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12 Aug, 2013 16:02

'Homophobic’ Russian TV anchor clarifies gay organ-donor ban comments

'Homophobic’ Russian TV anchor clarifies gay organ-donor ban comments

A controversy instigated by the international LGBT community has accused a leading Russian TV anchor of homophobia and forced him to explain himself. Speaking about “burning hearts of gays,” the host was actually referring to regulations of America’s FDA.

Many LGBT-oriented internet communities worldwide were up in arms about Dmitry Kiselev, accusing him of saying gay people “should be banned from donating blood, sperm,” and that “their hearts, in case of an automobile accident, should be buried in the ground or burned as unsuitable for the continuation of life.”

Naturally, the LGBT community in Russia and - to a much greater degree - in the US, speculated that Kiselev was actually encouraging the Russian public to kill gays and burn their hearts.

The incident took place on April 4, 2012 when TV anchor and deputy director of leading government channel Russia 1 Dmitry Kiselev made a statement on his Historic Process show, in an edition dedicated to homosexual propaganda to minors in Russia.

During the program, Kiselev was advocating strict regulation of any same-sex activities among teenagers. One of the phrases he uttered in this show somehow suddenly came to the attention of the LGBT community in Russia and abroad more than a year later, becoming a black mark for the host.

A word for word translation of the ‘homophobic’ phrase should be as follows:

“I believe that imposing fines on gays for homosexual propaganda to minors is insufficient. They should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and, in the case of a [fatal] road accident, their hearts should be either buried or cremated as unsuitable for the prolongation of anybody’s life,” Kiselev said. The remark was met with applause. During the program, the Russian public was invited to vote and Kiselev received overwhelming audience support for his position.

In a recent interview to Izvestia daily Dmitry Kiselev has finally explained what he meant by the controversial phrase.


In the interview, Kiselev flatly denied any allegations of homophobia, saying that he has enough gay friends not to be labeled a homophobe.

He pointed out that the Russian public actually failed to understand that in 2012 he was speaking about legal medical practices in the Russian Federation that unfortunately are still lagging behind internationally-recognized organ donation legislation.

“This is internationally-recognized practice and I called for nothing unusual. This is a norm in the US, Europe, Japan, in the Arab countries – practically everywhere, but not in Russia.”

Kiselev referred to the ‘MSM’ policy regulations of America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) available for open access on the agency’s official website.

“Men who have had sex with other men (MSM), at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion,” says the statement on FDA official website.

“FDA's deferral policy is based on the documented increased risk of certain transfusion transmissible infections, such as HIV, associated with male-to-male sex and is not based on any judgment concerning the donor's sexual orientation,” the website says.

The restrictions on tissue and organ donations in the US are much less severe. Rather than a lifetime prohibition for all homosexual males, only men who had sex with another man in the preceding five years are ineligible to donate tissues. Meanwhile, gay organ donors are not subject to a donation ban, but the organ transplant recipient and the transplant program receiving the organ are informed of a higher risk of HIV transmission.

Dmitry Kiselev however pointed out that this regulation applies to some human biological material donation, including post-mortem donation of organs and body tissues.

“If he [a homosexual] is a biker and he gets his head torn off [in a road accident], he would not be considered as an organ donor. He will be either committed to the earth or cremated,” Kiselev stressed, saying that “Russia is fogyish in this regard."

The direct correlation between AIDS being spread mostly in the homosexual community is an internationally recognized fact, Kiselev said.

America’s FDA confirms that, “A history of male-to-male sex is associated with an increased risk for exposure to and transmission of certain infectious diseases, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Men who have had sex with other men represent approximately 2 percent of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV. In 2010, MSM accounted for at least 61 percent of all new HIV infections in the US and an estimated 77 percent of diagnosed HIV infections among males were attributed to male-to-male sexual contact.”

No tests can give a 100 percent guarantee of the absence of the HIV virus in human tissue, so gay men are not allowed to be donors of blood, sperm or organs in most countries, Kiselev stressed, while in Russia medics still have no right to deny blood donation by a known homosexual person.

“There must be a law in Russia prohibiting these people becoming donors. A law that would make a lie on this matter a crime. Because this is a personal responsibility and a grievous sin. As of now the responsibility for this sin lies with the doctor and the state,” he told Izvestia, calling for a public and legal discussion on the issue to be started in Russia.

Kiselev confessed that his notorious phrase was a provocative one from the start, a “healthy medical provocation,” as he put it, because “the sensitivity threshold in Russia is unfortunately too high,” and it takes a harsh utterance to wake people up.

Russian gay people would agree to take responsibility for their donorship if they became acquainted with the international expertise on the issue, Kiselev shared.

“If they are responsible citizens they would support that law, like the American gay people did. I believe Russia’s human rights organizations should lobby for that kind of law, too,” he said.

The TV anchor spoke against any kind of mass public sexual manifestation, be it a gay parade or a hypothetical parade of the “sexual majority”, simply because in Russian cultural tradition a sexual relationship is intimate, i.e. non-public. For those interested there are sex clubs which are not prohibited, Kiselev said.

“Just practice safe sex.”

“I’m strongly against dragging children into homosexual activities. Because according to [Sigmund] Freud any child is bisexual,” Dmitry Kiselev said. “I believe homosexual propaganda in Russia should be banned on that basis.”