Straight man told he can’t donate blood because he ‘appears’ gay

A heterosexual man from Gary, Ind., was told he could not donate blood because he “appear(ed) to be a homosexual.”

Aaron Pace, 22, said after undergoing the usual interview and screening procedures at Bio-Blood Components Inc., he was told that he was unqualified to donate blood because his “looks, character and behavior” made him “appear” gay.

Pace told local media he was “humiliated and embarrassed” by the experience.

“It’s not right that homeless people can give blood but homosexuals can’t,” he said. “And I’m not even a homosexual.”

A Food and Drug Administration policy enacted in 1983 prohibits all men who have ever had sex with another man – even once – from donating blood. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services decided last year to leave the policy in place.

“(The policy) is unfair, outrageous and just plain stupid,” said Curt Ellis, former director of The Aliveness Project of Northwest Indiana. “The policy is based on the stigma associated with HIV that existed early on. It seems like some stigmas will just never die.”

All blood is now routinely tested for HIV, which can also be transmitted between heterosexuals and people who share needles.