Donating blood to the local blood drive is not usually an issue for most people trying to save a few lives. For Brandon Stephens this is not the case. Reporter Nadia Assim discovered why you will not be seeing Stephens’ face at the next blood drive.
On Kent Campus there are usually six blood drives a year, creating around 1600 units of blood. There are some restrictions on who can give blood, but Scott Dotterer, coordinator of Health Promotions at Kent State University says “Every one from the community is welcome to donate.”
Although Dotterer invites everyone out to donate their blood, there is one community member that you will not see at the blood drive.
Brandon Stephens, a gay member of the Kent State community, says he does not feel welcome at the blood drives because he is gay.
In 1983 the Food and Drug Administration banned all gay men from donating their blood to help save lives. In December of 2014 the FDA revised their ban stating that gay men may donate their blood if they do not have sex with another male 12 months prior their donation.
Stephens does not find any relief in the revised ban and says “I think the new rule is equally as ridiculous.” and continues to say that he has to not be who he is for 12 months in order to help people.
Stephens feels as though he is speaking for many other gay males when he says that it is ridiculous.