Giving In Someone Else's Name: National Gay Blood Drive

Jul 11, 2014

Today, Atlanta was one of 60 cities participating in the National Gay Blood Drive. For this event, gay and bisexual men prohibited from donating blood asked a someone to give in their place. 

Josh Miley is a graphic designer in Atlanta, and he donated blood for his friend Robbie Medwed who isn’t allowed to donate because of an FDA lifetime ban on men who have had sex with other men since 1977.

Medwed is the assistant director of the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity. He said he posted on Facebook to find a volunteer and he was overwhelmed with the response. In the end, he chose Miley and was touched by the donation. 

“To have somebody else literally give a part of themselves to save someone else’s life in my name really is very meaningful,” Medwed said.  

The blood drive took place throughout the day. Officials with the event said 38 of the 50 time slots were booked.

Ben Nicoara organized the drive and said he hopes this increases awareness and surprises others who didn’t know about the ban.

“And that shock will be a call to action for them to want to give blood and to want to sign the petition, want to take a picture, want to be a part of this," Nicoara said. "Because it’s a big deal. It’s happening all across country we’re expecting hundreds maybe thousands of people.”  

Nicoara said signed petitions and photos from the blood drive will be sent to the FDA in hopes of overturning the ban. 

Atlanta was the only Georgia city that participated in  the National Gay Blood Drive.