“Medically and scientifically unwarranted.”
That’s what the American Red Cross calls the Food and Drug Administration’s lifetime deferral on blood donation for men who have had sex with other men.
In fact, we’ve been recommending that the FDA change this policy since 2006 — and again, as recently as June 29, 2010. You can see the most recent statement in favor of change right here.
Here in Portland, we’ve been working really hard to educate people that deferral isn’t a decision that’s made by the Red Cross. The rules are made by the FDA. We, however, are bound by the FDA regulations.
We’ve also worked hard to partner with Portland’s LGBTQ community, particularly with our Stand Up, Stand Out, Stand Proud blood drives (held in partnership with PFLAG).
I say all of this because I’m very, very pleased to announce that we’re taking another step forward this Thursday night. Our Blood Services CEO, Steve Stegeman, will be attending an educational event held at Pivot (formerly the Men’s Wellness Center) and will help clarify the FDA rules and share how the gay/bi community can still support the Red Cross in a variety of ways.
Please join us — and help spread the word that we’re doing what we can to advocate for change.