Sure they convicted Alan Turing and drove him to suicide by poisoned apple—but score one for the U.K. team this week.
After decades of pleading, screaming, and finally grabbing an emery board and patiently filing their nails while waiting out the homophobes, gay men in the United Kingdom are now officially able to donate blood, as of June 14 (World Blood Donor Day). Previously, they were exempt from donating if they had had same-sex sex within the last three months, regardless of whether or not they were in a monogamous relationship.
Now, potential donors of any gender who have had anal sex with a new partner or multiple partners in the last three months may still be exempt from giving blood, but they will be eligible once more in three months.
The change in policy isn’t all great news, though. Even in the midst of this historic change (the U.K. now has some of the most generous blood donor regulations in the world) comes more tired stereotypes about HIV/AIDS, including a three-month ban on anyone who has engaged in intercourse—even with a condom—“in parts of the world where HIV/AIDS is very common.” And then they promptly added, like “most countries in Africa.”
Wales and Scotland removed that survey question, though it remains in England (surprise!). The Terrence Higgins Trust promptly demanded that such regulations, predominately targeting the Black community, be removed.
Of course, even with that draconian exemption in place, the U.K. is still light years ahead of the U.S., a country run by people who only want pink dollars—not red corpuscles.