The End the Ban campaign is becoming a hot political topic.

The Silhouette


Last week as I was reading the Silhouette, I noticed an opinion piece concerning an issue near and dear to my heart: the ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood. Excited as I was to see this important issue get the airtime it rightfully deserves, I was disturbed by the premise of Mr. Granat’s argument – that by not voting to join the End the Ban campaign of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), the SRA had voted to let discrimination continue against gay men.

I have been a vocal advocate for the queer community on campus for nearly ten years now, and I do not support the SRA taking a stand on the blood ban. In fact, I outright oppose the SRA going near the issue. Simply put, the ban on men who have sex with men from donating blood is an issue that properly belongs at the most serious levels of national policy making and public discourse. The dignity of my human rights deserves better than to be debated on by a group of part-time student politicians who, quite frankly, cannot hope to change the status quo. By taking on the issue of the blood ban, the CFS and members of the SRA who brought it forward have trivialized the queer community’s battle to be taken seriously in the eyes of politicians and policy makers that can change the reality of the blood ban.

The problem worsens when one realizes that introducing the motion to join the End the Ban campaign was merely a wedge issue used to rally support for competing ideologies on the Student Representative Assembly. Make no mistake, the students involved in bringing the motion forward are fully aware that End the Ban will have no effect. Their action is being used as a convenient political tool in a time of political instability on the SRA. My blood and my rights and the rights of my friends and colleagues should not be used as the centerpiece in an ideological battle between the competing factions of student politicians.

Finally, I take offense to the idea that the SRA as a body could perpetuate any kind of discrimination against the queer community. Historically the SRA has been a venue where queer students have thrived. I can think of countless queer SRA members who held tremendous influence and have risen to the offices of Speaker, Vice-President and President. These people have guided and shaped the culture of student politics on campus, and if the SRA were a body capable of discrimination against the queer community, they (myself included) would not have risen to such heights of power and influence. Rather, the SRA has always been an inclusive environment, where anyone can achieve success so long as his or her skills merit attention.

The SRA needs to take a step back from the blood ban issue and think: are there problems we can actually affect to help students? The answer is, of course, yes. There are still students bordering on starving. There are still students with terrible landlords. There are still issues about student space and the affordability of education. Students need their representatives to talk about present issues at McMaster, not nation-wide policy that should be left to professionals and real community activists. Stop using my blood as a war drum of political ideology, and pay attention to the needs of students on campus. Then you might have earned the right to be re-elected.

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