Need one more reason to love Twitter? Well, now you’ve got it!
Twitter has decided to halt its company blood drives after one of its employees – a gay man – was denied an opportunity to donate at a recent blood drive.
“We made a choice to take a company stand against some of our employees being turned away from donating blood and will channel our efforts into education about this issue until this unnecessary and discriminatory policy is changed,” a Twitter spokesperson told the International Business Times.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has maintained a ban on blood donations from gay men and bisexual men for decades. Men who have sex just once with another man face a lifetime blood donation ban.
This now-antiquated ban on gay blood donations was implemented back in the early 1980s when a disproportionate percentage of HIV and AIDS cases impacted the gay community. In the early days of this disease, blood donations were not tested for HIV/AIDS, so the ban – implemented in 1983 – served to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease via blood donations.
But today, all blood donations are tested for HIV/AIDS, amongst other diseases. And HIV/AIDS no longer disproportionately impacts the gay community, rendering this policy outdated and illogical. It also serves to perpetuate the stigma and misconception that HIV/AIDS impacts only gay men.
It’s estimated that over 350,000 men are banned from donating blood due to the FDA’s ban on gay blood donations. This translates into more than 600,000 pints of blood which could save over 1 million lives.
A revision to the FDA’s ban on blood donations from gay men was proposed, but even the updated policy leaves much to be desired, as the net effect is virtually identical. The proposed policy would require a gay man to be celibate for at least one year in order to donate blood.
Notably, heterosexual men and women, and even gay women can have sex with as many partners as they desire and they are still eligible to donate blood.
In addition, the FDA also discriminates against transgender women, grouping them in the same category as gay men.
LGBT activists have lauded Twitter for its decision to halt company blood donations after learning of this unfair and discriminatory policy. The company has been recognized for its LGBT-friendliness, even rated as a top LGBT workplace by the Human Rights Campaign.