Target: Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Lift the ban on gay men donating blood
In Bakersfield California, the Food and Drug Administration has held a ban against gay men donating blood since 1983. The intention of this law is to stop the spread of HIV According to the law, if a man has had sex with another man since 1977, he cannot donate blood. Before donating blood, men are asked if they had sex ever with another man. If the answer is yes, they are not allowed to donate.
Recently, four gay men went in to donate blood but were rejected due to their sexual orientation. They even went to get tested for HIV by the Health Department, and all four of them tested negative but still could not donate blood. The other questions that were asked to them were, “Have you had acupuncture or been outside the U.S. or Canada?” Obviously, asking someone if they have ever had sex with a man is much more invasive and discriminatory than the other two questions. The four men, along with other gay men and supporters held a demonstration at the Houchin Community Blood Bank recently.
The HIV rate is actually higher among heterosexuals than it is among homosexuals. It is a common myth that gay men are more at risk for HIV The President and CEO of Houchin Community Blood Bank, Greg Gallion has refused to believe that the ban on gay men donating blood is a form of discrimination. In a statement, he said “So, it is not strictly for gay males. It’s for anyone that has at-risk behavior that potentially could taint the blood supply.” Greg Gallion is trying to make it seem like he is oblivious to the fact that this is a discriminatory policy that specifically targets gay men.
Donating blood is an act of kindness. Refusing to allow someone who is willing to donate blood and perfectly capable of doing so just because of who they love is discrimination. Support gay men being allowed to donate blood by signing the petition below.
Dear Food and Drug Administration,
Since 1983, you have had a ban on gay men donating blood because of the false assumption that gay men are more prone to getting HIV than straight men. The HIV rate is actually higher in the heterosexual community than it is in the homosexual community. The question you ask donators regarding their sexual orientation is absurd because anyone can easily lie about that just to donate blood. Sexuality does not matter at all when it comes to donating blood.
This is an old policy that needs to go. You are missing out on a lot of HIV negative candidates who are willing to donate blood to save lives. By not allowing gay men to donate blood, you are making it seem like there is something wrong with them when really there is nothing wrong.
Regardless of one’s sexual orientation, everyone should be allowed to donate blood to help save someone’s life. Someone with HIV should not be allowed to donate blood, but not every gay person has HIV It is only fair to not base who can and who cannot donate blood on sexual orientation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Matt Buck via Flickr