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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for August, 2008

More Nonsensical Claims in Australian Red Cross Tribunal

Timothy Kincaid

August 20th, 2008

We told you yesterday of Doctor Brenton Wylie, an expert witness for the Red Cross appearing before the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Tribunal to explain why gay men are excluded from giving blood. Dr. Wylie presented some statistics that are mathmatically ludicrous.

Now the Red Cross runs the risk of sounding like a bunch of extremist homophobes with little to no connection to reality.

US professor Dr Paul Holland, a former blood source executive testifying for the Red Cross, claimed even digital penetration of the nose or ear would justify the lifetime ban his country imposes on gay men.

“That would usually be sufficient to exchange fluid and qualify as sex,” Dr Holland told the Tribunal. When asked if that included gay men who had done nothing more than kissing, Holland replied, “Yes, sir, because they increase their chance of transmitting an infection such as HIV.”

Really, Dr. Holland?

In theory prolonged kissing of a rough nature could result in bleeding which could in the right circumstances enter the bloodstream of an uninfected person through a cut in the mouth. To date I believe the CDC lists a grand total of one person (a heterosexual woman) for whom this may have been a possible cause of transmission.

But is there a sane person out there who thinks that kissing is a significant risk for HIV transmission? And the logic behind excluding gay men who kiss from blood donation based on the example of this heterosexual woman evades me.

As for a “wet willie“, well that’s just stupid.

But Holland’s later comments help give context to his claims.

The Red Cross’ lawyer also took a page out of the anti-gay Christian lobby’s strategy stating gay male monogamy was a myth.

The Tribunal has heard a flurry of statistics from the Red Cross based on a New Zealand focus group of 11 couples that appeared to show gay men have 10 times as many partners as heterosexual men.

In a manner worthy of Paul Cameron, the focus group that Holland quoted explicitly excluded men who practice safe sex in monogamous relationships.

It seems that in an effort to shore up their policy, the Red Cross in Australia has signed on a bunch of anti-gay loons unafraid to make the most bizarre and irrational of claims. And that is unfortunate.

All of us rely on the safety of the blood bank in our country. And if there are legitimate reasons based on sound science for excluding all gay men, they should be given careful consideration and not be tainted by extremist anti-gay nonsense.

And if there are other areas of concern that need immediate attention which are being ignored or given less emphasis – such as the growing epidemic in the Asia Pacific region or the highly increased mortality resulting from old blood – then the health of all Australians or visitors is being threatened just to accomodate the outmoded homophobic presumptions and attitudes of those in charge.