Gay rep.: Blood donation ban for gay men must be overturned
Anger is re-emerging over the federal government's ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men in the wake of a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 50 people dead. “Gay. Men. In. Orlando. Can’t. Give. Blood. To. Their. Bleeding. Battered. Community. Dear @US_FDA, CHANGE THAT NOW,” tweeted Brian Gerald Murphy, co-creator of Legalize Trans, a campaign that advocates for inclusivity of transgender people in the gay rights movement. Rep. Jared Polis, who is gay and helped launch the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, also weighed in. After the inital wave of criticism, there were rumors on social media that OneBlood, a nonprofit blood donation clinic in Orlando, had lifed the ban, but it responded that ban remains in place. The ban, which began in 1983, has been described as medically unwarranted by some. President Obama’s administration has made slow changes to the rule, including allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have been celibate for one year. But some have highlighted the irony that many gay men cannot help their friends and families who may have been victims of the attack, which occurred during LGBT Pride Month. “Orlando Hospitals need blood donations to help save gay people. Yet gay people can’t give blood to help their own. Because they’re gay,” tweeted Bobby Blanchard, a reporter for the Dallas News.