The Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, had a mass shooting on the night of June 12, 2016. There was 49 people killed and 53 people injured and in desperate need for blood. OneBlood, one of Florida’s largest blood banks, was holding blood drives and lines were out the door. Everyone from the LGBTQ community wanted to donate and do their part to help. OneBlood was welcoming all blood donors but then later tweeted “All FDA guidelines remain in effect. There are false reports circulating that FDA rules are being lifted. Not true.” This guideline was not allowing sexually active gay men to donate. Many of the people that were trying to donate that weekend were unfortunately turned away. After doing some research, the guidelines at OneBlood have now changed due to FDA new guidelines. The donor is defer for 3 months since their last sexual contact.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak in 2019, the FDA has changed their policy out MSM. The donor will be defer for 3 months after their last sexual contact. The FDA guideline is still frown upon the LGBTQ community. It is better than the permanent deferral that happen between 1985 and 2015. This policy was just to ensure that the blood that was donated was not put to waste but to use. After the 2016 Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Rep. Alan Grayson said “We can’t say some people can give blood, other people can’t based on their sexual orientation.”
GLAAD president and CEO speaks out on revised FDA blood deferral policy
GLAAD president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, says revised FDA blood donation deferral policy is still steeped in stigma…
In April of 2020 the most of the world went into lockdown. Only essential workers were allowed to work. The public was allowed to go out for only necessities. The blood supply was greatly affected by the pandemic. Many blood drives were cancelled and many units were lost. American Red Cross had 86,000 donations lost from all the cancellations. The FDA acted quickly and lowered the eligibility requirements. The need for plasma with antibodies is high and they need more people to donate in order to help with patients fighting with COVID in the hospitals.
The LGBTQ community is still feeling discriminated by the blood banks. There is an assumption that the HIV is a “gay disease”. Gay men have been blamed for the spread of HIV. They are believe to have a more risky sex life then others. There are ways MSM to have protected sex. The guidelines still will have those donors that practice safe-sex defer for 3 months. Even though the deferral policy was lower, the FDA is still trying to figure out a way for a more realistic take on this policy. Everyone should be able to have a equal chance to be able to donate and save lives.
ABC News, ABC News Network, abcnews.go.com/Health/fda-loosens-restrictions-gay-men-donate-blood/story?id=69938492&cid=social_twitter_abcn.
Albo, Mike, et al. Homophobia in Our Blood. 22 June 2016, ideas.ted.com/homophobia-in-our-blood/.
Wang, Jeremy. How Anti-LGBTQ Fear, Not Science, Is Keeping the Blood Ban in Place. 16 Apr. 2020, www.glaad.org/amp/how-anti-lgbtq-fear-is-keeping-blood-ban-in-place.