Late Cynic Drummer Sean Reinert Wasn’t Allowed to Donate His Organs Because He Was Gay
The metal community experienced a tragic loss earlier this year with the death of Sean Reinert, Cynic and Ex-Death drummer. Sean, who was seen as one of metal’s most influential queer icons, died on January 24, at the age of 48. Before his death, Sean had decided to donate his organs– but he wasn’t allowed to because of his sexual orientation, according to a post his husband Tom wrote on Facebook.
“My husband Sean was an organ donor,” wrote Tom. “He believed that when he passed on if his organs could go to someone in need that it would be a great thing. He was incredibly kind and giving in every way imaginable as many of his closest friends are well aware.”
Tom was initially contacted by the organ donation program on the night of Sean’s death. He said he was unable to speak about it at that time, and after discussing it with Sean’s sister Patti, called the program the next morning. He was asked to answer a set of questions about Sean.
“After the first few standard questions she asked if Sean was a sexually active homosexual male,” Tom wrote. “Without thinking I said ‘yes’ and almost without missing a beat she said ‘well, unfortunately that means….” and I went numb because I knew what she was about to say.”
In the United States, organ donors are screened for potential risk of disease using a series of criteria. The Public Health Service regulation states that men who have engaged in same-sex sexual contact in the past twelve months are considered to be at “increased risk” for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Increased risk donations are not prohibited, but are considered on a case-by-case basis, as long as potential organ recipients are informed of the risk and give their consent. However, the Health and Human Services Department acknowledges that designating a donor as increased risk discourages people from accepting the organ donation.
“Sean did not have HIV, or any other STD’s for that matter,” said Tom. “But because he was a gay man living in America in 2020 he was not allowed one of his final wishes of donating his organs to help save another persons life. The government would rather let people waiting for a transplant die than give them one of Seans organs. As his husband it makes me sick to my stomach and incredibly angry.”
Everyone at Kerrang! sends their thoughts to Sean’s friends, family, and loved ones during this difficult time.
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