Speak Out : Homosexual And Blood Donation

This subject is not talked about enough. With all this debate on gay marriage and “equality” there is one rule in particular that makes me think of the ‘Black Codes’ (institutional racism) in the U.S. South. This rule is the FDA ban on homosexuals donating blood. This rule goes as far as to state that if you’ve ever engaged in gay sex ONCE, or had sex with a man who had sex with a man before, that you are not eligible to donate blood.

What good is equality if you are still subject to institutionalized discrimination against your sexual preference? Having a practitioner tell you you’re not eligible to donate blood is akin to having gone back to Jim Crow U.S. south and being denied access to businesses and activities soley based on your skin color (only this time it’s sexual preference). What happened to equal protection under the law (9th & 14th Amendment U.S. Constitution). Not all gays (or “homosexual” in their words) are high-risk. I know many gays who are conservative by nature, wholesome, and overall very good people.

People want to talk about the barbaric laws against gays in Africa? How about the regressive unspoken rules against gays in the U.S. Like I stated before, what good is equality if we’re not seen as equals while being charitable and donating blood? I would like thoughts on this subject, because I feel that no matter how many states we get gay marriage passed in, we’ll never be considered equal by the same government implementing rules saying we’re not equal.


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  1. Ezra

    Call me ignorant but I wasn’t aware that homosexuals are still not allowed to donate blood… Or am I reading this incorrectly? I’ve donated blood and have never been asked if I’ve ever slept with a man. I knew this was something in the past but thought that was long gone.

  2. JOEY

    I can understand it being a safety measure, people who need blood the last thing on there minds should be is it HIV-. It is common sense, come on, got nothing to do with eqaulity.


    While this subject/issue is VERY topical and relevant,it is not racism. The objective to point out the glaring similarities between homophobia and racism was achieved. Unfortunately people may get stuck in the titling of the topic,esp. same gender loving men of color that use this site.
    With that being said,I do find it sad and disappointing how much discrimination still exists.It’s gone past the fabric of our country and seeped into the very core of our being. Your last sentence hit hard like a sledgehammer.

  4. RealTalk

    Blacks aren’t even seen as equals IN THE GAY COMMUNITY, so your comparison is void.

    There are no gay men in America getting hosed down as they try to donate blood at the nearest hospital smh . and while Yes, they ask you if you’ve had sex with men, they can go by your word only, it’s not something that can be assumed in most cases. There is no way to hide your blackness, if you are visibly black(short of surgery and severe bleaching ), you wear it on your face.

    That being said, while gay right IS civil rights…please don’t try to reach up into an orange tree hoping for an apple.

  5. Dre_in_the_City

    I’m sorry, but your title is confusing: “Institutional Racism”. I fail to see where you’re actually addressing your topic. What you’re talking about here is discrimination as a whole. Racism should be addressed more specifically. For example, there are many gay sites where posts express disdain for people of color.

    I don’t begrudge anyone their preferrences, but far too many people in the gay “community” either eschew people of color from their profession and personal relationships altogether, or are blatantly racist. These same people from the “community” then try to find or even fabricate reasons to justify their negative attitudes about people of other races like the brouhaha claiming that prop 8 is the fault of black voters.

    I’ll agree with one point you made: This topic isn’t discussed enough.

  6. Gboy

    This article is totally misleading. Outside of the Republican Party the Gay community is the only other bastion of racism. Where else can you find blatant displays of racism as if its a badge of honor?

  7. Clutch

    Well they aren’t saying gays can’t receive donated blood, and there really is no lost to not being able to donate blood. It’s no secret that homosexuals make up majority of HIV cases, and they may test every sample but I’m sure there’s a possibility of false negatives. Why increase the likelihood of another Ryan White? I don’t think the policies are meant to exclude as much as they are meant to protect. What matters most?

  8. Ron

    You’re not making much sense. Maybe you ought to stick to Canadian issues, you’d probably have a better understanding of them.

