FDA Blood Donor Ban On Gay Men Sparks Controversy, Heated Debate In Wake Of Orlando Shooting

In the wake of the Orlando, Florida mass shooting that took place at Pulse nightclub on the evening of Saturday, June 11, blood banks are urging individuals to donate blood for the victims involved. However, there’s one stipulation that has many Americans in an uproar. Apparently, blood donations from gay men are not being accepted despite the need for blood for at least 53 victims who were injured during the deadly shooting.

According to ABC News, hundreds of people visited OneBlood, a local plasma center among many others in the Orlando area, but unfortunately, gay and bisexual males have been turned away. Although the ban seems relatively ironic considering the shooter – identified as Omar Mateen – most likely targeted the club because it predominantly caters to members of the LGBT community, OneBlood has responded with a statement of reinforcement reminding everyone that FDA guidelines for blood donations are still in place.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - JUNE 12: Long lines of people waiting at the OneBlood Donation Center to donate blood for the victims of the Pulse nightclub terror attack on June 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The suspected shooter, Omar Mateen, was shot and killed by police. 50 people are reported dead and 53 were injured in what is now the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)

OneBlood reportedly shared the tweet in an effort to refute the rumors about the gay ban being lifted. All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation,” OneBlood, an Orlando donation center, said in a tweet. “There are false reports circulating that FDA rules were being lifted. Not true.”

Needless to say, the bans have sparked controversy and heated debates on social media platforms as many Americans are offended and do not believe the reasons for the guidelines. While the American Medical Association insists the ban is a substantial improvement put in place following extensive research that justifies the true health risks of blood donations from those who live gay and bisexual lifestyles, many Americans argue the ban is nothing more than a form of discrimination based on sexual preferences.

Last year, David Stacey, the government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign, released a statement explaining why those who practice risky sexual behavior have been banned from donating blood.

“While the new policy is a step in the right direction toward an ideal policy that reflects the best scientific research, it still falls far short of a fully acceptable solution because it continues to stigmatize gay and bisexual men,” Stacy said when the FDA issued a recommendation to change the guidelines. “This policy prevents men from donating life-saving blood based solely on their sexual orientation rather than actual risk to the blood supply.”

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Despite the statements that have been released defending the FDA guidelines in place, LGBT advocates are fighting to have the ban lifted, according to TIME magazine. The latest news about the Pulse nightclub shooting follows numerous updates about Omar Mateen who is now responsible for what is being considered the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. Now, it is being reported that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the shooting and Mateen has served as a martyr for Islamic belief that strongly opposes homosexuality.

According to the New York Post, Mateen actually pledged allegiance to ISIS before the shooting. California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, also cited that the shooting, which took place during Ramadan, doesn’t seem like a coincidence.

“The fact that this shooting took place during Ramadan and that ISIS leadership in Raqqa has been urging attacks during this time, that the target was an LGBT nightclub during (LGBT) Pride (month) and, if accurate, that according to local law enforcement the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS, indicates an ISIS-inspired act of terrorism,” Schiff said.

More updates will be made available as the ongoing investigation continues.

[Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images]