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Gay Men Shouldn't Be Restricted From Donating Blood, Lawmakers Say

Wikimedia Commons
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

In the hours and days following the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, thousands of people around the state lined up to donate blood for the victims.

But gay men who had sex in the past year were prohibited from giving blood because of a federal policy.

Orlando Rep. Alan Grayson has joined 129 members of Congress who asked the Food and Drug Administration to eliminate restrictions on gay men donating blood.

Colorado Rep. Jared Polis said the restrictions are outdated and discriminatory.

"I am confident the FDA will be moved to look at the science that shows that in fact there is nothing inherently different about the blood of gay or bisexual Americans," Polis said.

Grayson plans to introduce a bill that will provide more money for blood testing to make donations safer for everyone.

"What we’re hoping to do is make these determinations based upon genuine risk factors and risky behavior rather than sexual orientation but also to use this to actually improve public health," Grayson said.

In December 2015, the FDA moved from a lifetime ban on blood donations from gay men to the one year celibacy requirement.  

Julio Ochoa is editor of Health News Florida.