  9. Bigblackbear

    I agree with previous writers this is not institutionalize racism. Discrimination yes, but like anything it what you say. I can’t change my skin color and pretend I’m white. During slavery time they had the “one drop” law if you had a drop of black blood you was considered black. They where lots of one drop people passing for white like there are lots of people passing for straight. I think the writer needs to look up the defination of institutionalize racism.

  10. Jeffrey87108

    While I totally understand and respect the safety issue. As a gay man I would not want to recieve HIV + blood as I do my best to avoid it. I have a very rare blood type that everyone wants till I tell them I have sex with men. I am tested, responsible, and would never knowingly pass on anything to my sex partners let alone someone that was need my blood to save a life.

    What we fail to remember no matter gay or straight. They do not take your word for anything(for safety reasons) and test ever donation they get.

    To deny a gay man to be a productive and caring human is wrong.

  11. chutedoggerDave

    Interesting topic. I really haven’t studied up on hiv, but have heard some claims that once a person has achieved undetectable statis, it doesn’t infect a partner, maybe that’s just through seman. I’m not sure what to think about that, if true, could a person go off of their meds, truvada and sustivia are the two that people that I know have done it with, (become undetectable), or will trace virus not detected regroup and come back?

    My understanding is that all blood donated is tested before shipped out to be used and each bag of blood can be traced back to the donor now. Maybe a separate grouping of blood of non detectable blood from gay men could be established for use in other known positive gay men in need of blood if there was a severe shortage. But then again there are always those hungry lawyers who would find a way to cash in on that. Would be nice if a hemotologist or infectous disese doctor would chime in

  12. John

    The ban restricting homosexuals from donating blood is not a matter of discrimination; it is a matter of safety for the recipients of that blood. The homosexual and bisexual population has a much higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS than the heterosexual population. Since recent HIV infections may not be detected for 3-4 months, a donor can pass on infected blood on to an HIV negative recipient. This rule is in place to protect people, not to be discriminatory.

  13. Tim

    It’s a public health issue. IV drug users and men that visit prostitutes are also asked not to donate. You’ll recall Ryan white got HIV from a blood transfusion. Sorry your little feelings are so tender.

  14. Dennis

    While I understand your concern with equality, I do not equate the issue of blood donation to it. As a gay man who is HIV+ I understand the concern with the concern over transference. To not have to be dependent on a daily medication would be wonderful, and now with the ACA not really being Affordable I am in stress over where I will continue to get my medical coverage and my needed medication. Sorry but in this case I must disagree with you.

  15. Sean

    I agree with Joey. The issue of giving blood isn’t at all about equality. It’s about commonsense and safety for other people, especially if there was rendezvouses multiple with couple of that involved unprotected anal or oral intercourse regardless if they are -/+.

  16. Sdkisit

    The point of that question is absolutely moot. All blood donated is tested for all kinds of pathogens, so there is no reason to ask anyway.

  17. Anonymous

    @ RealTalk

    You clearly do not grasp the concept of discrimination whether it’s against a group of people, or against a sexual preference. Take for example:

    Chinese Exclusion Act
    Japanese Internment Camps
    Three-Fifths Compromise
    Gun Control (disproportionately against blacks)
    War on Drugs (disproportionately against blacks)
    Dred v. Scott
    Plessy v. Ferguson
    One-drop rule
    Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (Virginia).

    Whether it’s covert or overt discrimination, it’s still discrimination. And your point about people not being “hosed down” while trying to donate blood; obviously not as per U.S. Code 18 § 245 that would be a federal offense as certain activities in U.S. Code are federally protected activities (hotel, motel, gas stations, sports arenas, stadiums, theaters, and most importantly clinics, are among some). And to your last point about wearing black “on your face” – is that a veiled pun to Blackface minstrel shows? Now I’m reaching aren’t I?

  18. Ryan

    Joey… No matter if it comes from a gay man or a straight woman it should be tested for HIV in the first place. Gay men are no longer the #1 group crontracting HIV. Straight women are.

