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Thursday, January 13, 2022


The Red Cross has declared a national blood crisis and it has reignited the discussion of giving among gay and bisexual men. 

A rule birthed during the AIDS crisis of the 80s, the FDA completely banned men who have sex with men from giving blood for over three decades. In 2015, they allowed gay and bi men to give after being abstinent for one year then, in 2020, they updated the policy to just 3 months, largely because of the impact coronavirus had on holding blood drives. 

It's an outdated, discriminatory, and illogical policy that perpetuates stigma against gay men, especially since all given blood is screened for "infectious disease pathogens" like STIs and HIV, according to the CDC

While the shortage is alarming for all Americans and many gay and bi men want to donate, many feel backed into a corner. Then the question arose... Should they just lie? 

The debate began on Twitter with LGBTQ+ folks pointing out that because of the rule, it's not their issue.

Others didn't appreciate the sentiment. They believe it is our duty to help each other out and if the government's outdated rule stands in the way of that, gay and bi men should just lie about their sexual history and give blood anyway. 

"If you want to give blood just lie," chimed in comedian Joel Kim Booster. "I’m willing to prioritize my own righteousness below the needs of the little girl in that video and others in need.

But is that the ethically right choice? Not everyone is so sure. Editors note for transparency: I joined in on the Twitter conversation as well.

And there are other factors at play as well. One Twitter user said he lied and was able to donate plasma but after learning that he was using the HIV prevention medication PrEP, his blood was still turned away.

Others offered perspective.

Then, of course, the jokes began.

So what should gay and bisexual men do in this situation? How much of this responsibility is on us versus the FDA?

It's hard to say, but we should always follow our own instincts and do what feels right for ourselves. 


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