Petition aims to end ban on gay men donating blood

By Daniel Burnett
July 22, 2013 2:02 PM |

 

While you furiously refresh The Guardian and Buzzfeed for updates on Kate Middleton’s blue-blooded Royal Baby, take a look at one man’s plan to remove the stigma—and ban—from gays donating blood.
Ryan James Yezak, an L.A.-based filmmaker and activist, has launched a White House “We the People” petition to ask the Food and Drug Administration to lift its discriminatory ban against gay and bisexual male blood donors. The petition currently has over 13,000 signatures, and requires a total of 100,000 by August 6.
“If we are successful in doing this, President Obama and/or his administration will comment on the FDA ban against gay/bisexual men donating blood,” Yezak, 26, told Metro Weekly.
The ban has been in place since 1983—before reliable and advanced HIV testing capabilities—and prohibits any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from giving blood. The ban not only reduces the amount of available blood, but also perpetuates negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation, Yezak said.
Yezak organized the National Gay Blood Drive on June 12. HIV testing sites were set up at blood donation centers in every state and the District, aimed at demonstrating how much blood is deemed ineligible for donation by the FDA. Organizers plan to send the rejection forms and the HIV test results to the FDA to demonstrate how much blood is automatically disqualified due to the ban.
“If you are a male who’s had sex with another male since 1977, also known as a MSM donor, then you banned, denied, blacklisted form donating blood—no matter how safe you are, no matter how good you think your blood might be,” said Yezak in a video to raise awareness. 
There are just 15 days to turn sign the petition against banning gay and bisexual male blood donors. To help turn a negative into “A-positive,” so to speak, add your name to the list here.

While you furiously refresh The Guardian and Buzzfeed for updates on Kate Middleton’s blue-blooded royal baby, take a look at one man’s plan to remove the stigma – and the ban – on gays donating blood.

Ryan James Yezak, an L.A.-based filmmaker and activist, has launched a White House “We the People” petition to ask the Food and Drug Administration to lift its decades-old ban against gay and bisexual male blood donors. The petition currently has more than 13,400 signatures, and requires a total of 100,000 by Aug. 6.

 

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“If we are successful in doing this, President Obama and/or his administration will comment on the FDA ban against gay/bisexual men donating blood,” Yezak, 26, told Metro Weekly.

The ban has been in place since 1983 – prior to reliable, advanced HIV-testing capabilities – and prohibits any man who has had sex with another man since 1977 from giving blood. The ban not only reduces the amount of available blood, but also perpetuates negative stereotypes based on sexual orientation, Yezak said.

Yezak organized the National Gay Blood Drive on July 12, with HIV-testing sites set up at blood-donation centers in every state and the District aimed at demonstrating how much blood is deemed ineligible for donation by the FDA. Organizers plan to send the rejection forms and the HIV-test results to the FDA to demonstrate how much blood is automatically disqualified due to the ban.

“If you are a male who’s had sex with another male since 1977, also known as an MSM donor, then you're banned, denied, blacklisted from donating blood – no matter how safe you are, no matter how good you think your blood might be,” said Yezak in a video to raise awareness.

 

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