A group of Sarah Lawrence College students (in partnership with GMHC, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and Empire State Pride Agenda) has posted a petition on the We the People section of whitehouse.gov protesting the FDA's ban on gay and bisexual male blood donation. Men who say that they have had sex with men during blood donor screenings are (and have been since 1985) turned away from donating. The ban was put in place as a response to the AIDS crisis but is now seen as outdated and unnecessary, not to mention discriminatory – not just by LGBT advocates, but by experts like The American Red Cross and similar blood collection agencies.
In 2011, most of the UK chose to lift the lifetime ban on male donors who have had sex with other men, but still will only allow donations from men who have not had sex with a same-sex partner for twelve months. According to a 2010 study by the Williams Institute at UCLA, if a similar regulation was put in place here, there would likely be 89,716 more pints of blood donated each year. If the ban was lifted completely an additional 219,200 pints of blood would be donated each year. Although, these numbers may seem small, the extra blood would help in an environment with frequent blood shortages.
The students have until March 31st to get 100,000 signatures. Petitions that reach 100,000 signatures within 30 days of their posting require response from the White House.