Though Lance Bass wanted to help out the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas by donating blood, he faced a frustrating reality.
Unfortunately for the *NSYNC star, the Food and Drug Administration prohibits him, along with many other gay and bisexual men, from giving blood. Though the FDA lifted its lifetime ban on gay and bisexual male blood donors in 2015, their revised policy still bars any man who has had sex with another man in the past year from donating. Sexually active gay men who are married or in monogamous relationships remain banned under the policy.
Bass, who came out as gay in 2006 and married his husband, Michael Turchin, in 2014, blasted the FDA’s regulations in a tweet Monday.
A day later, the 38-year-old pop star reiterated that stance on Instagram. After Bass posted a photo of the Las Vegas Strip alongside a poignant quote attributed to Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma, a fan suggested he donate blood.
“I can’t. I’m gay,” Bass wrote in the comments.
Bass wasn’t the only LGBTQ celebrity to speak out against the FDA’s restrictions on gay blood donations in the wake of Sunday’s massacre, which left at least 59 people dead and more than 500 people wounded. Actor-author Jeffery Self (“Search Party,” “30 Rock”) was similarly vocal in his opposition ...
... as was LGBTQ rights activist Shane Bitney Crone, who happens to be a HuffPost blogger.
Other users joined in, too.
These restrictions don’t just reinforce outdated stereotypes around gay and bisexual men and HIV/AIDS. A 2014 Williams Institute report found that completely lifting the ban could lead to more than 600,000 additional pints of blood being donated per year.
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CLARIFICATION: Additional language has been added to the original version of this article to clarify the Williams Institute statistics.