There is an ongoing blood shortage. In March, the American Red Cross said that they had 86,000 fewer blood donations as nearly 2,7000 blood drives had been canceled across the country as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The New York Blood Center went so far as to call it a blood shortage emergency. Partially as a result of increased urgency and partially because of existing data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed a ban that barred men who had sex with men within the last year from giving bloo, to a three month guideline. But as New York Senator Brad Hoylman found, some blood bank practices haven't reflected that change.
"Last week, I tried to donate blood," Hoylman tweeted on Tuesday night. "I was rejected for being gay."
In a letter addressed to Christopher D. Hillyer, the president and chief executive officer of the center, Hoylman alleges he went to the center on May 6 to donate blood because he qualified under the new three-month deferral period. "Nevertheless, I was rejected as a donor because NYBC continues to use the outdated screening guidelines of a waiting period of one year instead of three months for gay and bisexual men like me."
"I urge you to update your guidelines to reflect the new FDA guidance for blood donation, which would allow more life-saving blood to be donated during this public health crisis," Hoylman continued. "In the meantime, I'll continue to fight for changes to the FDA's blood donation guidance that prevents most gay and bisexual men from donating blood. This policy is rooted in homophobia and limits our nation's supply of blood and plasma, which I know you agree is more crucial than ever for the research and treatment of [this novel virus.]"