Minnesota men are expected to attempt to donate blood Friday as part of the first-ever National Gay Blood Drive.
For decades the federal government has banned blood donation by men who have sex with men. Now some of them want to show the Food and Drug Administration how much blood would be collected if they were allowed to donate.
The drive is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Memorial Blood Centers' St. Paul Donor Center at 737 Pelham Boulevard.The Minnesota AIDS project will have a mobile rapid HIV testing unit on hand.
Local organizer Zachary Fincher, of Crystal, says men with negative tests will try to donate blood to show the ban is outdated and discriminatory.
"When I had my hips replaced, I got three pints of blood myself. So I'm thankful for whomever they came from, so I know it's needed," he said.
Memorial Blood Center says it has urged the FDA to amend the ban, but for now it follows federal standards.