SuperTalk Mississippi

Gulf Coast Gay Community Holds Blood Drive to Protest FDA

LONG BEACH, Miss. – What if you wanted to give blood, but you could not because of your sexual orientation? For gay and bisexual men across the United States that is a reality. In 1983, at the height of the AIDS epidemic, the FDA made it part of their policy that if you were a man who has had sex with another man since 1977, you cannot give blood, regardless of your health.

In July there is a nationwide campaign, to get those regulations changed. One of those protests will be here in Mississippi at Crossroads Mall in Long Beach on July 12. It is being led by the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian & Gay Community Center.

“The gay men that desire to donate blood will go in and fill out a statement that will be sent to the FDA. They will also sing a Whitehouse petition to be sent to President Obama, if they get 100,000 signatures on that petition between July 1 and July 30 then the president will have to make a statement,” said Jeff White Perkins with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Lesbian & Gay Community Center.

Gay and bisexual men will not be donating blood July 12, but they will have an ally there to stand and donate for them.

“It’s to show that even if we may not be able to donate, we still want to find a way to help.”

“When I was 18 I went in to donate blood because my father had cancer and I knew it was an important thing to donate blood to save lives. When I went in, I read the deferral sheet, and I answered the questions honestly, because that’s who I am and I wasn’t aware. I’ve never been able to give blood since then. It’s a pretty unfair law considering HIV effects everyone from every walk of life.”

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