National Gay Blood Drive Friday July 11 – Tulare County LGBTQ community to take part 7/11/14



In 1983, at the beginning of the HIV crisis, the FDA instituted a policy that banned gay men from donating blood. Even after 31 years of progress in understanding, treating, and preventing the disease, that policy is still in place. Despite attempts to change the regulations to reflect behavior rather than orientation, any man that has had sex with another man since 1977 is permanently banned from donating blood, regardless of his HIV status.

On Friday, July 11, there will be action at blood banks across the United States to protest the continuing ban on gay donors.  These will not be pickets or rallies, but instead gay men will bring a volunteer ally to donate in their name.

Locally, Gay Visalia and Gay Porterville ( and will be coordinating local donations by the LGBTQ community at the Visalia office of the Central California Blood Center, 1515 S. Mooney Blvd.

From the National Gay Blood Drive media release:


Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood; however, millions of healthy Americans are not allowed to donate due to the FDA policy. In response, the National Gay Blood Drive will take place in more than 60 U.S. cities on July 11 to bring attention to the ban and help save lives. The drive – which is open to everyone – is organized by filmmaker and activist Ryan James Yezak with the help of local leaders and volunteers from participating cities.

Yezak organized the drive for the first time last year when he was unable to speak to the FDA about the ban for his documentary Second Class Citizens.

“The policy is outdated, and as a result, otherwise eligible gay and bisexual men are unable to contribute to the nation’s blood supply and help save lives,” said Yezak. “In addition, the ban perpetuates inaccurate stereotypes and a negative stigma about the gay male population. The current lifetime deferral focuses on sexual orientation, and we are calling on the FDA to change its policy so that it instead focuses on sexual behavior and individual risk. ”

While hundreds of gay and bisexual men across the country took part in last year’s drive, Yezak was most surprised by participation from a nearly equivalent amount of allies, including lesbian and heterosexual individuals. Inspired by their support and involvement, Yezak decided to once again organize the National Gay Blood Drive, expanding it to show broad demographic support.

“This year, the drive’s goal is to get everyone involved – including our ally donors – to speak with a collective voice,” said Yezak. “Eligible allies can donate in place of the gay and bisexual men who cannot so that we not only raise awareness about the ban but also help contribute to the more than 41,000 blood donations needed every day. We want the FDA to see how our community can benefit the nation’s blood supply, but also see how much we can contribute even when we are banned.”


Visalia, CA Participates in National Gay Blood Drive
The Visalia drive is happening July 11, 2014 from 8:30 am to 5:30pm at Central California Blood Center on 1515 S Mooney Blvd Visalia CA 93277. The local National Gay Blood Drive leader is André Gomez and can be reached at

Help us shed a nationwide light on this ban and get blood to those who need it. Watch the National Gay Blood Drive announcement video for more information, and visit http://www.gayblooddrive.comto get involved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s