We are saddened and frustrated by the FDA’s guidelines that unfairly restrict sexually active gay, bisexual, and queer men from donating blood. We are working to promote education about these rules and communicate to the FDA around guidelines that target risky sexual behavior for ALL people. We never want someone to feel “less than” or excluded at an event hosted at our facility. We consider support and inclusion of the LBGTQ community a cornerstone of who we are as a congregation.
We understand that blood centers are not anti-gay organizations and that they are following federal guidelines. We want to support blood donations and, if possible, help increase the available giving slots in our city, especially during this time of great need. We are not currently hosting blood drives on our campus. Lifeline Chaplaincy will host the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center on Saturday, September 19. We will work with locations like Lifeline that will allow us to have educational material, petitions to the FDA, and information on other ways to help affect FDA policy changes. We will help promote the drive via social media and our regular communication methods.
As the FDA continues to review and update their guidelines we will also continue to evaluate our ability to host blood drives on our campus. Specifically, we will review this each year unless changes are made sooner. We feel it is important to give blood now more than ever as blood reserves in the Gulf Coast region have fallen from 3 days to 2 days and blood donations are down 25%. To maintain our reserves, our area needs 1,000 donors each day.
Here are the following ways that you can support FDA changes and education right now:
Writing to the FDA
Sample letter from GLAAD.org that can be modified:
Sample letter from US representatives that can be modified.
Food and Drug Administration, Blood Products Advisory Committee (BPAC)
10903 New Hampshire Ave,
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
Call the consumer complaint coordinator in Texas: 855-630-2112 (toll free)
Tweet to the FDA: @US_FDA
Members of the BPAC with contact information.
Here are the following ways that you can, if you are able, donate blood or plasma right now:
Find a local blood drive with the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (Houston and nearby):
https://www.giveblood.org/where-to-donate/find-a-location/ (map based)
Find a local blood drive with the Red Cross: https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive
FAQ regarding blood and plasma donations: https://www.giveblood.org/faq.aspx
*All blood donation centers are now testing for the COVID antibodies to help with plasma donations for COVID patients.*
If you have any questions or comments about this statement, please contact a member of council or the office. Thank you,
- Covenant Council