GLAAD launched a petition criticizing the current and "outdated" policy, which states that gay and bisexual men should not have sex for one year before donating blood. In addition to the fact that these regulations are often labelled as discriminatory, the underlying idea has been debunked for years by various medical organizations.
The petition was launched in response to the White House Coronavirus Task Force news conference on March 19. During this conference, Surgeon-General Jerome M. Adams urged the Americans to donate blood due to a blood shortage.
Activists emphasize that the restrictive policy is an obstacle to saving more lives. The Williams Institute previously estimated that if the ban were lifted, there would likely be another 360,000 men donating blood. This could, in theory, save over a million extra lives.
“The FDA needs to put science above stigma,” Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO and president of GLAAD, said in a statement. “Gay and bisexual men… want to give blood and should be able to contribute to help their fellow Americans.” The American Red Cross also spoke out against the current restrictions and said "blood donation eligibility should not be determined by methods that are based upon sexual orientation."