In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, there is an urgent need for donations of blood, but many gay people are banned from donating blood to the LGBT victims of the Orlando nightclub.
Early Sunday morning, a gunman opened fire in an Orlando LGBT nightclub. So far 5o have been confirmed dead and another 53 are hospitalized with injuries. With so many wounded, local hospitals put out a desperate call for blood donations.
People were eager to do what they could in the wake of this tragedy and donate blood. Lines of donors stretched around One Blood, Orlando’s largest donation center.
— Christal Hayes (@Journo_Christal) June 12, 2016
But one group of people was condemned to watch helplessly, forbidden from donating blood to help the surviving LGBT victims: gay men.
The FDA lifted the lifetime ban, which prohibited any man who had ever had homosexual intercourse from ever donating blood, in December of last year. Because everyone knows that only gay men can get HIV, right? The FDA currently bans gay men from donating blood unless they have been celibate for a year. In contrast, heterosexual people who have unprotected sex with multiple anonymous partners are permitted to donate at any time.
Following the shooting in Orlando, gay men were left to stand on the sidelines, with many, including Pennsylvania politician Brian Sims, taking to social media to ask their straight counterparts to donate in their place.
Others just shared their outrage at an outdated policy that isn’t supported by science and is nothing more than discrimination.
Orlando Hospitals need blood donations to help save gay people.
Yet gay people can’t give blood to help their own. Because they’re gay.
— Bobby Blanchard (@bobbycblanchard) June 12, 2016
Huge awful irony: gay men can’t give blood after Orlando’s gay night club shooting because of the “Gay Blood Ban.” https://t.co/AERLN5w30s
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 12, 2016
Thanks to nothing more than homophobia and prejudice, many gay men are prohibited from doing one of the few things they could to directly aid the victims of this unspeakable tragedy. Ironically, that same homophobia is the very thing that leads to this kind of violence against the LGBT community in the first place.
Featured image via The Vital Voice