Jacob is the founder of Denizen Studios, a documentary production firm dedicated to promoting civic engagement. He has recently published an article in Tablet Magazine titled “Behind the Blood Ban,” where he explores the roots that blood donor discrimination has in antisemitism.
Today, this kind of discrimination mainly targets the LGBTQ+ community in many countries. In the USA, for example, gay and bisexual men have been banned from donating blood since 1982, when the American government implemented the ban riding the wave of stigma that the HIV/AIDS pandemic brought about against the LGBTQ+ community. Jacob draws parallels between the origins of blood discrimination in 1900 and how it replicated itself throughout the 20th century, always at the expenses of minorities:
“The Austrian government announced last month that the country would soon put an end to its lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men, joining the U.K., Israel, Greece, France, and a slew of other countries that recently eliminated their de facto “gay blood bans” under pressure from LGBTQ+ activist groups and COVID-19 strains on national blood supplies.”
In the article, Jacob shows that the stigma of blood bans has profound medical costs in addition to social ones – according to research he cites, an additional 360,000 men would likely donate 615,300 additional pints of blood in the USA each year should the current ban be lifted.
You can find Jacob Fertig’s article on this Tablet Magazine’s page.