A Place of Simple Good

Hirshhorn_Coat hanger sculptureToday 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.

Inspirational Quote:

“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


  1. Donating blood is one of the best things I do on a regular basis. It’s a tangible, measurable way to make the world a better place. I’m so proud of you for taking the leap.

  2. From reading the interview you linked to, it seems to me that the US FDA is the organization that should be the focus of your boycott, and not the Red Cross. The Red Cross really has no choice in the matter – it is stuck with policies imposed on them by the FDA. It sounds like you may be blaming the wrong entity…

  3. Where does the article mention that the ed Cross initiated the policy? It sounds like it is fighting the ban, not proposing it. Go back and reread the interview 🙂

    American Red Cross Fights Ban
    … the American Red Cross say the ban is, quote, “medically and scientifically unwarranted,” end quote.

    But the Food and Drug Administration – or the FDA, which monitors the country’s blood supply – recently announced it will continue to uphold the ban.

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