Target: Robert Califf, M.D., Commissioner of the FDA
Goal: Reform the blood donation policy that discriminates against gay men by requiring they are abstinent for a year before they can donate blood.
The Food and Drug Administration bans men from giving blood or plasma until one year after the last time they had sex with another man. This policy is discriminatory, especially since heterosexual people are not held to the same standards, and it must end.
This issue was highlighted recently when a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 more at an LGBTQ+ nightclub in Orlando. Blood donations were in high demand, but because of this policy many LGBTQ+ people couldn’t help their community.
The FDA policy won’t allow gay men to donate even if they’re HIV negative and don’t engage in risky behaviors like unprotected sex. Activists as well as members of Congress are urging the FDA to change its policy to be based on personal risk factors, not whether someone is gay or straight. Demand the FDA reform this discriminatory policy so that blood donations are not restricted in times of crisis and LGBTQ+ people can support their community.
Dear Mr. Califf,
The FDA recently reformed legislation that flat-out banned LGBTQ+ people from donating blood and instead made it so gay men can’t donate blood unless they’ve been abstinent for a year. This policy, while an improvement, is still discriminatory and doesn’t make logical sense.
The initial reasoning for the policy was that gay men might be HIV positive, but this policy doesn’t allow gay men to donate even if they’re HIV negative and don’t engage in risky behaviors. Heterosexual people are not held to the same standard, which is unjust and must be changed. I urge you to change the policy so that blood donation assessment is based on personal risk factors, not whether someone is gay or straight.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Alex Juel