In Orlando, Thousands Lined Up to Give Blood. But Gay Men Weren't Allowed.

Thousands of Florida residents formed long lines around blood centers in Orlando, Florida after an urgent call for donations in the wake of the worst mass shooting in US history.

Yet many are expressing anger over the federal government's continuing ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. 

The ban began in 1983, yet President Obama’s administration has made only very slow changes to the rule, including allowing gay and bisexual men to donate blood if they have been celibate for one year.

The ban is keeping gay men from helping their friends and family who may have been victims of today's attack, which occurred during LGBT Pride Month.

Rumors on social media suggested that the FDA rules against gay/bi men making blood donations had been lifted today. In a 12:48 PM Tweet, Orlando's OneBlood denied those rumors were true:

In June 2013, the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a statement calling on the FDA to change the policy, stating that "The lifetime ban on blood donation for men who have sex with men is discriminatory and not based on sound science."

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