Gay US ambassador to Spain proudly gives blood
Out gay ambassador James Costos shared a photo of himself donating blood in Madrid.
Gay and bisexual men are currently banned from giving blood in the United States for life, as a reaction to the 1980s AIDS crisis. Updated rules, which would allow gay and bisexual men to give blood if they abstain from sex with men – recommended at the end of last year – are being formally considered this week.
Campaigners say that requiring a year of celibacy is still, in essence, a lifetime ban for most gay and bisexual men. They argue that sexually active men in long-term monogamous relationships have little risk of blood-borne infections such as HIV.
In Spain donors are screened based on their risk factors.
Ambassador Costos posted the photo on the Instagram account shared by himself and his partner Michael S Smith. The couple have been together for 15 years and are close friends of President Obama and his family.
Mr Smith, an interior designer, was asked by First Lady Michelle Obama to refurbish the White House’s Oval Office.
In the photo, a smiling Mr Costos gives the camera a thumbs up, and the picture is captioned: “I joined Team U.S. Embassy Madrid donating blood.
“Please join us, it feels good to give…trust me! Gracias.”
The UK also requires men to abstain from sex with men for a year before donating blood – except in Northern Ireland where a lifetime ban is still in place.