gay blood drive

Malcolm Griffes / KPLU

The Food and Drug Administration FDA is proposing ending the lifetime ban on gay blood donors. But even if such is the case, there would still be restrictions. And that disappoints activists who’ve been pushing for change.

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Activists across the nation are hosting the first-ever gay blood drive today in an effort to raise the ban on blood donations by gay and bisexual men.

Intravenous drug users can donate blood after a one-year waiting period, so why can’t gay and bisexual men? That’s a question that baffles activists and scientists alike. Since 1977, the Food and Drug Administration has mandated that blood donation centers ask prospective male donors if they’ve had sex with a man. If the answer is yes, the man is deferred, meaning he’s not allowed to donate blood—ever.