What Can We Do Next? Take Action.
We cannot stand by the baseless discrimination of MSM blood donors. Blood and human dignity are too important. The current 3-month deferral period is temporary (though its end date is heavily dependent on the country’s pandemic response), and the FDA has begun to express willingness to adapt its restrictions to better reflect modern science in the near future. Now is an essential time to take action to make this happen--it is well past time to end the ban.
People are speaking up, and GLAAD has continued to be a champion of the cause. In April, more than 500 medical professionals signed a GLAAD-penned open letter calling for the FDA “to reverse its unscientific and discriminatory ban against men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood in favor of risk-based screening.” Its public petition, now closed, garnered over 23,000 signatures.
As GLAAD and artist activists like Jordan Eagles and Stuart Semple have shown, one of the most effective ways to make change is to make noise. Educate your friends; share these articles and others, privately and on social media. Spread GLAAD’s open letter and the one written by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the House Oversight and Reform Committee. Sign and share petitions. Though GLAAD’s, which may have been the most high-profile, has since ended, others remain ongoing (and you can always start your own). Contact the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, which manages the regulation of American blood, plasma, and tissue banks, and demand change.
The FDA also maintains an online platform for commenting on proposed rules and regulations and submitting petitions, with clear instructions on how to do so here. Join the movement, and let them know that it’s time for change.