Stop Homophobic Organ Donation Ban


Target: Margaret A. Hamburg Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Goal: End homophobic ban on organ transplants from gay donors

Homophobic and baseless Food and Drug Administration FDA regulation refuses the donation of certain tissues from gay donors on top of their much-opposed ban on gay blood donation. Stigmatized ostensibly for the presence of HIV-ridden tissue, donations are regularly turned down from donors who tested negative for the virus. Extremely accurate HIV tests are conducted on all possible donors before any organs are harvested. In fact, modern tests are capable of detecting HIV from the moment it becomes infectious.

Despite so many safety screens, despite the fact that straight donors do not suffer the same injustice and despite the FDA’s willingness to transplant a gay donor’s heart and other organs, certain tissues are still discarded, against the donor’s wishes. This was the case for Iowa teen A.J. Betts, who certified his wish for organ donation months before committing suicide—a reaction to insufferable bullying over his sexual orientation. According to the FDA, since Betts’ mother was not able to prove whether the teen was sexually active, his eyes were refused for donation. However, his liver, kidneys, heart and lungs were all accepted and successfully transplanted.

The science to support the refusal of certain tissues or blood from HIV-negative donors simply does not exist and is blatantly homophobic. The ban on blood donation from a gay man is total—whatever his HIV status, while a man who had sex with an HIV-positive woman is only deferred from donation for a year.

Discrimination against sexual orientation is rampant enough in our society, but the stance of government-funded organizations furthering accepted homophobia baselessly is deplorable. The FDA is supposedly led by the scientific community and by factual study, yet insane bigotry against the last wish of a 16-year-old in his darkest hour to be a better human is allowed, unfounded.

Urge the FDA to end its ban on the transplant of certain tissues from gay donors unless factual evidence to support the refusal can be presented.


Dear Commissioner Hamburg,

The ban on harvesting and transplanting certain tissues from homosexual donors is—like the ban on blood donations—absurd and homophobic. The scientific basis for such fear simply does not exist, and a government organization fostering homophobia is damaging to our society, which struggles daily to bring equality for all citizens indiscriminately. Refusing to allow certain tissue donations from homosexual donors is brutally denying their last wish over archaic phobias.

I urge you to harvest and transplant the healthy organs and tissue of HIV-negative donors without discrimination over their sexual orientation.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Megor1 via Wikimedia Commons

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