With 50-plus people reported killed, the massacre at Orlando’s LGBT night club Pulse has now earned the title of “worst mass shooting in history” and gunman Omar Mateen appears to be motivated by a hatred of gays born from his alleged religious extremism.
In the wake of the carnage, blood donations for surviving victims are in urgent need, but that effort is hampered by the fact that archaic and homophobic laws still prevent gay men from donating blood.
Although the FDA recently revised it rules, gay men must be celibate for a year before they are allowed to donate — this includes gay men who are monogamous or in long-term relationships while heterosexual men and women who have unprotected sex with multiple partners can donate at will. As Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern points out, the ban on gay male blood donors is unscientific and completely rooted in fear.
Because of these rules, most gay men are now legally forbidden from doing the one thing that could directly aid those injured in their community—for reasons based not on science, but on homophobia and fear. As their friends perish from bullet wounds, gay men in Orlando today are condemned to do nothing but watch helplessly.
According to various reports on social media, a local blood center in Florida has “temporarily” lifted the ban in the wake of the shooting. Due to an influx of traffic, OneBlood’s website crashed but is now back up and running with an urgent call for help:
There is an urgent need for O Negative, O Positive and AB Plasma blood donors following a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Dozens of people have been injured and taken to area hospitals. The need for blood continues.
All eligible O Negative, O Positive and AB donors are urged to please donate today. To find a donation center or Big Red Bus near you click here.
CAIR (The Council on American-Muslim Relations has also called on Muslims in the Orlando community to donate blood.
“We condemn this monstrous attack and offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of all those killed or injured,” CAIR-Florida’s Orlando Regional Coordinator Rasha Mubarak said in a statement. “The Muslim community joins our fellow Americans in repudiating anyone or any group that would claim to justify or excuse such an appalling act of violence.”
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