Jeff Getty says he can’t eat bananas in public

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1998:

Jeff Getty, 41, subject of a failed
experimental bone marrow transplant from a
baboon in December 1995, and later a
spokesperson for animal use in biomedical
research, recently told New York Times
reporter Claudia Dreifus that he can’t eat a
banana in public because “People go ‘urk,
urk.’ They start laughing uncontrollably,
scratching their underarms, and making
embarrassing jokes like ‘How are your
friends at the zoo?’”
Asked Dreifus, “What exactly did
you do that makes people so uncomfortable
as to make banana jokes?”

“Cross the border of human centrism,”
Getty responded. “I’ve come to think
that when we do cross-species research, the
people who participate are thought of as not
necessarily 100% human afterward. There’s
this unconscious sense that the procedure has
created something adulterated, a human/animal…I
bet people with pig valves get lots of
pig jokes. I’m telling you now: people who
have pig valves in their hearts don’t go
around advertising it. And people who get
pig brain isolates, where they place cells for
people with epilepsy and Parkinson’s into the
brain––you can just imagine what will happen
there. They are going to be called ‘pigheaded.’
and people are going to wonder if
they are thinking right or thinking like a pig.”
Getty has lived with AIDS since
1981. He volunteered for the baboon bone
marrow transplant, which his body rejected,
in hopes it might cure him. Though it failed,
his health has subsequently improved.

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