I had been picking people's brains about giving plasma because I heard it was a good way to get some extra cash (and obviously I'm in need of it). I hadn't donated blood or blood products in many years, and thought the goodwill implications couldn't hurt hemophiliacs or burn victims anyway... ZLB Plasma Services has many locations across the United States and pays a donation for people who are eligible to donate plasma. The interior looks very much like an ongoing sidewalk sale, garishly colored posters compelling new and more frequent donations for certain incentives. The whole ordeal took three and a half hours, most of which was done in screeners and brief examinations and a lot of waiting around. Toward the end of the actual donation process, some nurse named Linda asked me to talk to her after I was finished. Slightly annoyed and rather cold after getting saline and my blood cells pumped back into me, we went to a private room. She asked me to re-read the AIDS Bulletin and then to confirm if I fit into any of those high-risk groups. I said no. She asked if I were sure. I re-read them aloud this time and said no again. She then added, "I have a moral responsibility of ensuring that these blood products are safe for the public." She told me to look her in the eye and state my answer, which I did, and then she muttered "I hate doing this because I have to make a judgment call." I whisked the PIN for the payment slip away from her. What the fuck? In a separate and clearly more professional sit-down with another official, I stated my embarrassment and shock at being persisted upon. I maintained that I had no MSM (men having sex with men) contact, and that the only exception was receiving a couple of blowjobs from guys a very long time ago, which was more than enough for ineligibility. I called the clinic back when I got home and asked to speak to Linda. I questioned the professionalism of her sit-down with me. She said that she had to ask because a colleague of hers had suspicions or maybe recognized me or someone that looked like me -- not sure; pardon my language, but some fag wearing a ridiculous haircut, a tacky eyebrow ring, and surely not hiding his sexuality when he says "Wakey, wakey!" tugging some guy's foot and asking him not to sleep during the process, really doesn't have the right to start up hearsay. I apologized for my lack of awareness. I thought the particular sexual behavior listed on the bulletin related to anal sex; I was wrong. I didn't apologize for demanding a more forthright, professional interview. I told her that she had no right to ask my orientation or even to dance all around it, and that I would gladly permit my plasma or blood to be tested for anything since God knows I ain't gettin' much in the way of bootie from either gender. Even better, I have had even more unprotected sex with women and not a single one of those encounters were brought into question. If hearsay and physical appearance are any indicators, so too might the plasma samples be destroyed of many urban poor persons who entered the clinic. My roommate overheard one official talking about the way in which he cleaned chairs as indicative of all the "trash" that comes in here. I primed Linda further, asking if she would question individuals who "looked" like they had used IV drugs or needles or engaged in prostitution or what have you. She kept going around in circles with me, evading my answers, and, frustrated, I hung up on her. I wrote a complaint in ZLB's customer survey, and I spent $15 of the $40 donation on some groceries. I wanted to post my story because I imagine it's going to take some time to cool down. I'm really pissed. I also wanted to dissuade people from donating because rationales regarding safety are incredibly weak in the face of demand for blood and blood products. The antiquated blood donation guidelines make men who have done anything beyond mutual masturbation and kissing permanently ineligible for blood donation in the United States. So, it would be reasonable to assume that no gay man of any frequency of practice at least 30 or younger could qualify; nor varying degrees of non-heterosexual; or, women who might have had contact with such a male. I got my dick sucked a couple of times (and not all that well, I might add) and I was in for a world of grief today. Please learn and pass this on.