Monday, February 17, 2014

end the ban on gay blood

Several times here I have written about the importance of donating blood.  My late Aunt Dee was both a regular blood donor and a blood bank volunteer and she reminded me how important it is for there to be donations from all blood types and that men and women, young and old, all kind of people can donate.  If you never have done this most wonderful thing, do it.  You will be helping others, and you will have a sense of having done good.
Now last August I wrote here that gay men are banned from giving blood.  The 30-year-old blanket ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men continues in place despite numerous efforts by politicians and activists, including Campbell, CA Mayor Evan Low who currently is a candidate for the State Assembly.  The online petition that he started has received 62,435 signatures.  A college group started another petition on and it too received many signatures.  Still though if you are a gay man, you cannot donate blood.
It is true that thousands contracted AIDS back in the 1980s from blood tainted with HIV, and this gave the FDA a solid reason for their lifetime ban on gay and bisexual blood donations.  That was then though.  Testing is much more accurate since then and the elimination of any male who has had sex with another male since 1977 simply doesn't make sense.
It takes all kinds.  Everyone should be able to donate.  Yes, of course we want disease free blood, but it certainly isn't determined by someone's sexual orientation!  So to those of you who can legally donate, I hope you will, and to all of you, I hope you will join me, Mayor Low, and all who seek equality, in ending the ban on gay blood donors.  It's the right thing to do!

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