National Gay Blood Drive on Friday to Urge FDA to Lift Ban: VIDEO

Screenshot 2014-07-10 16.16.55Filmmaker and activist  Ryan James Yezak has organized the second annual National Gay Blood Drive, scheduled to take place this Friday. Yezak first became interested in creating the drive after being denied the opportunity to speak to to the Food and Drug Administration about the ban on blood donated by men who have sex with other men for his upcoming documentary Second Class Citizens.

“The ban perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes and a negative stigma about the gay male population.” Yezak said in a press release. “The policy is outdated, and as a result, otherwise eligible gay and bisexual men are unable to contribute to the nation’s blood supply and help save lives.”

Despite last year’s blood drive focused on drawing support from gay and bisexual male communities Yezak was surprised to see overwhelming support from lesbians and heterosexual allies alike. Inspired, he’s decided to expand the Gay Blood Drive’s presence into 60 cities around the country this year:

“This year, the drive’s goal is to get everyone involved – including our ally donors – to speak with a collective voice. Eligible allies can donate in place of the gay and bisexual men who cannot so that we not only raise awareness about the ban but also help contribute to the more than 41,000 blood donations needed every day.”

Watch the promotional video for this year’s blood drive AFTER THE JUMP



  1. Gerry says

    Good grief, that video made me nauseous – almost as bad as the camera work in Blair Witch Project. Good cause though and I plan to sign the petition.

  2. Gerry says

    Good grief, that video made me nauseous – almost as bad as the camera work in Blair Witch Project. Good cause though and I plan to sign the petition.

  3. Gerry says

    Good grief, that video made me nauseous – almost as bad as the camera work in Blair Witch Project. Good cause though and I plan to sign the petition.

  4. Pandion says

    Whoever knows even the basics of the epidemiology of the gay male community, can’t in good conscience support a full repeal of this ban. The most rational course should be to change it to a prohibition to donate blood by men who have anal sex with men, since that’s the main route through which all the STDs ravaging the gay male community spread.

  5. northalabama says

    @pandion – std’s and other communicable diseases are not unique to any age, race, gender, or orientation. this ban is archaic, prejudicial, discriminatory, and completely unneeded with current testing that’s available.

    please sign the petition. this ban has been in place for my entire adult life, and should be ended immediately.

  6. jason says

    Banning men who have anal sex with other men is not logical when compared to the attitude towards men and women who indulge in anal sex in the heterosexual context. If anal sex is such a sin, it should be a sin across the board, and not just in the homosexual male context.

    What the ban truly represents is anti-male combined with anti-male homosexuality. Men who engage in sex with other men have become convenient scapegoats for a medical industry which is based on fear and not logic.

    Your liberal friends in the medical industry, as well as in the FDA and the CDC, are responsible for perpetuating this discriminatory blood donation ban.

  7. John says

    I don’t think these types of initiatives accomplish anything. The employees at the blood bank don’t care that gay men are bringing people in. And the FDA still gets what it wants: people who are not gay/bi men, to donate blood.

  8. Dan Antimony says

    The FDA has to put science ahead of discrimination which at first glance might appear cruel. I don’t honestly believe that prejudice is causing them to implement this policy.

    Activists would be better off funding scientific/statistical studies which could demonstrate a net benefit of releasing/relax the ban. If this can’t be shown, then I don’t need to cause net harm to the public (gays and straights alike) just to remove a scientifically justified form of discrimination. We need to act responsibly – not take a page out of the books of religious nuts who rant against science to get their own way.

  9. Mike in the Tundra says

    @ pandion – I know my HIV status. How many promiscuous straight men can say that?

  10. johnny says

    I’ve never understood the ban.

    They have to test ALL of the blood anyway, it’s coming from the general population, who knows what possible diseases the blood is carrying?

    Why single out gay men? It’s idiotic.

  11. GregV says

    Under current policy, one could use the example of two men (I’ll say, hypothetically two 55-year-old straight men named Fred and Barney) whose first sexual experience in life was during their first week in college 37 years ago when Fred watched porn one night and Barney experimented by jerking Fred off with his hand. Because of that one COMPLETELY SAFE experiment, Fred and Barney are on a lifetime ban from donating.
    Granted, many or perhaps even the vast majority of men donating have had a sexual experience at least once since 1977 and just check the forms as if they didn’t. But the questionnaire not only excludes potentially tens of millions of healthy and safe donors, but also serves to reinforce irrational fear of all male-male sexual activity.
    It is no less prejudiced or irrational than if they were to exclude all black people because they are perceived as being “more likely” to be doing unsafe sexual activities or drugs because they’re black.