  19. Tim

    This topic is actually very dear to my heart. These types of laws tore at my heart when my sister was suffering from leukemia. When she was first diagnosed, her oncologist asked the entire family to get our blood types tested and verified in the eventuality that my sister might need transfusions or something more severe while she fought this. I was not out to my family at that time, and was spiritually not prepared for that very awkward conversation to be having with my family. What if I was a perfect match? What could I say to my own sister? “I’m sorry, the law won’t let me help you because I’m gay.” How would my parents react if it came to it? Do I be honest and come out if it means being forced to not do anything for my sister? Or do I stay in the closet to save her life?

    Unfortunately, my sister passed away before these conversations ever got started.

    Ezra: Unfortunately, these laws do exist in this country. While it is considered discrimination to blatantly ask someone their sexual orientation, if it comes out that you have had sex with a man in the past, the doctors are legally obligated to deny your donation.

    Joey: There are plenty of quick and easy tests to determine if blood is safe or not. Many of these tests can be quite expensive, true, but they can be used in cases where the patient’s needs require it.

  20. Bede

    Yes, its still in the books about the gay blood ban. It was started back when they thought only gays were transmitting HIV, back when it was called GRID (Gay-related immunodeficiency), but still is in effect after its been shown to have leveled out between the different groups of people.
    Some people may not ask that question, and why? Maybe they are gay themselves and purposely leaving that question out because they know its bull. All blood is screened for HIV and other blood-borne diseases nowadays (in the US), regardless of who donates.

  21. Doctor Know

    Let’s get some facts straight!

    1) You ARE disallowed from donating blood if you say you have EVER had sex with a man


    3) This has nothing to do with the risk of transmitting HIV! Current screening for all donated blood requires HIV testing that only misses transmission that has POTENTIALLY occurred within the last 11 days. It is estimated that this risk is approximately 1 in 2 million – far below many other (and sometimes even fatal) risks from the blood transfusion itself!


    This topic certainly should be discussed further!

  22. Nofish69

    Thanks… Dre. You hit it dead on…. I need not say anything. Well put… Well I pay for Grindr. To a be a racist site. But I give blood. Due to fact that I’m negative. And I have used condoms since I was 15. That was the first time I had sex. So plan on staying negative and clean. But str8 are passing HIV. Faster because they think they can’t pass on anything. Thanks dre

  23. Keoki in Hawaii

    After serious injuries from a car accident I passed a blood donation van outside of my Bank. Feeling I should give back what was vital to me. I am gay. Have been in a relationship for 30yrs. I came out when HIV was new and rampant. I learned about safe sex, and practice it. So was deeply disappointed when turned away. Gay Men are not the only people that contract HIV. Not to mention the host of other diseases transmitted through blood. Understand the blood is tested prior to release for use. It is ridiculous when blood is needed that it is turned away.

  24. Michael E. Sullivan

    Gays are not the only ones banned. According to Biomat here in Tallahassee, anyone who has engaged in sex for hire, used iv drugs, been incarcerated (including local/county jails) for more than 3 days within the past 12 months cannot “donate” plasma. They rely strictly on the “donor’s” word. I have observed junkies jonesing in the waiting room, waiting to sell their plasma so they can get a fix…and if your blood sugar is off, they gave you snacks to correct it prior taking your plasma. So perhaps the question needs to be refocused on how to maintain the integrity of the blood supply and the blood produce supplies.

  25. jeremy

    I work as a phlebotomist and have worked for red cross and still find this fustrating that this still happens. I am unable to donate blood because I’m gay but they have no problem letting me work there and collecting peoples blood. They see it as a safety measure but they screen all the blood after collection anyway so to me its discrimination!

  26. sjohnson

    gays are judgmental enough. since you stated “marriage”–only reason to marry is to have the “benefits” of matrimony—plain and simple-fine. marriage just because your gay is no different than marriage with st8’s. you all fuck around–one no better than the other.

  27. Mitch

    The rule was made years ago when there was AIDS and no treatment. Like it or not gay/anal sex was and still is the most prolific means of transmission. The big issue was years ago when they only saw gay men with it. In fact in very early years it’s first name was GIDS (Gay Immunodeficiency Syndrome)they thought only gay men and some women whose husbands slept with other men were getting it. So that old rule was put into place before they tested all donations and before understanding the truth of AIDS. Now days it shouldn’t be an issue but it is because they just never revisited the issue.

