After a year of celibacy, a 22-year-old gay man was allowed to donate his blood in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the donor is trying to raise awareness of the FDA's longtime donation policy for gay and bisexual men, which he calls "antiquated."
Jordan Moll-Vigrass says it has been challenging, but he remained abstinent for a full year so he could donate blood. Moll-Vigrass attended the Gay Alliance Blood Drive at the American Red Cross headquarters on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo Wednesday.
In 2015 he was turned away as a blood donor because he is openly gay. That’s when he founded the organization "Blood is Blood." Since then, the FDA amended its 1983 policy which placed lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men.
That was a time of the AIDS epicdmic and little was understood. Now, there is a 12-month deferral. A gay or bisexual male will be allowed to donate if they don’t have sex with another man for one year.
“There is a lot of stigma with blood donations and gay and bisexual men,” said Moll-Vigrass. This past year has been really hard. Remaining celibate or asking anyone to remain celibate is very hard, especially someone at 22 years old. I’ve had to cut off relationships and things like that so I wouldn’t get put in a predicament where I would ruin my year of celibacy.”
Moll-Vigrass has stage three fatty liver disease and says at some point he would probably need a transplant and need for blood donations. He points out that donated blood is tested for HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases before it is accepted and released for use at hospitals.
“There’s been times that I felt very isolated because I had to sort of keep myself distance from people I may of had feelings just because I wanted to remain celibate and how important it was to me,” explained Moll-Vigrass.
Moll-Vigrass' effort is now spreading to a national audience. This weekend he will travel to Virginia Beach for a blood drive with the "Old Dominion Girls of Leather" to spark conversation and continue to push for change.