay male more likely to have some bloodborne disease than a sexually active gay female--or sexually active straight males and females?

    This is something that needs to change. Sexually active gay men are no more likely to have sexually transmitted diseases than are anyone else and we, as a society, need to stop putting people into those boxes.

    Also, where did you do volunteer firefighting??? I really want to get into that. :)
    Thanks for writing!