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Are We Truly Equal?

It’s strange how our minds work, how our filters change. We generalise, delete and distort trillions of bits of information at every nano second to fit it all in and then our fantastic minds file it all away into ways that makes sense to us all individually.

I had an experience of that recently which has prompted me to put my thoughts to paper. I’ve spent some time  last week in a retirement home delivering Equality and Diversity to a few of the staff members there.

A great time was had by all, we enjoyed some great, in-depth discussion and shared some personal experiences as well as some public examples that I had found in the press. This is where my filters came in…

You see, in  preparation for delivering my course I spent sometime researching current news so I could make the examples relevant and encourage the staff could share their views comfortably.

As I mentioned the course went well, I even received an invitation to join Bev and her friends on a weekend Blackpool trip but I’d have to dress as Hilda Odgen so I regretfully declined. I do not look good in a tabard! The group stated quite rightly that equality isn’t about treating everyone the same, this is an impossibility.

Equality is about treating everyone fairly and it’s this that caught my eye today. I’ve found myself still looking through the press and something on my Twitter account caught my eye.

Will Young, the singer, stated that he couldn’t give blood as he is a gay man. When I read into it there was an article in the Pink News which revealed that the Government were due to change the antiquated ban on any gay man giving blood.

They (the Government) are quoted as saying that the ban could be ‘discriminatory and could be in breach of the Equality Act’. So instead they are going to allow gay men who’ve not had sex for the last 10 years to give blood. ‘Is that fair? I asked myself. In light of my current filters being on the subject of equality and diversity this has really got me thinking.

We are nearly 30 years from the discovery of the HIV virus and the prevention and detection processes and techniques have progressed leaps and bounds since the early ’80’s. In fact, from what I’ve read if you need an AIDS test it takes no longer than 3 months to get the results back to you.

Now, I am aware of the risks of contaminated blood but in the article it actually states that there’s been 2 recorded cases of HIV contracted via transfusion in the past 20 years which doesn’t ring alarm bells in my head.

Other Governments have changed their rules, Sweden recently lifted the lifetime ban on gay men giving blood, while Belgium and parts of Spain do not discriminate against gay men who wish to donate blood. Australia only bans donations from people who have had gay sex in the past year.

So as our Government decides on a change in the ban and the T.V and radio adverts continue to tell us there’s a shortage of blood and our transfusion service is in meltdown I ask you to consider are we really living in an equal and fair society?

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