‘Drop Dead Diva’ tackles FDA ban on biological donations by gay menTop Highlights, Around the Nation Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
Lifetime Television’s hit series Drop Dead Diva will address the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on biological donations by gay men in an upcoming episode.
Drop Dead Diva is a one-hour, comedic drama tells the story of a shallow wannabe model who dies in a sudden accident only to find her soul resurfacing in the body of a brilliant, plus-size and recently deceased attorney, Jane Bingum, played by Brooke Elliott. She then learns about personal acceptance and good deeds by taking on legal cases that allow her to be selfless while advancing social justice.
In season 4’s episode 11 of the show, titled Family Matters, a man who is fighting for visitation rights of his biological child sees his chances of caring for his son drastically reduced based on the fact that he is a gay man who donated sperm. The episode highlights the 2005 FDA ban on donations of sperm by gay men, citing intercourse between two men as a “risk for sexually transmitted diseases.”
Commenting on the episode Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) President Herndon Graddick said, “The creators of Drop Dead Diva have once again used their platform to shed light on injustices that require greater attention. Storytellers and television have a powerful ability to help enact social change by first reaching people through entertainment. This episode demonstrates how unfair this outdated and biased ban really is.”
Openly gay Drop Dead Diva creator and executive producer Josh Berman said, “On this Sunday’s episode, Tyler Jacob Moore (Shameless) plays Dan Abraham, a gay man who is arrested for donating sperm. Most people don’t realize it, but, in America, it’s illegal for a man to donate sperm if he’s had sex with another man during the past five years. The reason for the rule is ostensibly to keep the sperm banks free of HIV. That being said, modern testing is extremely effective in identifying HIV shortly after infection. In truth, the only basis for the FDA restriction is homophobia.”
Other FDA cited risk factors leading to a ban on donations include IV drug use and prostitution. The FDA also prohibits gay men – who have had sex with another man since 1977 – from donating blood. The ban on blood donations has been in place since 1983 and was upheld in November 2010.
The episode of Drop Dead Diva will air Sunday, Aug. 19 at 9/8c on Lifetime.
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