Hundreds of gay men wanting to give blood after the Orlando nightclub shooting have been turned away. Federal law states that blood centers cannot accept donations from gay men who have been sexually active in the past year. The shooting on Sunday morning left 50 people dead and 53 injured. The killer, Omar Mateen, 29, used a semi-automatic assault rifle in what is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Mateen, a New York native, targeted the LGBT community at the club. He was supposedly angry at seeing two men kissing in Miami.
Many in the LGBT community want the federal policy of barring gay men from donating blood changed. Dr Ryan Stanton said donated blood is tested for HIV and other diseases before it is used. The testing process usually takes about 24 hours. He said: "Anybody who meets the basic qualifications…should be able to donate blood." The Atlantic said: "Even after the most deadly act against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in American history, the built-in homophobia of American public health keeps the country from [organizing] the most effective possible response."