Seminole State College of Florida nursing student Blake Lynch wanted to give blood to honor a fellow student with sickle cell anemia. However, when he went to donate, he was turned away because of a decades-old FDA policy that bans gay men from giving blood.
To raise awareness, Lynch, 21, of Lake Mary, has created banned4life.org, a website that includes an online petition and other information about the policy.
“The FDA policy is discriminatory because it looks at orientation instead of behaviors,” Lynch says. “I am a healthy gay man. I protect myself. I shouldn’t be deferred just because of my sexual orientation.”
Lynch, a Seminole High School graduate, says the best approach isn’t to boycott or block blood donations. He is encouraging those who are opposed to the ban to donate blood or ask someone to donate in their place on Oct. 19.
Currently, a man who has ever had sex with a man since 1977 is indefinitely deferred from donating blood.
Lynch also has a few colleges, including Rollins College's Spectrum, that have signed on to host blood drives on Oct. 19. He is also working with the Student Nursing Association at Seminole State to present a resolution to support lifting the gay blood ban at the group’s national convention in April.
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