'It was belittling': Yaphank man denied donating plasma because of sexual orientation

A Long Island man who survived COVID-19 and wanted to try to help others by donating his blood plasma says he was turned down because he is gay.

News 12 Staff

Apr 29, 2020, 5:44 PM

Updated 1,546 days ago

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A Long Island man who survived COVID-19 and wanted to try to help others by donating his blood plasma says he was turned down because he is gay.
Ryan Koerber says the coronavirus was a "terrible four-week rollercoaster."
The 22-year-old from Yaphank is better now and has been free of the virus for almost a month.
He says he made an appointment at the New York Blood Center in Port Jefferson Station to donate plasma. His antibodies are wanted by researchers fighting the virus. But when he went on Monday, he says he was told to leave because he's gay.
"It was embarrassing," said Koerber. "It was a little belittling."
On April 2, the FDA eased restrictions on who could donate blood, including gay men. Koerber said he met all the new FDA restrictions but the New York Blood Center still refused.
David Kilmnick from the LBGT Network questioned the Blood Center for not accepting Koerber's donation, and added the FDA's eased restrictions don't go far enough.
He says current extensive blood testing procedures are accurate and that donations should not be restricted based upon sexual orientation.
"It is beyond ridiculous that the government continues to discriminate," said Kilmnick.
The New York Blood Center said it was pleased with the FDA's new guidelines, and in a statement to News 12 said, "We're working to implement the changes as quickly as possible." No specific date was mentioned.
Koerber says he still wants to donate and will go anywhere that will accept him.
"I am just a human being who wants to help other human beings," said Koerber.
For more information on the FDA's eased restrictions, click here.
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