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Banned4Life Holds San Francisco Blood Drive at Rainbow Grocery

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Saturday Feb 22, 2014

In their ongoing effort to highlight the FDA's anti-gay blood donation policy that bars men who have sex with men, regardless of their risk level, the group Banned4Life will hold a blood drive on February 23 at San Francisco's Rainbow Grocery. They will also hold a similar event on March 4 at the University of Massachusetts hosted by the U of Mass Red Cross Club and Stonewall Center.

In September of last year Rainbow Grocery Cooperative decided to host a blood drive at their store after being approached by Fred McFadden, Outreach Coordinator for Blood Centers of the Pacific.

When some worker-owners realized that some of Rainbow's gay male workers would potentially be discriminated against if they tried to donate blood, Rainbow looked into opportunities to provide a more inclusive blood-based event with the same goal of collecting as many life-saving blood donations as possible.

"I am personally committed to the importance of blood donation so didn't want to cancel the drive," said Destin Morris of Rainbow's Public Relations Committee. "I began by researching the current MSM ban and quickly found what felt like the perfect opportunity for partnership in Blake Lynch's Banned 4 Life organization. This year our February 23 event will be even bigger through the exciting additions of and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, in an attempt to collect more blood and raise more awareness."

Using, Banned4Life has launched a petition that calls on the FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg M.D, and the Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of Health and Human Services to revise the FDA ban in light of modern blood screening methods currently in place. The petition has already collected more than 6,000 signatures. is an online campaigning platform empowers people who support a common cause to take collective action. Causes members have raised over $48M for nonprofits, collected 34M signatures for grassroots campaigns, and organized thousands of awareness campaigns. Since launching in 2007, Causes has helped over 186M people in 156 countries connect with their cause.

The Banned4Life advocates for the removal of the FDA's policy that permanently bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood. Blake Lynch started the organization after he was turned away from donating blood for his friend Emmy Derisburn who suffers from sickle cell anemia.

Rainbow Grocery is a vegetarian food store serving San Francisco and the Bay Area since 1975. The worker-owned cooperative strives to offer the widest selection of organic and locally source products at the most affordable prices and is a resource for the community to exchange information about the health and sustainability of the foods we put on our table. Over 250 people currently work at Rainbow Grocery, a non-hierarchical, democratic workplace where everyone's opinion matters. For more information, visit:

To show support for ending the ban individuals are encouraged to donate blood or sign the petition at

The Banned4Life Blood Drive will be held from noon-4 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Rainbow Grocery, 1745 Folsom Street in San Francisco. For more information, visit or

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


  • , 2014-02-25 03:45:00

    Hazardous deviants won’t be satisfied until they are infecting good people with their HIV filth. The incubation time for HIV can be months, even years. Get used to the ban, its here to stay for logical and scientific reasons. Didn’t you know there are consequences for your deviant lifestyle?

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