  28. LeeJeansLevisGuy

    I know plenty of straight dudes who have plenty of risky sex and wind up with a bunch of different STDs. Should we ban everybody? How about straight guys who use drugs and drink to an excess? Maybe they did something risky when they were drunk and don’t even remember??!

    I see both sides of the coin, we need to ensure public safety, but if we screen for Hep A and Hep B and gonorrhea and syphilis, if those tests are reliable enough to take blood from straight men, then maybe we should…

  29. Joe

    when i see the anything goes and the approach of unsafe sex on here, I can see merit on denying us to give blood. On the surface it smells like hate but after the people I have met on here and talked to I have become confused on what the right thing to do is.

  30. Phil

    When you say you know many gays who are not high risk who are conservative , wholesome and all around good people………,,,are you also saying that high risk men or those who are hiv positive are not wholesome and all around good people or they cannot be conservative?

  31. Egypt. W

    Now how in the world is the person who wrote this article going to compare people being persecuted and being murdered in many african countries for being gay or suspected of being gay, to donating blood!??? Smdh You need to reevaluate your thinking! Smh

  32. dave sauro

    as a healthy married gay man, I do give blood once a year, usually after my yearly blood work report comes back.

    I fell that the american red cross should allow gay people to openly give blood., especially when so many local supplies are low, from lack of donors.

    keep up the good work on this subject and a great idea for this blog

    uppy and riverdog

  33. Chris

    How do any of you see this as a safety issue and not an issue of equality? Do any of you even realize that gay men are no longer the most at risk for HIV? African-American women are, are we going to ban them fron donating too? Because i haven’t seen this enacted yet. By blocking homosexual men from donating all you’re doing is still keeping up the prejudices that HIV/AIDS is a “gay disease”. And seriously, give up on the Ryan White bullshit already, he contracted HIV from a blood transfusion in the tail end of the 80s. 25 years later medical screening has advanced to the point that Ryan White is not relevant to the topic at hand any longer.

  34. sparks

    Id like to point out that the entry was by an ‘anonymous’ author.

    Also there are multiple preliminary questions to avoid ‘higher risk’ people from donating blood and or plasma. (Days in prison, Syphillis, Hepatitis, International surgeries, etc.)
    While they do check every donation for hiv and other pathogens, they are questions.
    I do find it inappropriate to ask the ‘men who have sex with men’ question since we are supposed to be a protected group. Laws amd wordings are hard to change. Much like laws have not caught up with cyberspace.

  35. Anonymous

    @ Phil

    I’m not implying anything. But the fact is that through the lens of this rule, HIV+ are not what said statement described.

  36. jar11235

    That is a very discriminatory policy. Who said that straight people cannot be at hiv risk? Many of my straight friends are much more promiscuous than I am, so just because they are straight then they get a free pass. To me that’s the most absurd thing ever. As I understand when you donate, your blood is subjected to severe analysis before being even considered to be used.

  37. John...

    As misguided as the FDA’s rules might be; I believe they are merely for public safety purposes and nothing malicious meant against gays or anyone else.

    Blog writers need to quit over dramatizing this kind of thing just to get attention for themselves. Using Jim Crow etc., as examples of what’s going on here is not only irresponsible, but vainly stupid.

    There are better ways of dealing with this problem without using lies, propaganda, name calling and all of those other childish tactics.

  38. WKUFan

    I donate blood every 2 months.. I am HIV negative and my sexual practices make me no more likely to contract HIV than any other unmarked blood donor. I feel bad every time I donate and have to lie about “having had sex with a male” ; however I continue he to donate. If I go more than three months in between donations the Red Cross contacts me via phone wondering where I am and when I can “please come in to donate.”

    Not that it matters, but as a person in the science field (I hold an MS in organic chemistry), i am well aware of the screening which every donation is subject . My blood is safe, and it helps to save lives. I will continue to donate until my health conditions would truly make my donation unsafe.

