An unfortunate reminder that gay and bisexual men aren’t equal.
On Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, a gunman took fire at the country festival crowd from an above hotel room, killing 59 people and injuring around 527 others.
Las Vegas police found the gunman dead in his hotel room, along with rounds of ammunition and a huge hoard of weaponry. The FBI claimed the gunman had no links to any terrorist organisations, but this was an act of terrorism, nonetheless.
A video emerged online of country singer Jason Aldean’s performance being ambushed by gunfire. The terrifying footage shows the panic and chaos amongst the crowd, as music quickly turns into screaming.
This is one of the deadliest shootings in modern US history, with many calling once again for gun control laws to be put into place in the United States.
In the aftermath of the shooting, there are hundreds that need medical attention.
As a surge of crowd members arrived at the Sunrise Hospital and Medical Centre located close to the concert venue, needing treatment for their injuries, and in some cases, what proved to be fatalities.
Steve Sisolak, a current candidate for Governor of Las Vegas, posted a plea to Twitter asking for people to donate blood, which was retweeted by the Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman.
However, despite their urge for blood donations, gay and bisexual men are still being prevented from donating blood as a result of old legislation, through fear of being contaminated by HIV or syphilis.
Former NSYNC singer and Las Vegas native Lance Bass tweeted his frustration at the ban: “How is it STILL illegal for gays to donate blood??!! I want to donate and I’m not allowed.”
In the midst of a tragedy like this, it seems even more absurd that gay people can’t donate blood.
Under current United States laws, as in many other countries, if you’re a man who has sex with men (MSM), you cannot donate blood unless you’ve abstained from sex for at least 12 months.
“All US blood collection organisations must follow this federal requirement,” say the American Red Cross under the LGBTQ guidelines section of their website.
Let’s hope that these restrictions are overturned – it’s about time.
For now, our thoughts are with anyone affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas.
Words Jamie Dixon