'Disgusting double standard': Outrage over FDA's move to end ban on gay/bisexual blood donors
By RYAN GORMAN
The FDA announced Tuesday a recommendation to lift the lifetime ban on blood donations for men who have sex with men, but with a caveat.
Federal officials have banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood for 31 years. The recommendation to end the practice was met with outrage after it was revealed men who had sex with men in the past year would still be barred.
The lifetime ban was enacted in the throes of the 1980's American AIDS epidemic to protect the blood supply. Many feel it is no longer necessary.
An end to the blanket ban has long been sought by gay rights activists, but replacing it with a request that men abstain from ex with other men solely for the purpose of donating blood only further infuriated the LGBT population.
"The one-year deferral policy is still rooted in an outdated, insulting vision of gay men as diseased, promiscuous lechers," wrote Slate columnist Mark Joseph Stern.
"A gay man in a decades-long monogamous relationship with his husband will be forbidden from donating blood."
Other reactions to the move were less than positive.
"FDA ban reminds me how much I hate work blood drives," tweeted Washington Post social media editor Michael Gold. The tweet was quickly deleted.
Slade Sohmer, head of news for Whisper, called the news "bulls**t."
"This FDA statement is straight out of an evangelical fever dream: being gay isn't the sin, but being a well-adjusted adult who has sex is," he continued.
New York Times reporter Josh Barro argued to Sohmer that men who have sex with men are the biggest risk factor for HIV.
"The FDA didn't make up the idea that HIV incidence is approx. 30x higher among gay men than the whole population," insisted Barro, adding that there is no civil right to donate blood.
"Half-true, replied Sohmer. "It is not my right, but I can still be insulted and be made to [feel] less than [human]."
Politico reporter Tony Romm agreed: "I'm sure a lot of gay men are going to abstain for a year just so they can give blood. that's totally a logical approach, FDA, well done."
Twitter user Mikayla Beyer called the deferral rule a "disgusting double standard."
The FDA has only recommended the change, it has yet to be made into a policy.
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