GLAAD President: Lift Blood Donation Bans for Gay, Bi, and Queer Men

The U.S. surgeon general has urged Americans to donate amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The president and CEO of one of America’s largest LGBTQ advocacy groups is urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to drop antiquated policies barring gay and bisexual men from donating blood.

On Twitter, Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD quote-retweeted a March 19 news alert about U.S. Surgeon General Jerome M. Adams urging Americans to donate blood amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“The antiquated ban that still prevents gay and bisexual men, and men who have sex with men from donating blood must be immediately lifted by the FDA,” Ellis wrote. “Currently, all men who have had sex with men in the past 12 months cannot donate blood. Leading medical experts have highlighted for years that the ban is ineffective and doesn’t rely on science.”

Ellis’ Twitter thread ended with a link to an online petition from the organization urging the FDA update its blood donation rules. It cites statistics from the Williams Institute, UCLA’s nationally recognized LGBTQ thinktank, and a similar plea from the Red Cross to the FDA, which NewNowNext reported last November.

The U.S. wouldn’t be the first nation to reconsider outdated and discriminatory blood donations policies for queer men, either. Last July, health officials in France lowered the deferment period for men who regularly sleep with other men to donate blood. Stateside, one queer man from Virginia made headlines around the world last summer by donating a kidney to protest the FDA’s blood donation rules.

At the time of writing, GLAAD’s petition has 63 signatures.

“Holding on to an antiquated, discriminatory ban during these uncertain times is absurd,” it reads in part. “The FDA needs to put science above stigma. Gay men, bisexual men, and men who have sex with men want to give blood and should be able to contribute to help their fellow Americans.”

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.
@_sammanzella