National Gay Blood Drive Campaign Comes to Kansas City

Categories: LGBT

blood_drive.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
Blood in, but no out blood.
Activists are currently standing outside of a Kansas City blood donation center to protest a Federal Drug Administration law prohibiting gay men from donating.

"It's not against the blood center, it's specifically against the FDA," says Caleb-Michael Files, a steering committee member of Human Rights Campaign-Kansas City. "We're encouraging people to donate."

The demonstration is part of a larger, national protest against the rule, which turns away any donor who admits he is a man who has sex with men.

See also:
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Eric Jones -- the former Eagle Scout counselor who was fired from a Missouri Boy Scout camp for telling his boss he is gay -- attempted to give blood today, Files tells us. His experience was typical, he says: Jones provided proof that he is HIV negative, then took the intake survey. Once he indicated that he has had sex with men, he was told his donation would not be accepted.

"He was turned away and he had to sign a form stating he understood why," says Files.

The point of the day of action -- which is taking place today in cities all across the country -- is to show the FDA how many potential donors they are turning away with this rule, which was put into place during the very beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early '80s. Since then, the campaign argues, HIV testing has vastly improved and denying healthy, HIV-negative men simply over their orientation is arcane and discriminatory.

"This particular center has less than a day-and-a-half supply of blood. That's really scary," says Files. "If homosexual men were able to donate it would increase the donation blood by about 50,000 donors."

The event is just the latest in gay-rights advocate and filmmaker Ryan James Yezak's project Second Class Citizens. Here's the promo he created for the Gay Blood Drive:

"I want to help others.... Being a blood donor is giving life," says Files, who says he hasn't been allowed to give blood since admitting his orientation at a high school drive. "It's really frustrating that because of who I love I can't give blood."

Although there is no organized effort here in St. Louis, the campaign is encouraging gay men to donate in their cities. Find more information here at GayBloodDrive.com.

(h/t @PROMOMissouri)

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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35 comments
Max Schulze
Max Schulze

Take everyone's blood who wants to donate, then just throw it out after they leave.....that way everyone is happy

Joshua Lewis
Joshua Lewis

When just about everyone involved in blood collection is actively lobbying the fda for a change, I'd say it's time to change.

Kelle Deyne
Kelle Deyne

Some of the most promiscuous people I know are women. Straight women. Screen the blood- not who the person loves and is intimate with.

Brian Cunningham
Brian Cunningham

Yes it is wrong we all bleed the same as long as we don`t have hiv or any other disease there should be no reason why they should be able to stop this from happening.

Ryan Masters
Ryan Masters

You pay for all those extra steps, or don't have horrible ideas.

Courtney Cronin
Courtney Cronin

All someone has to do is check "no" on a box, and they've duped the "safety precation". It's not effective and banning gay men doesn't make our blood supply safer. Safety precautions are testing the blood after it's been donated. There is no reason to bar perfectly healthy gay men from donating blood, aside from blatant homophobia.

Mark A. Ames
Mark A. Ames

It's what's wrong with the entire world, fear and ignorance! So many stupid people out there, the level of ignorance is staggering!

Alexis Wilson-Kirk
Alexis Wilson-Kirk

There's a local protest going on in front of the Red Cross on Lindell. Some friends of mine stopped by and were turned away (as expected)...

Emily Irene Franke
Emily Irene Franke

Of course it is wrong to deny gays the right to donate blood. We need blood donators. They're not even the highest demographic for HIV and besides, they screen blood damn well before it ends up in your system. And no, to those who asked and not as a joke, you cannot "catch" being gay via blood donating. Go get your head out of your ass and in a good book.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

it's not the HIV, it's the love of horrible music that scares people. madonna? cher? lady gaga?

Jillian Ashley
Jillian Ashley

Plus, all the gay guys have to do is check NO on a box that says 'I haven't had sex with another male since 1971'. It's not much of a safety precaution because it poses no more a risk than any other blood. Blood is blood and all blood is screened!

Jillian Ashley
Jillian Ashley

It's not true that gay males have the highest rates of HIV, currently heterosexual black males do. BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER because blood is blood and all blood is screened. This is just an outdated discriminative policy that isn't helping the Red Cross save lives.

Crystal Kutsche
Crystal Kutsche

Yes it's wrong to deny them from giving blood. All blood is screened.

Andrew Jovanovic
Andrew Jovanovic

Make Stl, how do you think homosexuals feel about hearing straight this and straight that? Get over yourself.

Andrew Jovanovic
Andrew Jovanovic

Last time I checked it was heterosexual African-American men that were the highest demographic for HIV. No ban on them now is there.

Makè Stl
Makè Stl

Yes !!! Gay people shouldn't donate blood :) that's just common sense ! Enough with all these Gay Shit !!! All I heard for the past week is ...gay this ...gay that :). Look...HEY... all you fags out there ...ENOUGH !!! Enough with all this Gayness :))

Nathan Corliss
Nathan Corliss

Yes I think it's wrong. Sexually transmitted diseases are not limited to homosexuals. We can get more donors. I'f I need blood or I'll die, I'll take a clean gay man's blood over a disease filled straight man's anyday. who knows, maybe I'll inherit a better sense of style :)

Emilie Carls
Emilie Carls

Absolutely... It's appalling. HIV is just as prevalent in heterosexuals... and with a blood shortage. They should be ashamed. How many people will have to die before they realize they are being bigots. I mean, I thought we disproved this "myth" after Reagan? Its outright discrimination.

Jason Bristow
Jason Bristow

What if I need a blood transfusion and it turns me gay?

Ryan Masters
Ryan Masters

I fully support gay rights, however gay men hold the highest HIV percentage in America. They are not being stereotyped or segregated, it's a simple safety precaution.

Jessica Graye Porcelli
Jessica Graye Porcelli

I think with proper blood screening, even asking would be unnecessary. Not only HIV is a problem, but so are all of the strains of Hepatitis, etc, etc...

Ladan Wanderlust
Ladan Wanderlust

Ummm of course it's wrong. On what planet would that be right?

Matt Blind
Matt Blind

Of course its wrong. HIV isn't just a "gay disease" anymore. Hasn't been that way since the 90's. This is just a homophobic, out dated, policy that is thankfully on its way out.

cmichael.files
cmichael.files

@Ryan Masters That is incorrect, lastest CDC figures show that Heterosexual african american males are highest rate for new infections.

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