FDA: Stop discriminating against me and other gay men who want to donate blood
  • Petitioning U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

FDA: Stop discriminating against me and other gay men who want to donate blood

    1. Evan Low
    2. Petition by

      Evan Low

      Campbell, CA

There was a time not too long ago where as mayor, I could officiate a wedding, but could not get married myself.  I recall a situation in which the boy scouts came to visit a city council meeting in order to earn their merit badge and after the meeting, a boy asked me, "Were you also a boy scout -- is that how you became mayor?" And most recently, I hosted a blood drive on city property, but was banned from donating blood myself.

As the mayor of Campbell, providing for the welfare of the general public is a top priority.  As a gay man, however, I am conflicted in my advocacy for blood drives.   Under current U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, a man who has sex with another man is deferred for life from donating blood.  The ban was imposed in 1983 when there were no reliable tests for screening blood for HIV/AIDS.  It was also made during a time of mass medical confusion and cultural homophobia associated with HIV/AIDS.  The current FDA ban is wildly outdated and perpetuates unfair labels against gay and bisexual men that live on through decades of discrimination.

Advances in technology and the understanding of HIV/AIDS have come a long way. The fact of the matter is that blood donations are safest and most effective when using rational, scientifically-based deferral periods that are applied fairly and consistently among blood donors who engage in similar risk activities.  These screening strategies provide an inclusive, internationally recognized means for keeping blood supplies safe.

In fact, the American Medical Association and the American Red Cross are both in support of a reevaluation of the lifetime ban of gay men from donating blood.  And most recently, over eighty-two Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate have asked for the reevaluation.

We are behind in our policies in comparison with other countries.  Both Canada and the UK in recent years have lifted their lifetime ban restrictions. Regardless, blood donations save lives, and although I take issue with the FDA's policy, the communal need for an adequate and safe blood supply cannot be ignored. To prevent a blood drive on the grounds of public policy would be to place the citizens of Campbell and my community in danger.  Ultimately, public policy can be solved over time, while an unpredictable act of nature can warrant an immediate need for a blood supply.

Although I support blood drives, I will always stay committed to the fight for the rights of all people. Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community simply want to be in recognized and committed loving relationships, be able to defend our country in the armed forces to fight for the freedoms that we value, be part of an invaluable institution that gives young boys the skill sets to become contributing members of our society and finally, to be able to sacrifice of themselves and give blood to save another’s life.   I firmly believe that the lifetime prohibition on gay and bisexual blood donors will one day exist as a relic of historical discrimination and that there will be a future in which we cherish gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people as equal members of society.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Help us get an official response from the White House.

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Call On HHS & The FDA To End Their Ban Against Gay & Bisexual Male Blood Donors

      we petition the obama administration to: The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay & bisexual men from donating blood. The current lifetime deferral focuses on sexual orientation & we are calling on the FDA to change its policy so that it focuses on sexual behavior & individual risk instead.

    2. National Blood Drive Is Fighting the FDA Ban on Gay Donors

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      This National Blood Drive Is Fighting the FDA Ban on Gay Donors

      A nationwide blood drive is protesting an FDA ban on gay men donating blood Outside of the New York Blood Center near Grand Central Station, Sam Gavzy, 26, is wearing a name tag that reads: "Hello, my name is Sam. Ask me why I can't donate."

    3. Reached 50,000 signatures
    4. Campbell mayor Evan Low finds himself in spotlight after stand on gays

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Campbell mayor Evan Low finds himself in spotlight after stand on gays donating blood

      Posted: 08/28/2013 06:03:40 PM PDT Updated: 08/29/2013 08:31:47 AM PDT Campbell's mayor has found himself in a flurry of media activity since launching an online campaign to lift the lifetime ban on gay blood donors. As of Aug. 26, Mayor Evan Low's campaign on change.org, an online petition platform, had surpassed 20,000 signatures.

    5. San Jose Inside

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Evan Low and the Latest Civil Rights Fight

      Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on Thursday, August 29, 2013 Campbell Mayor Evan Low can host a blood drive for his city, but he cannot donate blood because he is gay. Evan Low, mayor of Campbell, was recently asked by the Red Cross to host a blood drive in his city.

