Events

HRC Foundation’s Inclusive Blood Drive, Festival and Speakers Forum!

HRC LA blood drive

Eligible Blood Donors!  Make your appointment to donate blood at www.redcrossblood.org using sponsor code HRCLA.


Blood Donation

Blood donation saves lives, but many people who want to donate blood can’t. While prohibiting blood donation is often justified, it’s time for one such prohibition to change.

On September 20, 2014, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation will partner with other leading organizations to present Include Inform Inspire - An Inclusive Blood Drive, Festival and Speakers Forum in the West Hollywood and greater Los Angeles area.  It will draw attention to a longstanding federal policy that essentially bans men who have sex with men from ever donating blood. We invite you to join us for this critical first-ever event.


About the FDA Policy

men on the street

The policy to be highlighted at the event was implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1983, when HIV was newly discovered. But in the three decades since then, modern blood testing techniques have improved enormously. Given these advances, HRC, the American Medical Association, the American Red Cross, the American Association of Blood Banks, and many other organizations have called for a reconsideration of the FDA’s blood donation policy, which currently focuses on sexual orientation, rather than actual risk.


How Should It Change?

HRC and other groups believe that potential blood donors should be screened based on their relevant behavior, not their sexual orientation. This approach would screen out donations likely to transmit HIV from any donor, while allowing donations from donors whose behavior poses no or negligible blood risk, including gay and bisexual men.


How Is This Drive Different?

Our Inclusive Blood Drive will differ from typical blood drives in several important ways. Our theme of Include Inform Inspire summarizes this unique event:

Include: A typical blood drive will offer incentives solely to blood donors, but this doesn't allow everyone to participate. To be more inclusive, we’ll also offer incentives to those who recruit blood donors, allowing everyone to participate. We’ll also honor those participants who are unable to donate for themselves.

Inform: We'll educate people about the FDA permanent deferral preventing gay men from donating blood, about HIV/AIDS issues, about decreasing the stigmatization of those affected, and about related transgender issues.

Inspire: We'll advocate for a deferral policy based on behavior instead of orientation. We'll also endorse proper guidelines for donations from transgender individuals, so that they are not refused based solely on gender identity. We'll also urge all groups soliciting blood donations to train staff members who must refuse donations to communicate these refusals sensitively, privately, and respectfully.

Accompanying the blood drive will be our outdoor Speakers Forum and Community Festival, featuring an engaging panel of expert speakers, educational materials about the goals of the event, tabling space for event supporters, food trucks and entertainment -- all as we collect blood from eligible donors.


Our Speakers

Join us for our Speakers Forum starting at 10:00 am and hear the experts discuss the status of the ban:

California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom studied Communication and Public Policy as an undergraduate at UCLA and UC Berkeley and earned his Juris Doctorate from Loyola School of Law. He practiced family law for over 30 years and worked extensively in non-profit and public service, including volunteer work for The American Red Cross. He has served as Santa Monica’s Mayor three times and Mayor Pro Tempore twice. On August 4, 2014, Assemblymember Bloom introduced AJR 50 regarding reconsideration of the FDA’s ban of blood donation by gay and bisexual men as a California Assembly Joint Resolution, where it now resides in Committee. Please join us in welcoming Assemblymember Bloom as a featured speaker!

Scott A. Schoettes is the HIV Project Director and a Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal, the national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and people living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Schoettes has successfully litigated multiple cases involving the discriminatory treatment of people living with HIV. He assisted in dismantling the HIV travel ban, assisted a subcommittee of the President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS in developing recommendations to promote safe and voluntary disclosure of HIV status, and is working nationwide on the reform of laws criminalizing conduct based on HIV status.

The Williams Institute is a national think tank at UCLA School of Law, dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy. In 2010, it published a compelling report entitled "Effects of Lifting Blood Donation Bans on Men Who Have Sex with Men." Ayako Miyashita is the Inaugural Brian Belt HIV Law & Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute. We’re very pleased to welcome Ayako as a speaker during the HRC Foundation’s Inclusive Blood Drive, where she’ll discuss the report and its most recent updates.

Councilmember John J. Duran has been an elected member of the West Hollywood City Council since 2001. He is one of the first HIV-positive gay elected officials in the United States and has initiated and co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation that hold true to the City’s innovative identity and establish a model for other progressive communities.  In 2010, his support helped to unanimously pass City Council Resolutions 10-3973 and 10-3974 in support of the FDA reconsidering its ban against gay and bisexual men donating blood.

PLUS we'll unveil a new statement about the ban issued by the American Medical Association just for this event!


Our Partners

The American Red Cross will serve as our blood collection agency. The event will also bring together a number of highly regarded community organizations, including The City of West HollywoodThe Los Angeles LGBT CenterThe Trevor Project, AIDS Project Los AngelesThe Gay Men’s Chorus of Los AngelesVox FeminaBanned4LifeLove Don’t Hate, and The Pop Luck Club.


Our Corporate Sponsors

Many thanks to our corporate sponsors, including CBS CorporationSofitel Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (Official Hotel Sponsor), AQUAhydrate (Official Water Sponsor), Capitol DrugsPowerZone, Pacific Oaks Medical GroupSheila G's - The Original Brownie Brittle Company, and Pasta Chips.


Donate Blood to Honor Someone Who Can't: www.redcrossblood.org using sponsor code HRCLA.

Sign the Petition: www.hrc.org/msmbloodban

Follow Us: www.facebook.com/events/642582639162257 and #HRCBloodDrive

Volunteer: www.doodle.com/banq6pz538kvz433

For more information about this inaugural event, please contact event producer Rich Meyers at rich@hrcla.net.  We hope you'll join us for this life-saving initiative!