Ramping up their fight to overturn a ban dating back to 1985 and the emergence of the AIDS crisis, gay-rights organizers are preparing an unprecedented “national gay blood drive” Friday to urge the federal government to change its donation policy and allow some openly gay and bisexual men to give blood.
None of the thousands of men expected to show up to blood donation centers is likely to be allowed to donate, but gay-rights activists are eager to show that the ban prevents countless units of healthy blood from being accepted into the blood banks.
This is “a demonstration of peace,” said Ryan James Yezak, organizer of Friday’s national gay blood drive.
Banning gay and bisexual men as blood donors promotes a blood shortage, creates a negative stereotype about the men and “is discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Mr. Yezak, a gay filmmaker.
The blood drive — just weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage and a May decision by Boy Scouts of America leaders to admit openly gay youths to their program — is the latest front in an expanding national push for gay equality.
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