I hadn't been asked about giving blood in a long time, and it hadn't really been on my radar. But my friend was in there, and it was a good cause. I was feeling healthy, maybe it was something I could do...
She handed me the materials, and as I scanned them, my stomach dropped. There it was. As a gay man, I wasn't allowed to donate.
No matter the need, no matter the health of my blood, they weren't interested in my Gay blood.
She asked if I wanted to donate.
I told her I'd be happy to, but as a gay man it seemed they didn't want my blood after all.
It was embarrassing, and kind of humiliating. And it made me angry.
Did you know that gay men (who have ever had sex) aren't allowed to donate blood? Even if they practice safe sex? And did you know that ban is for life?
This at the same time that the American Red Cross is reporting Emergency-level shortages of blood.
At the recent Los Angeles Gay Pride,
"...2,085 attendees were given detailed information about this policy and then signed a petition in support of efforts to lift the ban. Each signature represented one pint of blood collected, for a total of 2,085 pints, which could have saved over 6,000 lives."
Want to have your voice heard about this injustice?
Check out this petition:
SAVE A LIFE PETITION TO REPEAL THE FDA'S MSM BLOOD BAN
To Whom It May Concern,
This petition is for moving towards repealing the FDA's 1985 MSM Blood Ban, which prevents all sexually active gay males from donating blood and vital organs for life.
It is stated that men having sex with other men is a High Risk behavior for contracting HIV/AIDS, when this is an issue that no longer holds merit and is severely outdated. We feel that there is no difference in a "gay" man or "straight" man/woman who engage in safe sexual activity. It is a bigotry that has gone overlooked, and an unnecessary segregation.
Labeling an entire community of people as, "HIGH RISK" for contracting HIV/AIDS, irresponsibly sentences them to feeling as if they are soon to be victims of something that they have no control over.
Please sign this petition to help us bring about the end to the FDA's 1985 MSM Blood Ban, and to allow all healthy gay men to do their part in helping to SAVE A LIFE.
You can sign it here.