Talking of bisexual men, and their erasure in our culture, which we were, here we go again.
Law and Sexuality is a brilliant blog by Chris, who writes on a wide range of subjects around sexuality, society and the law. I have an enormous amount of respect for him. But sometimes I pull him up on his use of the term ‘Gay’ as a catch-all phrase which in reality can mean anything from gay men, to LGBTQ people, to ‘lame’.
Today was no exception when I noticed Chris reporting on the Liberal Democrat Conference discussions about the ‘Gay Blood Ban’. Chris wrote:
‘Interesting piece on Pink News this evening reporting on a vote at the Liberal Democrat Conference, taking the recent gay blood ban repeal further. Pink News reports that earlier this month, ministers announced that the lifetime ban would be scrapped and gay and bisexual men would be permitted to donate blood if they abstain from sex for 12 months. According to Pink News, members at the party’s conference in Birmingham agreed that the new 12-month deferral period is “a ban by any other name”. Read the full story here.’
So the blood ban does not just affect gay men, but gay and bisexual men. Indeed, I expect it is aimed at any men who have sex with men. So the label ‘gay’ not only erases bisexual men from discourse, it also serves to maybe enable men who have sex with men, but do not identify as ‘gay’, or even ‘bisexual’, to give blood when they may be engaging in risky sex, but not actually acknowledging it. The term ‘men who have sex with men’ is well established amongst health organisations, for the very reason that it allows men to acknowledge their behaviour without having to give themselves a sexual identity label.
I think Pink News and other gay rights organisations are using this issue as yet another example of how ‘gays’ are discriminated against, without actually thinking about the wider social and health issues in the case.
Which, in my view, is Gay.
This comment from Impeus (see below the line) suggests that the Blood Donor org. is using ‘men who have sex with men’ and it is everyone else referring to ‘gay’ men:
‘I believe the wording in the current questions asked of potential blood donors is specifically inclusive, asking if you are a man who has had sex with another man, or if you are a woman who has had sex with a man who may have had sex with another man. It’s the media and other commentators (including myself if I’m honest) calling it gay blood, not the, um, blood people, whatever they are called!’