Sen­a­tors, mem­bers of Congress join the fight

GA Voice - - Remembering The Orlando 49 -

By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS psaun­ders@the­

On Thurs­day, June 9, OneBlood, a blood bank that ser­vices Florida and parts of Ge­or­gia and South Carolina, is­sued a press re­lease say­ing they had an “ur­gent need” for O neg­a­tive blood, a type of blood that’s in con­stant de­mand be­cause it can be given to any pa­tient re­gard­less of their blood type. In the early morn­ing hours of Sun­day, June 12, shots be­gan to ring out at Or­lando LGBT night­club Pulse.

Over the next sev­eral hours, vic­tims were trans­ported to area hos­pi­tals, and OneBlood is­sued an­other call for blood, this one an­other “ur­gent need” for not only O neg­a­tive, but O pos­i­tive and AB plasma blood donors. 49 peo­ple died as a re­sult of the shoot­ing, with an­other 53 be­ing in­jured. One of OneBlood’s own em­ploy­ees was among the dead.

It’s un­clear if the num­ber of deaths from the Pulse shoot­ing would have been any dif­fer­ent had there not been a blood shortage in the area, but one glar­ing irony emerged from the incident: more blood would have al­ready been on hand and more donors would have shown up to give in the af­ter­math of the shoot­ing if the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion (FDA) didn’t ban gay and bi­sex­ual men from do­nat­ing blood.

And now sen­a­tors and mem­bers of Congress are call­ing on the FDA to change its pol­icy, and activists around the coun­try are em­ploy­ing unique tac­tics to get them to do the same.

New guide­lines still sin­gle out gay, bi men

Mourn­ers gath­ered on June 12 at TEN At­lanta for a vigil in honor of the vic­tims of the Pulse shoot­ing. (Photo by Pa­trick Saun­ders)

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