Target: Robert Califf, M.D., Commissioner of the FDA
Goal: Congratulate the FDA on re-evaluating their discriminatory policy of screening gay blood donors.
When the horrific shooting at Pulse in Orlando left 49 dead and many more injured, the LGBTQ community in Orlando gave an outpouring of support to the victims and their families by going to donate blood–or they tried to, at least. When this tragedy occurred, America was once again reminded that there is a ban in place on gay men, or anyone who has had sex with a man who has sex with other men (MSM), that prevents them from donating blood.
This caused a huge public outcry, including a petition from ForceChange regarding the issue. Thanks to the public outrage regarding the issue, the FDA has now stated that they are going to re-evaluate their screening guidelines for people wishing to donate blood. This is a huge success for the LGBTQ movement and Americans everywhere who were previously unable to donate blood.
This isn’t the first time the FDA has addressed this issue–they actually made a change last year to allow gay men to donate blood, but only after being abstinent from sex for over a year. The medical community knew that this policy was unfounded and not a valid screening policy, meaning that gay men were only going to be further singled out and banned from donating blood.
This recent announcement of a change in screening guidelines has paved the way for LGBTQ citizens all across the country to donate blood, as the guidelines will now operate on a more individualized basis. Thank the FDA for finally considering lifting the ban altogether.
Dear Commissioner Califf,
Thank you for listening to the American people’s outrage in regards to the FDA’s discriminatory screening policies for donating blood. The medical community and the American people at large knew that it wasn’t necessary to abstain from sex for a year to no longer be a risk of transmitting HIV or other blood-borne viruses through blood donation. The fact you’ve finally caught up with the rest of the scientific world means a great deal to those who want nothing but to do good by donating blood.
If you hadn’t listened to the concerns of millions of petitioners all across America, the FDA would still be practicing it’s archaic screening policies. Now that you’ve listened to the voices of Americans everywhere, we can continue the public dialogue about how major institutions have been practicing legal homophobia for years without any repercussions. Stepping up the plate and deciding to no longer be apart of this practice means a great deal to the LGBTQ community and Americans everywhere, so we thank you for making a big step forward in the fight for progress in America.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: BWJones