National Gay Blood Drive in Chicago Friday, July 11

Fri. July 11, 2014 8:15 AM by News Staff

Chicago, IL - The National Gay Blood Drive, an effort working to change the FDA ban on gay blood donors, is happening in 61 cities across America today, including at Howard Brown Health Center on Chicago's North Side.

On Thursday, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-IL) spoke out in support of the action.

"Being gay does not implicitly make someone an unsafe blood donor. The current outdated and discriminatory FDA policy is based on unjustifiable fear and bigotry instead of science and facts," said Rep. Quigley.

In 1983, at the beginning of the HIV crisis, the FDA instituted a policy that banned gay men from donating blood. Even after 31 years of progress in understanding, treating and preventing the disease, that policy is still in place.

On Friday, July 11, there will be action at blood banks across the United States to protest the continuing ban on gay donors, as gay men will bring a volunteer ally to donate in their name.

Chicago's Gay Blood Drive will occur Friday, July 11 from 1-5 p.m. at Howard Brown Health Center, 4025 N. Sheridan.

Although Rep. Quigley will be unable to donate because of voting duties in Washington, DC, members of his district staff have volunteered to donate on behalf of members of Chicago's LGBT community. Illinois's 5th District is home to Chicago's Boystown, the first officially recognized gay village in the United States.

Rep. Quigley has long believed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) should revise the FDA policy to match modern science and reflect risky behavior rather than sexual orientation. He first spearheaded the effort in 2010 with then-Sen. John Kerry and continued the push last year, working with U.S. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) to call on HHS to expedite their efforts to reexamine the policy.

The blood banking community, including the American Red Cross and America's Blood Centers, has long-supported a change in the FDA policy.

For more information or locations in your area, visit