    6. Reached 25,000 signatures
    7. Men’s Health- This year will mark the 30th anniversary of an FDA poli

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Banned for Life

      This year will mark the 30th anniversary of an FDA policy that prevents millions of healthy men from giving blood and saving lives. It's time to lift the ban. By Mike Darling Every sample of blood collected at donation centers in the United States is now screened for at least 12 diseases David Dassey is one of the healthiest men in Los Angeles.

    8. MSNBC Live: Mayor Evan Low Advocates for Repeal of Gay Blood Ban

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Mayor Evan Low: Advocates for Repeal of Gay Blood Ban on MSNBC

      MSNBC interviewed Mayor Evan Low of Campbell, California, who sponsored a blood drive, and was unable to donate blood, because of the FDA lifetime ban on any individual who have had sex with another man, even though heterosexual men that are promiscuous are not banned. Low advocates for a scientific approach to blood screening.

    9. Campbell Mayor Evan Low leads fight against ban on gay men donating blood

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Campbell Mayor Evan Low leads fight against ban on gay men donating blood

      Posted: 08/20/2013 05:28:23 PM PDT Updated: 08/20/2013 06:22:15 PM PDT CAMPBELL -- Mayor Evan Low knew just what would happen when the Red Cross asked him to help coordinate a blood drive this summer. He could attend but not donate because of a decades-old federal lifetime ban on gay men like him giving blood.

    10. Gay men are still barred from donating blood. Is it time to change the rule

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Gay men are still barred from donating blood. Is it time for the policy to change?

      When Evan Low received a letter from the American Red Cross asking him to help organize a blood drive, he felt conflicted. The 30-year-old mayor of Campbell, California, is openly gay, and was aware of the rule. "My duty is to focus on the well-being of the general welfare of the public," Low said in an interview with MSNBC.

    11. Reached 17,500 signatures
    12. FDA Ban On Male Gay Blood Donation Must End, Says Change.Org Petition

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Gay Male Blood Should Not Be Banned By FDA, Says Petition

      Christopher Zara covers media, entertainment, culture and the arts. He joined IBTimes in June 2012. From 2005 to 2012, he served as managing editor of Show Business, a trade... Continue Reading

    13. Reached 10,000 signatures
    14. San Jose Mercury News editorial: Time for FDA to eliminate ban on gay male

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Mercury News editorial: Time for FDA to eliminate ban on gay male blood donors

      Posted: 08/14/2013 01:48:54 PM PDT Updated: 08/14/2013 01:48:54 PM PDT It hardly seems possible that in 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration still bans any man who's had sex with another man since 1977 -- the beginning of the AIDS epidemic -- from donating blood.

    15. Reached 7,000 signatures
    16. MSNBC Live with Thomas Roberts

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Mayor can't be blood donor due to sexual orientation

      Video on msnbc.com: Amid a blood shortage in Northern California, a fight remains over who can actually donate. It all began when the American Red Cross approached Bay Area Mayor Evan Low, asking if he could set up a blood drive. But when Low went to donate himself, he was rejected because of his sexual orientation.

    17. Reached 2,000 signatures
    18. Video

      Evan Low
      Petition Organizer
      Bay Area mayor's blood donation rejected because he's gay

      KTVU.com CAMPBELL, Calif. - The mayor of Campbell walked into a blood drive Wednesday to try and donate his blood, but he was rejected because he is openly gay. A Red Cross Blood Drive in Campbell, which started at noon, was organized because there was a reported shortage of donors in the summer months, according to officials.

    Supporters

    @ltdanchoi

    Aug 14, 2013

    Still today, gay men who answer the call of blood donations are rejected: simply for being gay. @Evan_Low @Change

    Dan Choi
    21.8k followers

    Reasons for signing

    • Christine Venezia BROOKLYN, NY
      • 4 days ago

      Equality is important

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Cassara Higgins BRANDON, IA
      • 25 days ago

      I have friends who would like to donate but can't. I know the Red Cross is in desperate need for blood.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
      • 3 months ago

      every body is needed to treated equally

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Pedro Delarosa HUMBLE, TX
      • 3 months ago

      My sexual orientation does not define me as living a life style that puts me at any greater risk than others that are still allowed to donate blood. I think that this practice is a little ridiculous, and if the need for blood to save lives is so high, why turn it away?

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jessica Georg LEWISVILLE, NC
      • 3 months ago

      equality

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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