The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is partnering with Los Angeles-area LGBT groups and the American Red Cross for a blood drive on Sept. 20th, 2014, designed to bring attention to outdated federal policy that bars donations based on sexual orientation.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s discriminatory ban prevents many people who could provide life-saving blood from donating,” said David Stacy, HRC's Director of Government Affairs. “We believe that potential blood donors should be screened based on their relevant behavior, not their sexual orientation.”
HRC has long supported efforts to change the FDA blood ban, which was established three decades ago when HIV was newly discovered. Advances in modern blood testing since then have also led for calls for change from the American Red Cross, America’s Blood Centers, and the American Association of Blood Banks, organizations that since 2006 have characterized the ban as medically and scientifically unwarranted.
In addition, the Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Blood and Tissue Safety and Availability has acknowledged that the ban is “suboptimal” because it focuses on sexual orientation, rather than actual risk.
“Given these facts, HRC, and our community partners, urge the HHS and FDA to modernize criteria for donating blood in the United States,” Stacy said. “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 many gay and bisexual men.”
The Inclusive Blood Drive is designed to draw attention to the blood ban, and also help people learn more about the outdated FDA policy and how LGBT groups and others are working on the long process to get it changed.
The event allows ineligible blood donors to participate by recruiting eligible donors to donate on their behalf. It will feature a speakers forum, during which experts will discuss current efforts to change the ban, and will highlight a statement released by the American Medical Association for the event. There will be live entertainment during the all-day festival, organized with community partners and corporate sponsors, and participants will have the opportunity to sign a petition calling for reconsideration of the ban.
Community partners for the event include The City of West Hollywood, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, The Trevor Project, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Vox Femina Los Angeles, AIDS Project Los Angeles, The Pop Luck Club, Banned4Life, and Love Don’t Hate. Prop 8 plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarillo also plan to attend to lend their support.
Corporate sponsors for the event include Sofitel Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, AquaHydrate, Capitol Drugs, Power Zone, The Abbey, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, Pasta Chips, Just Chill Beverages, and Pacific Oaks Medical Group.
WHAT: Include Inform Inspire - An Inclusive Blood Drive, Festival and Speakers Forum
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
WHERE: West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vincente Blvd., West Hollywood, CA
Richard Bloom, California State Assemblymember
Scott Schoettes, Lambda Legal HIV Project Director and Senior Attorney
Ayako Miyashita, Brian Belt HIV Law & Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute
John Duran, West Hollywood City Councilmember
Mitch O’Farrell, Los Angeles City Councilmember
Rich Meyers, Blood Drive Event Chair, HRC Board of Governors member-elect and Gala Co-Chair for HRC Los Angeles Steering Committee.
LEARN MORE: www.hrc.org/blooddrive
DONATE BLOOD: www.redcrossblood.org using sponsor code HRCLA
SIGN THE PETITION: www.hrc.org/msmbloodban
FOLLOW: www.facebook.com/events/642582639162257 and #HRCBloodDrive
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