  39. Anon

    Just go by statistics. If homosexuals have the highest incidence/prevalence of HIV, then continue to disallow them from giving blood.

    If it just so happens that African American women have high incidence/prevalence then forbid them from giving blood. I’m sure everyone would be just as happy as they are with forbidding homosexuals from donating blood, and the NAACP would probably fully support the FDA in it’s earnest quest for equal analysis of risk. We wouldn’t want to taint the blood supply with unhealthy blood…

  40. chiboy79

    The donation if blood is not where it stops, sadly. This also goes into donating organs, or any type of tissue. If you have had sex with a man, then you are removed from the possibility to help anyone. I am O- and can donate blood or organs to anyone, and yet if I say I have had sex with another man, which I have, then my donation is disposed of. Yes I would lie and say no I have not, but why should I have to lie? More so when the blood or organ donation is tested just as much as my straight counterpart.

    Even Red Cross has publically stated that they have to follow the rules of the Government even though they do not agree with them.

  41. Roger

    I’m gay and I donate blood regularly — I just have to lie on the questionnaire to do it. To many of the other posters, being gay is not a sexual preference, it is an orientation. There’s a huge difference in the two terms, and it’s not just semantics.

  42. jason

    I’m a phlebotomist with a plasma donation clinic, no i have not attempted to donate but it has nothing to do with my sexual preference… they ask men if they ever had sex with another man and they also ask women if they ever had sex with a man who’s had sex with another man… with all of the test that we do i think that it shouldn’t matter what sexual preference is as long as you don’t test positive you should be allowed to donate

  43. Fairprince

    One should not lie about your preference , this law I am sure came about when aids became apparent as the gay cancer many years ago, a good movie to look at would be ” the band played on ” this movie situated the time very well ,and the infection spreading to all kinds of people because in those days the blood was not tested properly, as well as blood donation was in the money making area ,it was done out of great fear to ban gay guys from giving ,
    Fear is a very crippling thing in any society and in those days once the blood was located as the source of breeding area for the” gay cancer” as it was know then FDC , sought to ban gays from donating
    House wives and gays and middle profession were the biggest donations of blood in those years
    To best of my knowledge from a FDC person way back then. ( lover ) the blood was dumped because it was considered contaminated and very important and powerful family groups in the states were affected

  44. Mark

    This is a very fascinating topic.
    Yes, I can see how it would be deemed Jim Crow-esque but here is the cold hard reality: gay men, statistically speaking, are known to engage in more sex and certainly higher-risk behaviors than the average U.S. population.

    I speak from experience. I have had nearly 200 male partners and I have herpes. While not every man who has a high amount of partners and has an incurable disease, I wouldn’t want them to give blood.

    Look at it like this, gentlemen–when you have been in a car accident, you’ve bled out pints of blood and your life is in the balance and you must get blood in you, who’s blood would you want when you’re in the hospital? A straight person’s or a gay man’s. ENOUGH SAID!

  45. Chris

    Wow. Just wow. Just reading the majority of responses, I would have thought them written by members of Focus on the Family. Safety, my ass. “I’m clean and I lie to donate blood.” That’s bullshit. “Clean” indeed. More like closeted and ashamed. The Red Cross doesn’t want GAY BLOOD. They don’t want it to get into the veins of heterosexual people. They don’t ban ANYONE who has had an unprotected sexual contact since 1977. They ban “homosexuals.” “It’s a safety issue”–exactly. Because homophobes think we are “dangerous” just because we are gay. Get some fucking self-respect and stand up for the worth of the blood in your veins.

  46. fphil

    I’m bi and take care to not expose myself to HIV in any way. Consequently if the day comes that I need blood, I want to be certain that the blood is safe. What a travesty it would be that after being so careful sexually to not contract the disease, that I would get it from a blood transfusion.
    No, this isn’t discrimination, it’s just plain common sense!

  47. Geno

    When I worked for the Postal Service I was cajoled into donating blood for a drive. When I was asked that question I was summarily dismissed and told I would never be able to donate blood ever again. After that huge ass embarrassment, I would never EVER bless anyone with my blood OR organs if their name was HATCHOO.

