As the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans men who identify as gay or bisexual from donating blood, a nationwide blood drive demonstration occured on July 12 to pressure the FDA to lift the ban.
The demonstration took place in 53 US cities, including, Honolulu, Los Angeles, D.C., Anchorage, Nashville, Little Rock, New Orleans, and Sioux Falls.
The ban has been active since 1977 in attempts to decrease the “risk of exposure to and transmission of infectious diseases — including HIV — in male-to-male sexual encounters.”
“This ban is medically unwarranted, and this drive is the only way we can motion for change,” he said. “The gay community shouldn’t be written off as diseased,” said lead organizer and ‘Second Class Citizens’ filmmaker Ryan James Yezak.
According to the FDA, the ban is not based on any form of discrimination. The American Medical Association disagrees and voted on banning the 1977 policy.
“The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science,” said AMA board member Dr. William Kobler in a press release.
Nonetheless, the ban is an obsolete legislation from the AIDS-era epidemic that appears to be supremely discriminatory.
The nationwide demonstration has an alternative plan if gay donors are refused to participate in the blood donation.
If each donor is rejected, “their test result will be collected, compiled, and delivered to the FDA – visually conveying to them on a national level how much blood the gay community could contribute to the blood supply should they lift their current policy,” as stated on the Gay Blood Drive website.