We All Bleed the Same
PSU Students Try to End the Ban on Gay Blood
Published: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 6, 2012 15:04
On Apr. 2 and 3, the American Red Cross came to Plymouth State University to host a blood drive. “The blood drive is doing very well, for the number of donors,” says James Dube, who has organized four other blood drives in the past. There were many eager participants to volunteer and donate, but the right to donate isn’t a freedom everyone has.
“I like to give as much as possible,” says John Schaffner, a recent donor, at the PSU blood drive. Then why is it that gay men are not given the same privilege? This isn’t because of the Red Cross organization; they would prefer to receive as much blood as possible.
The problem resides with the FDA, which placed a ban on gay blood, letting no homosexual man that has had sex with another man donate blood. The ban has been in place since 1985, and was passed in response to the AIDS epidemic. “The year is now 2012. The world has changed,” says Luke Meierdiercks, co-creator of the End the Ban on Gay Blood online petition. More changes need to be made in regards to blood donators.
“There is not enough blood in the world. Yet, the FDA has a ban on any male who has sex with another male,” says Meierdiercks. If gay men were allowed to donate blood, 219,000 more pints of blood could be donated annually. If this were to take effect, it would provide hospitals and patients with the blood that is in desperate need.
“Both gay men and heterosexuals with multiple partners have been labeled as high risk groups, yet only gay men have been permanently banned,” continues Meierdiercks. The ban on gay blood lasts a lifetime, while a heterosexual individual who has sex with another individual infected with HIV is banned from giving blood for 12 months. “This is discriminatory and immoral,” says Meierdiercks.
The petition to end the ban on gay blood started on Mar. 8, 2012. “Zachary Russell and I were discussing the topic and we decided to do something about it! We looked online and found the website change.org,” says Meierdiercks. There is a large amount of support for the petition. The petition has signatures from Italy, Canada, and Australia. Word of the petition has been spread by posters, flyers, Facebook, twitter and their online website gayblood.org.
Their goal is to reach 100,000 signatures. “We are hoping that before that point, we gain media and national attention,” continues Meierdiercks. This would no doubt bring even more attention and support to their petition.
“The petition will reach the goal, whether this takes two, four, or 10 years. Zac and I plan on pursuing this petition until we reach our goal. Eventually, word will spread and the nation will realize this regulation needs to be changed,” says Meierdiercks. “When we end the ban on gay blood, I will be the first in line at the next blood drive.”
To support ending the ban on gay blood and to sign the petition, visit www.tiny.cc/gayblood.