By: Cindy Antonacci Tardif
Héma-Quebec organised a blood drive in Conrods on Oct. 6 and 7 as the Dawson Student Union (DSU) raised awareness for the End the Ban campaign, which is aimed at fighting the lifetime ban forced onto men who have had sex with men since 1977 from donating blood.
Matthew Mancini, the DSU’s Director of Communications and Media was giving out End the Ban flyers in front of Conrod’s hoping to spread more awareness of the cause. “We’re not going to say don’t give blood we’re just going to tell people that gay men or men that have slept with men can’t give blood and try to explain why that’s not right, why that doesn’t have any basis in scientific fact” Mancini said the day before the blood drive.
“It’s a double edged sword, you know, if people decide they don’t want to give blood, you know it’s great that they’re supporting the cause, also I mean, it’s not great that there will be less blood donated to people who really need it, but you know that’s the point. It’s not just us saying we’re not going to give blood you’re not going to have as much, they’re also denying people who could give good blood. It goes both ways,” Mancini continued.
Michelle Gagnon-Creeley,a fifth semester North South student, coordinated the blood drive this year. Creeley was not worried that the DSU would stop people from donating; she believed people felt the same way about it as she did. “I personally don’t agree with that rule either, but there’s only so much you can do. Regardless of whether or not the criteria is fair, we do need blood.’’
Creeley expressed how pleased she was concerning the high attendance. “I put flyers anywhere I could. I really wanted people to give.” Creeley also agreed with the presence of the DSU. “There was the DSU hanging outside but they weren’t menacing so it wasn’t a big deal.”
Erin Hayes, a third semester Child Studies student, waited for her turn to give blood on Thursday afternoon alongside 20 other people sitting around her. Hayes expressed her views on the advertisement of the End the Ban campaign. “I think the reason they’re petitioning, it’s cause they want to be able to give blood so I’m not going to not give blood cause that defeats the purpose.”