GLAAD Speaks Out Against Plasma Donation Ban for Gay and Bisexual Men

"Americans need blood and plasma, but millions can't give."

GLAAD has criticized the Food and Drug Administration’s discriminatory blood donation guidelines again as coronavirus cases continue to climb.

This week, the LGBTQ advocacy group issued another statement speaking out against the agency after it approved an experimental COVID-19 treatment using plasma donations from recovered COVID-19 patients. “Americans need blood and plasma, but millions can’t give,” it read. “End the blood ban.”

Under the FDA’s current policy, gay and bi have a 12-month deferral period from donating blood, which is effectively a ban for sexually active queer men. A representative for the agency confirmed to GLAAD that this outdated guideline also applies to plasma donations, even amid the current public health crisis.

As NewNowNext reported last month, GLAAD launched a broader petition urging the FDA to reconsider its blood donation policy for queer men. The petition has since garnered 19,000 signatures, and the attention of celebrities like singer-songwriter Sam Smith and RuPaul’s Drag Race judge Michelle Visage.

In a media statement, GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis called the FDA’s sweeping ban on blood donations from queer men “outdated and discriminatory,” especially during a global pandemic.

“Gay and bi men who have recovered from COVID-19 and want to donate plasma, or who want to help contribute to a nationwide shortage of blood, are banned from doing so as a result of the FDA,” Ellis said. “Continuing to enforce this antiquated policy is dangerous, irresponsible, and flies in the face of recommendations from medical experts.”

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