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Gay Blood Donation Ban Under Fire in Wake of Orlando Shooting

2 minute read

A federal ban on blood donations from most gay men remains in effect following a deadly shooting in Orlando, despite reports that local blood donation centers had decided to ignore the rule as LGBT advocates and politicians called for it to be lifted.

“All FDA guidelines remain in effect for blood donation,” OneBlood, an Orlando donation center, said in a tweet. “There are false reports circulating that FDA rules were being lifted. Not true.”

The donation center urged local residents to donate blood following a shooting that killed at least 50 people and left dozens more injured. People lined the streets to donate in response, but a spokesperson for OneBlood described the response as “a little too much, too soon.” In that chaos, reports on social media emerged suggesting that the blood center was ignoring the ban for the time being.

But that wasn’t the case. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibits men from donating blood for a year after their last sexual contact with another man—a policy that remains in effect.

Many people in the LGBT community, as well as political leaders, spoke out against the prohibition on Sunday in the wake of the mass shooting in Pulse Orlando, a gay nightclub, which is the deadliest in U.S. history and is being investigated as an act of terror.

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Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com