Anger is re-emerging over the federal government's ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men in the wake of a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that left 50 people dead.
“Gay. Men. In. Orlando. Can’t. Give. Blood. To. Their. Bleeding. Battered. Community. Dear @US_FDA, CHANGE THAT NOW,” tweeted Brian Gerald Murphy, co-creator of Legalize Trans, a campaign that advocates for inclusivity of transgender people in the gay rights movement.
Rep. Jared Polis, who is gay and helped launch the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, also weighed in.
We must overturn the morally bankrupt/dangerous ban on gay people giving blood. Absurd someone can't even donate blood to their own husband?— (((Jared Polis))) (@jaredpolis) June 12, 2016
After the inital wave of criticism, there were rumors on social media that OneBlood, a nonprofit blood donation clinic in Orlando, had lifed the ban, but it responded that ban remains in place.
All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation. There are false reports circulating that FDA rules were being lifted. Not true.— OneBlood (@my1blood) June 12, 2016
The ban, which began in 1983, has been described as medically unwarranted by some. President Obama’s administration has made slow changes to the rule, including allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have been celibate for one year.
But some have highlighted the irony that many gay men cannot help their friends and families who may have been victims of the attack, which occurred during LGBT Pride Month.
“Orlando Hospitals need blood donations to help save gay people. Yet gay people can’t give blood to help their own. Because they’re gay,” tweeted Bobby Blanchard, a reporter for the Dallas News.
Orlando Hospitals need blood donations to help save gay people.— Bobby Blanchard (@bobbycblanchard) June 12, 2016
Yet gay people can't give blood to help their own. Because they're gay.
“Huge awful irony: gay men can’t give blood after Orlando’s gay night club shooting because of the 'Gay Blood Ban,' " tweeted Marc Caputo, a Politico reporter based in Florida.
Huge awful irony: gay men can't give blood after Orlando's gay night club shooting because of the "Gay Blood Ban." https://t.co/AERLN5w30s— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) June 12, 2016
Officials on the scene said Orlando hospitals need donations.
“Blood is a wonderful gift. You can work through the local blood banks to donate, and that would be a tremendous help,” Dr. Michael Cheatham said in a press conference from the scene.
OneBlood put out an urgent call for donations.
"There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida," OneBlood wrote on its Facebook page. "The need for blood continues. All eligible O Negative, O Positive and AB donors are urged to please donate today."
— Updated 1:06 p.m.