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Ben Hansen-Hicks

Geo/Socio/Politico

Katie,

Ben here. I saw an LBC video in which you questioned the new NHS PrEP trial for gay and bisexual men to receive the life-altering anti-HIV drug, free at the point of need.

I couldn’t help think that your argument was not only flawed and underresearched – to say the least – but also highly offensive and demeaning.

I realise you’re the nation’s mouthpiece when it comes to stirring up xenophobia, homophobia, Europhobia – and any other phobia in between – in order to get people to listen in to your LBC show, but this is beyond the pale.

Just a few quick points to pick up before I go on;
How you paint a picture in which all gay and bisexual men are promiscuous – by default – is utterly abhorrent. It’s not only that you believe these men are promiscuous but that they also engage in unsafe sex whenever they have intercourse.

This is rather interesting for a few reasons. First and foremost – it’s totally untrue. I’d love to see where you plucked the figures of this study from to lead you to such a bold and sweeping statement. The Daily Mail perhaps? They always do have the best facts and punchy headlines, don’t they? Can you remember when that gay – and former Olympian – who was among the three judges to vote for parliamentary oversight for Brexit? “Enemies of the People”. Enemies of the People. On the front page. Not even 6 months after the wonderful Jo Cox was brutally murdered in what has just been ruled as a politically-minded assassination. That headline will stay with me forever – bitterly disappointing and jarring simultaneously.

My second point is that it’s quite comical – in an awfully naive way – that you feel that it is only gay and bisexual men who engage with unsafe sex and promiscuous sexual behaviour; wasn’t it yourself who was caught having sex al fresco with a married man in a field in the country a few years ago? Did your adulterer friend wear a condom that time? Maybe you got an STI and had to go to a Sexual Health Clinic to get tested? Who knows.

Yes, some promiscuousity and unsafe sexual practice is unfortunately present in the LGBT community that I am a part of, but makes up only a few small percentage points of the community population as a whole.

Something I know for certain though, is that nearly every single gay or bisexual man I have known or been on a date with before, has a thorough understanding of:

A) Sexually transmitted infections and how infections can spread.

B) How important safe sex coupled with regular sexual health checkups are for the LGBT community.

Can I give you some rather friendly advice? Think before you speak next time. And something to do, even before you think? Do your homework.

It pays to be prepared when you’re broadcasting to the nation, on behalf of LBC Radio.

But lastly, I just want to make one thing clear. I’m not angry about the comments you made with regard to whether gay and bisexual men should be provided with life-saving medication that has been scientifically proven to not only prevent, but also bring down existing HIV infections in the bloodstream to near miniscule – nigh on undetectable – levels, meaning that such people can go on and live a long and healthy life, without having to worry about premature death due to a preventable disease.

All I say is this; I pity you Katie. I pity the vitriol that you have spew to keep your job. I pity you when you say things such as:

“Women don’t want equal treatment; they couldn’t handle it if they got it.” – you were talking about your view on feminism there, in case you’ve forgotten.

You seem to be locked in a malevolent spiral of bile that you can’t seem to get out of.

Have you ever thought that maybe broadcast just isn’t for you?

Maybe you should work in a different field.

One with less exposure perhaps?

The reason that I’m writing this open letter to you is because I am in the middle of a campaign to gain equal blood donor rights for bisexual and gay men in the UK. I have been canvassing John Pallutto (of the NHS Blood and Transport board) and, of late, James Neuberger of the SaBTO – Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs – board; set up by the government, this panel of scientific experts will decide the blood donation policy of the UK and will announce their findings next year.

Both John and James, and all their dedicated and well-educated staff have been helpful in every way, even offering me a chance to submit research or evidence in favour of removing the ban, before the panel makes a verdict next year.

Maybe instead of victimising 1 in 10 people in this country (1 in 10 are meant to be bisexual or gay, according to relatively-dated research; I personally think the ratio is far higher), maybe you should think about writing a postcard to James with a good reason why gay and bisexual men (MSM donors) should be allowed to give blood without having to abstain from all sexual contact for 12 months.

I’ve already written 85 postcards so far and I’m not stopping any time soon.

I’d advise that writing a postcard yourself is a far more constructive use of your time.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Best

Ben

#EqualBloodProject

P.S. In the mean time, why don’t you educate yourself on PrEP, but also how HIV and AIDS are spread; http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/prep.html

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