blood-equalityThe Hammer Museum and the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law will present “Blood Equality,” a panel conversation organized by artist Jordan Eagles to address the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s policy restricting blood donations from gay and bisexual men.

This free admission event, presented in advance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 and in response to the FDA’s new public comment period, takes place at the Hammer Museum from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 22 and will be live streamed online.

In 1983, in an early response to the AIDS crisis, the FDA implemented a lifetime ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men. More than 30 years later, the FDA proposed an updated policy that would allow gay and bisexual men to donate blood, but only if they are celibate for a full year. There is no celibacy requirement for heterosexuals, regardless of their risk for contracting HIV.

A Williams Institute study found that lifting the ban completely could save up to a million lives annually. In July 2016, after the Orlando massacre in which gay and bisexual men were turned away from donating blood; and after much anger from the LGBTQ community over the FDA revised 1-year celibacy policy, the FDA has issued a new public comment period, which ends three days after the Blood Equality program.

The panel is moderated by Mark Joseph Stern, writer from Slate.com, who has been covering the blood ban since 2012.

Panelists include:

— Brad Sears, associate dean and executive director of the Williams Institute, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

— Kelsey Louie, CEO of Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the world’s first organization for HIV/AIDS prevention, care and advocacy. GMHC has been leading the national fight on this issue.

— Jim Halloran, president of TwitterOpen. In November 2015, Twitter canceled its corporate/office blood drives because of the FDA policy, which it deemed discriminatory.

— Jeffrey Klausner, MD, professor of medicine and public health in the UCLA Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Epidemiology.

The Hammer Museum is at 10899 Wilshire Blvd. at Westwood, Los Angeles. Onsite parking is $6 (maximum 3 hours) or a $6 flat rate after 6 p.m. More details can be found online or by calling 310-443-7000.

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