Connecticut Voice

Your LGBTQ+ Voice

How Well Do You Really Know Yourself?

Years ago I was a volunteer at a Red Cross in the Midwest. I was in the public relations department. It was sort of a crossroads there for the entire chapter. And as such, we heard lots about the goings-on in different departments and organizations around town.

In the area, there were regular opportunities to donate blood. Private citizens and businesses alike participated in a big way. In fact, one local car plant in particular, wanting to do its bit for the community, encouraged its employees to donate periodically at the plant.

As an incentive to donate, employees who gave a pint could take the rest of the day off. With pay. And if they tried to donate but received a deferment for health reasons, they could still have the remainder of the day off with pay. It generated a lot of enthusiasm amongst employees. As a result, the car plant contributed greatly to the Red Cross’ efforts.

At one of these blood drives, there was a long line of people. Standing and waiting was one guy who was still on the fence about giving.  Should he or shouldn’t he? He could hear co-workers ahead of him being asked a few questions about their overall health and their ability to give that day. When the person ahead of him was readily deferred, he decided, right then and there, that he would pass on donating himself. And use the same no-hassle excuse.

As he stepped forward to answer the nurse’s questions, cutting to the chase, he shared regrettably that he could not donate any blood because he had a bleeding uterus.

Yikes! Above all else, know thyself!


While in the past gay men have been denied in donating blood all together, restrictions were eased significantly about five years ago and again this year because of the increased demand for blood and plasma during the pandemic. Donation protocols for gay men continue to evolve. The goal is ultimately to have all blood donor eligibility based on risky behavior, as it is in other countries – regardless of sexual orientation.

Still, the enormous need for blood continues. As the Connecticut Post reported several months ago:

The Red Cross is urging people to donate as soon as they can if they are able. Potential donors can make an appointment to donate blood by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or enabling the Blood Donor Skill on any Alexa Echo device. Blood donors with type O blood and platelet donors are especially needed.

According to the Red Cross, donating blood is a safe process and people should not hesitate to give or receive blood. There are no data or evidence that this coronavirus can be transmissible by blood transfusion, and there have been no reported cases worldwide of transmissions for any respiratory virus from a transfusion, the Red Cross stated in the release.

The Red Cross only collects blood from individuals who are healthy and feeling well at the time of donation, and who meet other eligibility requirements, available at