Banned4Life campaign leader

Blake Lynch, a 22-year-old nursing student in Florida, found out about the ban last February. He’d driven to the local donation center after his friend, Emmy Derisbrun, spoke to his nursing class at Seminole State College. Derisbrun has sickle cell disease, one of the world’s most common genetic diseases. Sickle cell affects more than 90,000 people in the U.S., predominantly African Americans like Derisbrun. And when sickle cell flares up, the symptoms can be extremely painful. Blood transfusions are often a necessary part of the treatment.

“The pain is excruciating,” she says. “If I need blood, I like to know it’s there. My blood type—O negative—is rare, and the hospitals are always running low. If there’s ever a shortage, I could die.”

Moved by her story, Lynch decided he would try to help. Later that day, he drove to the blood bank and filled out the questionnaire. Afterward, an administrator called him into a private room to review his answers. “He asked me if I’d answered truthfully,’” Lynch says. “I told him I had. And then he explained the ban. I was shocked. I’m not a prostitute or a drug user—I’m a healthy guy. As I like to tell people now, the H in HIV stands for ‘Human’—not ‘Homosexual’.”

-Mike Darling, Men's Health

How you can help

When Blake went to donate blood for his friend Emmy (who has sickle cell anemia) he was turned away because he is gay. That's when he and and his partner Brett decided to do something about it.   At first thought the FDA's policy that bans gay men from donating blood appears to discriminate against a small minority of citizens. In reality, it affects not just those targeted by the…

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Dr. Sanjay Gupta is the Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN, and his voice is well respected throughout the medical community.  With a specialized knowledge of HIV/AIDS and an awareness of the blood shortages in the US, Gupta must recognize that lifting the gay blood ban would not only help to save lives, but would also put an end to a discriminatory policy. The American Red Cross, the…

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Every 2 seconds someone needs a blood transfusion. By making this pledge you are going to help save lives.  While gay and bisexual men are BANNED for donating blood, it is incredibly powerful to have eligible donors donate blood in our place. By donating blood for a gay and bisexual man you are also supporting LGBT equality and calling for an end of the Gay Blood Ban.  While donating blood be…

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