Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Openly Gay Mayor Evan Low Starts Petition Urging FDA to Let Gay Men Donate Blood

Posted By on Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Mayor Evan Low would really like to donate blood. - EVAN LOW FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Evan Low Facebook page
  • Mayor Evan Low would really like to donate blood.

Here's some 30 year-old news that's apparently -- shockingly -- still relevant today. In 1983, in the wake of massive HIV/AIDS paranoia, the Food and Drug Administration banned gay men from donating blood.

Or rather, they refused blood donations from any man who'd had sex with a man after 1977, and despite all the Civil Rights strides the LGBT community has made in the ensuing decades, the law still festers and hurts.

The law, which allows the FDA to discriminate against large groups of people while blood banks lament their low blood supply, has languished on the books for so long that so many didn't even know it existed.

Except Campbell's openly gay Mayor Evan Low who recently launched a petition to overhaul the ban after he was turned away to give blood. Low called the law a relic from the days when we didn't have reliable screens for HIV and AIDS -- and the virus was kind of a spooky, bogeyman thing that none of us understood that well. He noted that this ban on gays is no longer necessary in light of new medical technology. That's not to mention that Canada and the UK both lifted their own bans, which only makes us look that much backwards.

"It's unfathomable to me as mayor that I can host a blood drive in my community, but I can't donate blood myself.," Low said. "It's time to end this blanket ban on gay male blood donations, and show the rest of the world that FDA policy should be based on science and not 30-year-old fears."

Low has already gotten the 17,500 signatures he needed as well as endorsements from the American Medical Association and the American Red Cross, both of which support reevaluations of the ban.

The FDA says it's currently studying the issue, but given that its committee voted to uphold the ban just three years ago, a little more public pressure might help.

Pin It

About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook