Monday, February 26, 2007

Political correctness is more important than saving lives

Political correctness has reared its ugly head again. Far be it for anyone to offend anyone, political correctness is worshiped by some as the end all be all of human existence. Unfortunately, Iowa State University has joined the fray in the form of its student-run Greek Week committee. For years part of the Greek Week competition included having a certain percentage of Greek students from each chapter give blood at Iowa State's spring blood drive - one of the largest student-run blood drives in the country. This year, however, the Greek Week committee decided that the question, "Have you had sex with another man since 1975?" discriminates against gay men enough for them to pull support of the blood drive completely.

The writer of this letter in the student paper claims that even though he supports the blood drive:

American Red Cross's stance is that, in the past, gay men have been statistically too at-risk for AIDS to give blood.

The truth of the matter is these statistics are outdated and currently, gay men aren't much more inclined, statistically, to have AIDS than some other straight demographics.

Indeed, this statement is totally wrong. According to the CDC, over 66% of new HIV cases in men in the U.S. in 2005 were reported by men who engage in male to male sexual contact. Nearly 50% of all new HIV cases in 2005 were reported by gay men. Further, the other categories listed by the CDC included male to male sexual contact and injection drug use, and heterosexual contact with a person known to be "high risk" for HIV infection (i.e. gay men). These statistics are neither outdated nor discriminatory. The reality of the situation is that gay men are wildly more likely to have HIV than straight men, and the Red Cross and other blood centers are making their blood banks safer for those who depend on them. They are also relieving the pressure on their screening methods by eliminating an entire HIV high-risk demographic before they donate.

Finally, why is it that political correctness protects only the gay men? Why isn't the blood drive protested by people who are injection drug users? People who visit Africa? Women who weigh less than 110 pounds? Why? Because no one cares if they are "offended" - only if gay men are.

1 comment:

Eric Stoller said...

"Why isn't the blood drive protested by people who are injection drug users? People who visit Africa? Women who weigh less than 110 pounds? Why? Because no one cares if they are "offended" - only if gay men are."

Well for starters, the type of injection drug use they are talking about is illegal so I'm guessing that answers that one... Visiting Africa is a choice and probably an outdated and discriminatory facet of their rules. It probably should be dropped. And if you weigh less than 110 pounds, it is dangerous to donate because you could easily faint.

Why do the rights of gay men bother you so? Labeling an issue as "politically correct" is such an easy way to dismiss the voices of subordinated groups.

From the looks of it, you at least went to ISU and probably grew up in Iowa on a farm. My bio is fairly similar...

Maybe I'll see you at the NASPA National in Boston :-)