  48. Christopher (Licensed Medical Practitioner)

    HIV isn’t the ONLY thing that is screened before blood donation: (this is pretty ridiculous)

    Malaria, viral hepatitis, Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (vCJD), MANY drugs that are taken by the “donor” all are “reasons people cannot donate blood”.

    Get off the “gay men can’t donate blood”. Odd, but prostitutes can’t donate blood, either.

  49. Realtalk


    You clearly can’t read or comprehend context. The author is comparing the treatment and institutional ism disparity of colored people to homosexuals being unable to donate blood… If you fail to see how that can be an inaccurate comparison, read my post again, go suck a dick, think about it, then come on back and see me, I’ll be happy yo explain

  50. Xander Mcqueen

    I have give long discussions about this topic. I have mainly encountered people that had no idea that gay men could not give blood. Most people do not pay much attention to the questions they are asked if none apply to them. Hiv can be tested in blood. This is a well know fact and has be so since the mid-late 80’s. If they can test the blood and do so regardless if the person says yes or no to the question why not let everyone donate blood freely. In other countries they allow everyone to donate blood and the main reason is because they have the ability to test for HIV.

    I am not sure where the racisim thing is coming from. I can attest to the fact that the gay community needs to wake up. The way that we portray and speak about minorities is insane. Minorities are reduced to fetishes and nothing more and but its black men that get the worse wrap. The things i have heard white gay men say about them.

    I find it all very surprising that our community is so willing to say hateful things about a group of people and prop 8 had nothing to do with African Americans. It was the religious sector that paid and funded prop 8, Mormons mostly.

  51. domtoppapi

    Fuck the red cross. When they call begging for my blood like a damn vampire because their supplies are low I tell them to go to hell. I am gay and negative but due to their stupid rules/laws I cant give blood. Jack ass mother f’ers.

  52. Fairprince

    Yes I agree with a good few of the post here as I am checking back in on the topic , if I had to be taken in to the hospital and I would need blood better believe I want clean blood not from a gay guy sorry it’s reality , many of us practice many things in the bedroom opening us up to all types of things hell it’s a fact one blogger drew it to the blog here @ mark
    When I was in orgies I would witness many bottoms taking cock raw from guys they did not know

  53. N/A

    It is discrimination but oh well. It brings no harm to me. Ill keep my O+ blood in my body and hopefully no ones life will depend on my donation or lack thereof.

    But for.those who agree with the policy based on who makes up the majority of HIV cases, your reasoning is flawed bc the majority of Fay men dont have HIV. Should we ban black ppl too since our infection rate is rising?

  54. Southenr Guy

    As someone who used to religiously donate blood, the same as most of my family has, I do find this principle unfair and discriminatory.

    My type is O- and every time I used to donate I was always told how important my type was as usually it’s reserved for those emergency cases and for infants and I felt it was part of my human duty to suffer through that needle and donate and I was always honest with that homo question, which yes asked if I’d had sex with a man. Until the age of 24 that was a no but after I stopped trying to deny my urges to have sex, I also stopped donating. I feel that I’m put myself in no worse a risk than that of a heterosexual man or woman who screw and produce a child with someone they really don’t like or know they can’t completely trust enough to be having unprotected sex. Hell, I think I may be doing better then them because I do get tested for everything 2 to 3 times a year depending on my activities.

    With modern methods of testing blood and really I think the ability to preventatively treat all donated blood with antibiotics and antibodies before freezing it this discrimination should be lifted. I will not liken it to racism as I know they used to not allow other races give blood due to ignorance and I know that this ruling was a valid way to reduce risk until science caught up but as I think the rising number of HIV cases is in the hetero community the views need to be corrected.

    As it’s been over a decade since I’ve been stuck with a giant needle to donate, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be abstaining from giving again even if they lift the rule.

  55. Justin Walters

    I am a very sexual active gay & i donate blood all the time. In NY they do ask me if i ever had sex with one guy & i say NO, cuz i know im D&D Free including HIV

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