Queer Provocateurs Challenge Red Cross’s Homophobic Policies with Fierce ParodyDavid Wojnarowicz 17 Jul 2008 02:38 GMT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact Person: David Wojnarowicz Phone: 207-577-4032 Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Queer Provocateurs Challenge Red Cross’s Homophobic Policies with Fierce Parody Portland, ME — Over the last week radical queer provocateurs have plastered the community bulletin boards of downtown Portland with a satirical yet urgent poster campaign alluding to the blatantly homophobic policies, steeped in the AIDS paranoia of the 80s and 90s, of the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross states in their eligibility guidelines for blood donors: “You should not give blood if you have AIDS or have ever had a positive HIV test, or if you have done something that puts you at risk for becoming infected with HIV. You are at risk for getting infected if you: - are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977.”... This criminalization and equating of queer sexual behavior with HIV/AIDS not only reinforces notions of normalcy and acceptable “safe” sexual behaviors (heterosexual monogamy), but proves the American Red Cross’s interest in capital over public health. Instead of using blood drives as an opportunity for free, anonymous, confidential, non- compulsory HIV testing for all people, since all blood entering hospitals, research labs, blood banks, etc must be tested anyways, the American Red Cross has chosen to exclude already marginalized populations under the guise of public health and safety. If the American Red Cross was actually concerned about the health and safety of the general public and about “saving a life”, they would over turn their homophobic policies, publicly support comprehensive sexual education and actually educate the public about infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS with culturally appropriate information. Instead they cloud the issue with questionable policies and continue to marginalize populations of people that have been devastated by AIDS and who continue to see infection rates rise within their communities. The American Red Cross can be given no slack because they are a philanthropic organization. Simply because they “save lives” does not get their polices off the hook. They are only saving certain bodies and certain lives, while letting others die. They are a huge institution in the United States and across the world and must be held accountable for their dubious policies.