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Gay and bisexual men can’t give blood in Las Vegas, and people are outraged

Josh Jackman October 3, 2017
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01: (EDITORS NOTE: Image contains graphic content.) People carry a peson at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. There are reports of an active shooter around the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

(Getty)

Yesterday, a gunman in Las Vegas killed 59 people and injured another 527 in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.

Armed with 16 guns, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel, shooting at those attending an open-air music festival.

After the 273rd mass shooting in the US this year was over, as the death toll was still being counted, thousands in Nevada headed for the nearest blood bank.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: People hug and cry outside the Thomas & Mack Center after a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, allegedly opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the music festival, leaving at least 50 people dead and hundreds injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Getty)

The lines were hundreds deep, snaking around city blocks as people performed one of the few tangible acts they could, literally giving a piece of themselves to help others.

But when it came to one key LGBT group, this was impossible. They aren’t allowed.

Their blood is not wanted.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 02: A large group of people gather to donate blood at a special United Blood Services drive at a University Medical Center facility to help victims of a mass shooting on October 2, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The gunman, identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, allegedly opened fire from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the music festival, leaving at least 58 people dead and over 500 injured. According to reports, Paddock killed himself at the scene. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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If you’re a man who has sex with men in the US, you can’t donate unless you’ve abstained from sex for a year.

The American Red Cross follows Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, which state: “Defer for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months.”

“All US blood collection organisations must follow this federal requirement,” the American Red Cross explains.

In the aftermath of a national tragedy, this restriction angered those who knew about it, and shocked people who had no idea and simply wanted to lend a hand.

In the UK, the rules surrounding blood donations from men who have sex with men were relaxed earlier this year.

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01:  People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
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From early 2018, the deferral period will shrink to 12 weeks.

The US has made no such move, and people took to Twitter to air their fury.

Writing on Twitter, one person said: “You know, I would love to donate blood, if not for that pesky #gay thing. F***in homophobic laws.”

(Twitter/jauntycm)
(Twitter/jauntycm)

Elijah Daniel, a YouTube comedian who rewrote The Bible to make it “gayer” and became the first gay Mayor of Hell before banning straight people from the town, also voiced his desires.

“rly wish i could donate my gay blood,” the YouTuber wrote.

(Twitter/elijah daniel)
(Twitter/elijah daniel)

Some were shocked that such a rule exists in the 21st century.

One wrote: “I just found out “gay blood” is a thing and if a gay couple has had sex in less that 12 months neither of them are allowed to donate blood?!”

(Twitter/ronald cruz)
(Twitter/ronald cruz)

Another said disbelievingly that “it’s 2017 and gay men still can’t donate blood.”

(Twitter/divarobbie)
(Twitter/divarobbie)

“Just a reminder gay people are still not allowed to donate blood unless you’re a homosexual who hasn’t had sex in a year like Mike Pence,” another wrote, acerbically.

(Twitter/benjaminjs)
(Twitter/benjaminjs)

Another didn’t hold back, writing: “gay people can’t donate blood for the victims of Las Vegas unless they haven’t had sex for 12 months? WHY IS THIS A THING OH MY F***ING GOD”.

(Twitter/cryingcauley)
(Twitter/cryingcauley)

There was a lot of anger, with one user saying: “It infuriates me that gay & bisexual men can be turned away from donating blood in Las Vegas because of the FDA’s discriminatory policy.”

(Twitter/shanebitney)
(Twitter/shanebitney)

One user remarked sarcastically: “I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m gay I love this country”.

(Twitter/joeyskawaii)
(Twitter/joeyskawaii)

Another pointed out that their blood could potentially be incredibly useful.

They wrote: “Wanting to donate blood since I’m considered the universal donor but can’t since I’m gay wow this is bull****”.

(Twitter/evermua)
(Twitter/evermua)

One said: “holy s*** i had no idea that gay men couldn’t donate blood unless they haven’t had sex for 12 months. that’s so f***ed up”.

(Twitter/niallsruin)
(Twitter/niallsruin)

Now that’s outrage over a good cause.

More: bi, bisexual, blood, Crime, Gay, gay men, Las Vegas, las vegas shooting, mass shooting, men who have sex with men, murder, police, stephen paddock, US, US, Victims

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