PRIDE Week at the University of Louisville is an annual celebration of LGBT culture. This year, PRIDE Week runs from Sept. 21 to Sept. 26 with activities on both the Belknap and Health Sciences Center campuses.
During the Monday HSC event hosted by the School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) Student Government Association, UofL LGBT Center and the American Red Cross, faculty, staff and students can give blood in the Abell Administration Building rooms 109 and 110. There also will be a tent set up on the Medical School Plaza where those interested can sign a petition to abolish FDA MSM77, the blood donation deferral policy. Visitors can enjoy refreshments, receive a free t-shirt and take part in a raffle to win a Bobby Petrino autographed football.
“This lifetime deferral unfairly stigmatizes and discriminates against a large portion of the LGBT community, and keeps many healthy, would-be donors from giving blood – creating a negative impact on the nation’s blood supply,” said Dustin Scott, event organizer and School of Public Health and Information Sciences MPH student. “The FDA policy, established in 1983 after the onset of the AIDS epidemic, is outdated and needs to be abolished.”
“As a leading institution of public health, we want to continuously evaluate national public health policy to optimize the ability to provide exceptional health for all of our citizens with maximum participation in the process. The concern and initiative that the students of the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville have shown on the MSM 77 lifetime deferral policy is an excellent example of a diverse grassroots effort to change government policy to improve health in the United States,” said Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, dean, SPHIS.
Scott gave blood on a regular basis until his status as a MSM prevented him from continuing to do so.
“My parents were once in a car accident and donated blood saved their lives. This is why I am so passionate about blood donation, and I encourage friends, colleagues, family, and even strangers to donate blood in my place,” Scott said.
Scott plans to present research along with the signed petition to the FDA. He is working with medical student Mellad Khoshnood and professor of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery and Bioengineering, George Pantalos, PhD, to provide an analysis of the effectiveness of the MSM blood donation ban. The team has contacted the 20 countries that spend the most on health care per capita, and has asked for their stance on the MSM donor policy, prevalence of HIV, demographics of those affected, frequency of transfusion of HIV infections, blood screening processes and changes made to their MSM donor policy in the last 10 years.
“We are learning that countries such as the UK have modified bans, such that after an individual engages in risky sexual activity they are deferred from donating blood for one year to allow for diseases that have prolonged dormant periods to present – we support that,” Scott said. “Our petition to the FDA asks them to rescind the lifetime deferral policy for a more reasonable policy that will permit healthy gay men to contribute to the needs of our society as blood donors.”
“At the LGBT Center, we love connecting students, faculty and the community around us to emerging health issues like this one, and bridging classroom topics with real-world issues. The HSC Pride student group expands our capacity to raise awareness and make novel connections to health issues spanning our various disciplines. I’m excited to see them fostering such interprofessional connections and engaging the community,” said Stacie Steinbock, director, LGBT Center Health Science Center satellite office.
For more information about the HSC Pride Drive contact HSC Pride student group president Dustin Scott firstname.lastname@example.org or LGBT Center Director, Stacie Steinbock email@example.com.
The UofL PRIDE Week schedule is as follows:
September 21-26: Pride Week Display honoring 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Ekstrom Library, 1st Floor, East Wing.
Sunday Sept. 21: Rainbow Brunch, UofL Cultural Center, 11:30 a.m., followed by the Louisville AIDS Walk.
Monday, Sept. 22:
- Belknap Campus Pride Week Cookout, Red Barn and West Plaza, noon to 2 p.m. Event will include a flag raising ceremony honoring the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
- HSC Campus Blood Drive, 323 E. Chestnut St., 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Poetry Matters: A Craft Talk with Richard Blanco, Chao Auditorium, 3 p.m.
- Richard Blanco Keynote Address, Student Activities Center, Multi-Purpose Room, 7 p.m. Event will include readings, Q&A, book sales by Carmichaels and signings.
Tuesday, Sept. 23:
- WERK IT!: Career Exploration and Preparation for LGBTQ+ Students Panel Discussion, SAC, Campus Visit Room-W310B, Noon. Free lunch.
- Queer Mindfulness: UofL Cultural Center, Multipurpose Room, 3 p.m.
- Masculinity/Femininity documentary film and dialogue: Floyd Theatre, 6 p.m.
Wednesday Sept. 24
- HIV Testing Free and Confidential, Health Promotion Office in Student Services Annex, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Affirming Interfaith Service and Lunch, UofL Interfaith Center, 11:30 a.m.
- HSC Medical Education Grand Rounds: A Leader’s Role in Addressing LGBT Health, Kornhauser Auditorium, Noon.
Thursday Sept. 25
- Pride Week Cookout, Health Sciences Center Courtyard, 11:30 a.m.
- The Arguments of Serious People: A Roundtable on Kentucky’s Marriage Equality Cases, Brandeis School of Law, Room 275, 12:50 p.m.
- Spanish Language SpeakOut, Chao Auditorium, 3 p.m. “Contracorriente (Undertow),” Reel Latin America: 21st Latin American Film Festival; Floyd Theatre, 7 p.m.
Friday Sept. 26:
- Exploring Intersections of Identities for LGBT Students of Color, UofL Cultural Center, Noon.
- Health Sciences Center Networking Night Free Drag Show. PLAY Dance Bar, 7 to 9 p.m.
- Pride Mic! Open Mic and Closing Celebration, 7 to 9 p.m., Red Barn
Saturday Sept. 27:
“El Niño Pez (The Child Fish),” Reel Latin America: 21st Latin American Film Festival, Strickler 102, 7 p.m.