Tag: blood

Danika reviews A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson – The Lesbrary

Susan reviews The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

You liked me best when I was like an oil painting; perfectly arranged and silent.

A Dowry of Blood is a queer polyamorous reimagining of Dracula’s brides. If you, like me, are already intrigued, I recommend reading this without knowing much more about it, as long as you are aware that it depicts unhealthy and abusive relationships and includes descriptions of gore. This is a meditative look at this relationship, so it’s easy for me to give away more than I mean to–the relationship doesn’t even turn into a polycule until about halfway through. In case you need more convincing, though, I will forge on ahead.

This is a M/F/F/M polycule, and each of the four characters are bisexual (or pansexual). We see this relationship through Constanta’s eyes, who was his first bride. She was dying as a casualty on a battlefield when he came in as her savior, turning her and nursing her back to health. She is overwhelmingly in love with him: “And God, how I adored you. It went beyond love, beyond devotion. I wanted to dash myself against your rocks like a wave, obliterate my old self and see what rose shining and new from the sea foam.” She also kills him within the first pages of the book. The rest of the story backtracks to say how we got there.

I should specify that the name Dracula never appears in the book. Constanta is telling this story to him, explaining what brought her to killing him, and she decides that because he took her name away–renaming her Constanta–she would similarly rob him of his name. It feels silly to talk about a book about vampires being a meditation on an abusive relationship, but it really is. Although this is fantastical, her descriptions of how she–and later, the other “brides”–are treated feels all too realistic.

He is patronizing, possessive, at times adoring or absent or cruel. Constanta learns to walk on eggshells, not speaking asking more than two questions in a row. He wants to be her only source of joy: “Vienna made you irritable as much as it made me blossom. I wouldn’t realize until later that you were irritable precisely because I was in bloom, because there were suddenly so many sources of joy in my life apart from your presence.”

Constanta was a devout Christian before being turned, and she still practices her faith, to his disdain. She also hunts despicable people, those that she believes the world will be better off without. She finds monsters who are untouchable and kills them. He believes this is petty, childish. He studies humans from a scientific distance, believing that they are superior to humans. He mocks her concern with human society. After all, they live for centuries, making each plague or war an inconvenience that they travel to escape from, but nothing to take too seriously.

Vague spoilers:

She is unhappy and confused by his mercurial affection, but she’s still captivated by him and relies on him. Their relationship changes when he manipulates her into accepting new “brides,” seemingly becoming bored with just her company. At first, it’s Magdalena: a commanding, powerful woman with political correspondents around the world. She is resentful of him bringing her into their relationship, but she can’t help but fall for Magdalena herself. At first, this arrangement works: Magdalena and Constanta keep each other company in his absences (often in bed), and he is charmed by Magdalena’s energy. Soon, though, his controlling nature saps her of her vitality, and she is left a shadow of the free, vital woman she once was.

Still, they might have continued this way for centuries more, until he adds Alexi to their mix. Alexi is a young man (“no more than nineteen”) who adds fresh life to their home–but Alexi also challenges him and refuses to accept their limitations, leading to constant stand-offs and tension. Constanta could endure her own pain, but she can’t stand to see Magdalena and Alexi suffer.

Although this is a vampire novel, complete with ample sex scenes and gory scenes, it’s just as much about Constanta reflecting on her relationship with this captivating and abusive person. She begins to see it through a different light, and she doesn’t apologize for her actions. She recognizes that they loved each other, but that they couldn’t live this way, and that all three of them were in danger if they let it continue.

If you want a bisexual polyamorous vampire novel that is also thoughtful and atmospheric, definitely pick up A Dowry of Blood.

Gay lawmaker turned away from blood donation centre

Shevrin Jones Florida blood donation

A gay lawmaker and coronavirus survivor tried to donate plasma to help others – but he was turned away because of his sexuality.

Shevrin Jones, a Democratic member of the Florida House of Representatives, went to a blood drive on August 7 with his mother Bloneva Jones and his father Eric Jones.

The three decided to donate blood because they had recently recovered from COVID-19 and wanted to help others by donating their antibody-rich blood.

Writing on Twitter, Jones said: “I was blessed to get through COVID, and it’s only right that we bless someone else and give them a fighting chance to live also.

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Florida lawmaker Shevrin Jones was told he can’t donate blood because of his sexual orientation.

But Jones’ dreams were quickly shattered when he was turned away by OneBlood because of a government policy that requires queer men to practice celibacy for three months before donating blood.

After he was turned away, Shevrin wrote on Twitter that he was “disappointed” he could not donate blood because of his sexual orientation.

“I was ‘deferred’ for another time. The good news is, my mom, dad, brother and over 20 other people saved a life today!”

He added: “Too bad my blood plasma isn’t good enough.”

To make matters worse, the incident was later turned into a campaign tactic in an anonymous homophobic text campaign.

I was ‘deferred’ for another time. The good news is, my mom, dad, brother and over 20 other people saved a life today!

Jones, who is currently running to become Florida’s first Black gay senator, was shocked to discover that texts were sent out to voters in Senate District 35 last week saying he had been discriminated against for “homosexual contact”.

The text linked to a website set up where an article about his blood donation ban was copied word-for-word.

“It’s a shame that my opponents have stooped to this new low to try and win,” Jones told the Miami Herald

“Rather than running off the issues that matter to the voters of our community, they have chosen to lob desperate attacks based on antiquated, discriminatory FDA policy… Hate never wins.”

Experts have urged the United States to overturn its ‘scientifically outdated’ blood donation ban.

Gay and bisexual men have been banned from donating blood in the United States since the 1980s, when the AIDS epidemic was at its height.

The original ban prevented any man who had ever had sex with another man from donating blood for life – but it has been relaxed considerably since then.

Earlier this year, the food and drug administration (FDA) reduced the deferral period – meaning the amount of time a man must remain celibate before donating blood – from 12 months to three months.

But experts warn that it still does not go far enough. 

In April, more than 500 doctors and experts in the United States wrote to the FDA urging them to overturn the “scientifically outdated ban”.

“While the FDA’s recent decision to shorten the prohibition window to three months is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough in reversing the unscientific ban,” the letter said.