Blood Donation, Legoland and a New Kind of Blood Drive

August 14, 2014 3:49 PM

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Blood Donation, Legoland and a New Kind of Blood Drive

That's really how it all started. Our 9-year-old son had come home from school one day, excited that his school was having a blood drive. If we donated blood, we'd be rewarded with a few tickets to Legoland. As two dads, we suddenly found ourselves thrust into an unexpected conversation with our very inquisitive (and Lego-loving) son about sexual orientation, HIV, and the Food and Drug Administration ban that prevents gay and bisexual men from donating blood. To his disappointment, we couldn't participate in his school's activity, despite the school's pride in its firm commitment to nondiscrimination and inclusivity. If this was happening to us, surely it was happening to other gay and bisexual men at their kids' schools, places of worship and other community gatherings. Even more importantly, it meant the country was struggling with a smaller-than-necessary supply of safe blood in an environment where blood was constantly in short supply.

I decided to approach the school's Board of Trustees, but I did so reluctantly. If they cancelled the blood drive, the only people who would likely suffer would be the people who needed blood. Nevertheless, my husband and I were at no greater risk of transmitting HIV than our straight neighbors. The...

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