Lance Bass Takes On A Policy That Won’t Let Him Help Victims Of The Las Vegas Shooting

"I want to donate and I'm not allowed."

In the hours after the Las Vegas shooting on October 1 — which has been called the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history — hundreds of people lined up to give blood in an effort to help the victims and the injured. However, not everyone was permitted to do so because the Food and Drug Administration prohibits gay and bisexual men from donating.

As HuffPost points out, the FDA's previous lifetime ban on gay and bisexual male blood donors was lifted back in 2015, but the federal agency still forbids any man who has had sex with another man in the past year from donating. The actual ban reads, "Defer for 12 months from the most recent sexual contact, a man who has had sex with another man during the past 12 months."

In other words, even if you are a sexually active gay man who is married or in a monogamous relationship, you are still not allowed to donate blood.

Former NSYNC member Lance Bass, who came out as gay in 2006 and has been married for three years, blasted the ban on Twitter just one day after the shooting took place. "How is it STILL illegal for gays to donate blood??!!" he asked. "I want to donate and I'm not allowed."

The LGBTQ community was similarly outraged and upset after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting because gay men who had sex in the past year weren't allowed to donate blood after that atrocity either. As one Twitter user put it at the time, "You can't donate your gay blood to gay people."

Medically speaking, the ban stems from the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, even though we now have the technology to quickly and reliably test blood for HIV. Certain restrictions remain in place (those who have received a blood transfusion or been exposed to another person's blood are also barred from donating) because the FDA says extensive testing of blood samples showed a 12-month waiting period had the lowest risk of transmitting blood-borne pathogens, whereas the risk of transmission was higher with shorter deferment periods.

A post shared by Lance Bass (@lancebass) on

Though safety may be at the root of the ban, it's still frustrating and upsetting for Bass and other members of the LGBTQ community who wish to help by donating blood. Still, even though there's no indication the FDA has plans to revise its guidelines in the near future, there has been a recent shift in the conversation regarding the blood ban. Ads for the next Saw movie take aim at the FDA's restrictions and declare "All Types Welcome."

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