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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Proxy Donor Campaign Takes Aim at Gay Blood Ban

<rleton has decided to take a stand against the FDA’s policy. As a preventative measure to ensure that blood is not contaminated with the HIV virus the FDA has declared that if “you are a male who has had sexual contact with another male, even once, since 1977” you are not allowed to donate blood. They claim that this is not discrimination based on sexual orientation because it is only those who act upon their orientation that are effected by this decision. Carleton has seen the obvious faults in this policy and is taking action.

Russell Peterson has started a campus wide campaign with the support of the GSC in order to protest in a way that still encourages people to donate. This is the proxy donor campaign. Through this people volunteer to donate in the place of those who are ineligible because of the FDA’s rule. So far there have been more than fifty donors at Carleton and this is not just students. Faculty and community members have been jumping at the chance to represent change.

Most other campuses have just protested the blood drives themselves, arguing that until the FDA changes it’s policies they should not donate to an organization that supports discrimination of any type. However, it is not the Red Cross that is in control of these policies. Therefore this proxy donor campaign is a solution that allows for people to continue to donate while still protesting the FDA’s policies.  Freshman Emma Velis stated that this is “a unique opportunity to do a good thing that still protesting something that I take moral issue with”.

On the national level, Senator Elizabeth Warren is heading a national campaign, which she began after receiving a letter after the Boston Bombing from a gay male who wanted to donate to help the victims but was unable due to the FDA. She has been trying to organize a bill ever since and the FDA is meeting in July to discuss whether or not they are going to change their policies. However, in the past they have always defended this policy, even in recent years.

In order to raise more awareness Russell Peterson is planning to extend this program to other schools in the area. Specifically he has been working with St. Olaf in hopes that they too will start a proxy donor campaign on their campus. To help ease other schools transition into the program, Russ has actually written a manual with easy steps that can be taken to start this campaign on this campus. Hopefully this issue will lead to other campaigns across the country.

When ask to comment the Red Cross workers stated “that they do not make the regulations but it is our job to enforce the rules.

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