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Donating My Bodily Fluids or Killing Myself

an excerpt from my book, The Gay Road Less Traveled, which I hope to have published in 2016

Ain’t Got No/I Got Life – Nina Simone

On the Monday after Thanksgiving I return to sell plasma at the donation center in Wilton Manors. The center is busy, there are lines of people waiting to check in. Once the donor checks-in, we are called into cubicles to see the not-nurses/screeners, who OK or deny our donation suitability. I get in the queue for the check-in kiosks. 20 minutes later I type my ID # and present my thumbprint, to be scanned into one of the three computer terminals. The screen identifies me, but instead of popping up a screen of 35 questions like “Do you currently reside in a home with an individual who has hepatitis?” the computer screen flashes “Client not appropriate for kiosk, declined. Proceed to special screening intake.” I get in line for the not-nurses, and 10 minutes later, I am sitting in a cubicle with one of the screeners.

“The computer said I wasn’t appropriate to do my questions and that I needed to come see you” I tell the somewhat big-boned not-nurse whose name-tag says “Beatrice.” I am growing a little concerned.