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Late Cynic drummer Sean Reinert has organ donor wishes denied due to his sexuality

Sean Reinert
Sean Reinert (Image credit: Steve Thorne/Redferns - Getty)

The husband of late Cynic and Death drummer Sean Reinert claims authorities in the US have refused to allow the musician’s organs to be donated because of his sexuality.

The 48-year-old died last month, with his husband Tom posting the message on Reinert’s Facebook page – stating that despite Reinert’s wishes to help others in need after his death, the organ donor programme in the country won’t allow it to happen.

Tom says: “My husband Sean was an organ donor. 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.

“After I got home from the hospital the night Sean passed I received a phone call about 1am from a person who works with the organ donor programme at the hospital where Sean passed. They notified me that Sean was identified as an organ donor in their database and wanted to ask me some questions about him to proceed.

“I could not deal with the stress of this at the time and asked if I could wait to talk to them the next morning and they said, although time was of the essence, that would be fine as there’s a 24 hour window to harvest organs.”

Tom says that after consulting with Reinert’s sister later that morning, he called the hospital back to say he was ready to proceed and answer questions to move the process forward. 

Tom adds: “After the first few standard questions she asked if Sean was a sexually active homosexual male. Without thinking I said, ‘Yes” and almost without missing a beat she said, ‘Well, unfortunately that means…’

“I went numb because I knew what she was about to say. She said a few more words and then I interrupted her, said some words back and hung up the phone.

“Sean did not have HIV or any other STDs for that matter. 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 person's life. 

“The government would rather let people waiting for a transplant die than give them one of Sean’s organs. As his husband it makes me sick to my stomach and incredibly angry.”

After some people quizzed Tom if this was indeed accurate, he posted: “The specific guidelines are for men who have had male to male sexual contact in the last 12 months. 

“It's regulated by the FDA and those guidelines are still in place. So while websites may say it's a 'myth' that LGBTQ+ people can't donate, that is not true of sexually active men.”

Tom discovered Reinert unresponsive at home last month. The drummer was rushed to hospital but life-saving procedures proved ineffective and he was pronounced dead upon arrival.