Sen. Cory Booker Will ‘Absolutely’ Work to Lift Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood

By Melanie Arter | October 11, 2019 | 11:35am EDT
(Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

( – The Food and Drug Administration requires gay men to wait one year after having sex to donate blood, but Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he wants to change that.

During CNN’s presidential town hall on LGBTQ equality on Thursday, Booker was asked, “Many people have no idea that for decades, gay men were permanently deferred from donating blood in the U.S. because of outdated draconian regulations not supported by science. The FDA has only recently reduced the ban to one year after intercourse.


Gay folks should never be discriminated against, but it's particularly painful when our community wants to help after a disaster or a mass shooter targeting our community as in the case with Pulse. Will you commit to working with the FDA to remove this harmful ban?” asked Geno Mahalik, who works for UCLA student affairs with a focus on student health.

“Two words, absolutely yes,” Booker said, “and one statement. When you’re president of the United States, you have to set the tone and the temperature. We should be using our platforms, the new generation of presidents,” Booker said.



“We see a president every day that’s using his platform in unorthodox ways to demean, to degrade, to put out misinformation and outright lies. If I'm your president, as the first X-gener in that office every, I'm going to be using my platforms every day to dispel ignorances, to challenge people to have a more courageous empathy, to create a more revival of civic grace,” he said.

“That's why even on this campaign I've gone out and been tested for HIV, trying to get rid of the kind of stigmas that still undermine this society. We have a whole lot of truth telling to do in this country, and we've got a lot of work to do to pull out of the shadows people who are often relegated, their struggles, their injustices,” Booker said.

“We've just seen yet another black transgender American murdered in this country just last month. This makes the 19th this year. The suffering of so many people in the LGBTQ community, the truth about them is shrouded in the ignorance and hate that we see in this world,” the senator said.

“So not only am I going to change policies, change laws, get an activist department of justice, but I'm going to be using my platform every day to tell the truth, to heal, to bring the truth forward to solve that we can be a nation that is far more progressive on these issues,” Booker said.


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