homophobic much? queer man challenges blood donation law, is arrested

Someone check the calendar. What century is this again? Are queer men still denied the right and responsibility of blood donation in 2012?

Do we think a response on a questionnaire is adequate protection against the HIV virus entering the blood supply? Of course not. All the damn blood has to be tested anyway.

Do we think that any man who has sex with a man is HIV-positive? Of course not.

Do think that only queer men get HIV? Of course not.

So there's really only one thing to say. WTF?

Uri Horesh decided to say something more useful. He decided to nonviolently challenge the blood donation restriction. For this, he was arrested and suspended from his job.

I hope you'll read, sign, and share this petition. Uri Horesh is a friend of my friend David Heap, but more importantly, he's a man who is being punished for resisting injustice, so he needs support.

From Change.org:
Uri is a graduate student who until recently worked at Indiana University. On June 20, 2012, he was leaving the office and noticed a blood drive truck parked on school grounds. He knew that the government prevents men who have sex with men from giving blood, if they disclose it. But as he said, he "wanted to make a point."

He confronted this homophobic discrimination non-violently -- by talking about it -- and was subsequently arrested. He is now being charged with resisting arrest, battery and disorderly conduct.

The nurse who called the police on him said he spit on her. That couldn't be farther from the truth. The false allegation is a homophobic and AIDS-phobic attack on someone who had the courage to challenge a misguided and anachronistic policy, a policy which betrays the University's own non-discrimination rules.

You can't talk about homophobia at Indiana University?

After his arrest the University first claimed to support him, only to reverse course and ask him to resign or face suspension without pay.

This is how Uri tells it:

"I went in, waited for my turn, had my blood pressure and hemoglobin checked, and proceeded to answer a computerized questionnaire. When it was reviewed by the Red Cross employee, I was told that because I answered the question about having had sex with other men the way I did, I would be deferred indefinitely from donating blood.

I, in turn, told her that she was in violation of the Indiana University nondiscrimination policy, which, among others, prohibits banning any person from participating in university activities on the basis of sexual orientation. She called another Red Cross employee, who in turn called another Red Cross employee, who in turn called Indiana University Police.

Two police officers arrived at the bloodmobile, refusing to listen to anything I had to say. They grabbed me, refused to read me my rights under Miranda, even when I explicitly asked them to (they eventually did, after I was handcuffed and placed in the police car), and only told me I was under arrest after I asked them whether I was.

I later learned from one of the officers that one of the Red Cross employees (he referred to her as a "nurse") accused me of spitting at her. That is a false accusation. But in the State of Indiana, spitting at someone is considered "battery," and the mere charge of battery warrants placing the person arrested for that charge in custody for 24 hours.

I will spare you the details of my experience in Monroe County Jail. That, in and of its own, is worth a short story, which I currently lack the patience to write. But yes, I spent 24 hours in jail. And I now face three misdemeanor charges (battery, resisting law enforcement and disorderly conduct).

In other words, I am being put on trial for another person's homophobia."

Tell the District Attorney's office of Monroe County Indiana to drop all charges against Uri Horesh!
Sign here.

No comments: