Blood Centers of the Pacific
is reporting that community response to the San Bruno explosion and fire
has been outstanding. So outstanding, in fact, that donors are urged to not
give blood. They have enough. Come in and give next week or shortly thereafter when they'll need to replenish their current supplies.
But not if you're gay.
Blood Centers of the Pacific has been battling federal regulations for more than a decade. But FDA rules remain unchanged: If "you are a man who has had sex with another man since 1977
," you are not eligible to donate blood. Period
Lisa Bloch, Blood Centers' communications director, says that gay men have not been turned away from donating blood in the San Bruno effort -- because they know about this requirement and don't bother to show up.
"We were the very first blood bank in the country to publicly come out -- please excuse the pun -- and ask the FDA to change this antiquated requirement," she says. Bloch notes that the federal ban does not apply to women who have had sex with women. But a 17-year-old boy who had sex with his 17-year-old boyfriend would not be eligible, even if both were previously virgins. Them's the rules.
Solving this will take more than a lawsuit, she adds, because the FDA has determined that "donating blood is not a right."
Angry? Bloch recommends a solution that predates the ability of humans to transfuse blood: Call your Congressman.
Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly