Today I donated blood for the first time. As the Vice President of the Red Cross club in my high school, I never donated. This was partly because I was usually under-weight because of wrestling, and usually have low iron because I’m in a female body-suit.
I also found the International Red Cross’s stance of gay sex repulsive. I still do.
I’ve changed my mind about who I want to protest against–it’s not the accident-victims and cancer patients who are shaming my gay friends. It’s the institutions; no one benefits when a strong, healthy college student refuses to donate blood.
Red Cross will never again receive a donation from me while this policy is in effect. But they will receive my blood.
Today at 4:45pm, I walked into the blood donation room set up in the University Center. I answered all of the usual questions; turns out Qatar’s not in the malarial zone.
But more than more than gossiping with the worldly nurse, and more than listening to This American Life while I watched the maroon line drain out of me, the moment that made me feel committed to donating in the future was after Polly, my nurse, took the needle out of me. She had me press a sterile rough patch of cloth to the bend in my elbow, raise my arm up, hand lightly clenched.
It was my donor power salute. As my arm got colder and colder and I looked at the bag of my blood she left sitting by my leg, the faces of the people it could help rose in my mind.
This was probably me tripping on blood loss and packaged cookies; but I felt a sanguine connection to anyone my blood helps.
I will donate again.
“The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men.” –Samuel Adams