ATEC - Episode 28: Ending the Blood Donation Deferral Period for Gay Men ft. Lukus Estok

Episode 28: Ending the Blood Donation Deferral Period for Gay Men featuring Lukus Estok

As a coronavirus survivor, Lukus Estok was proud to be able to donate his blood plasma to help search for a cure to Covid-19.


Because the FDA had announced on April 2, 2020, it was updating its guidelines on blood donations from gay men, decreasing the abstinence period for men who had sex with other men from 12 months to 3 months to better meet the demand for blood during the coronavirus pandemic, Lukus was cleared to donate. Abstinent for 3 months, he arrived at the hospital for his appointment eager to contribute his plasma for antibody studies and proud to finally be treated like every other blood donor but was turned away because he was gay. Lukus’ story soon got picked up by Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and The Daily Show and he has found himself very publicly speaking about who he is and why the FDA needs to take a closer look at their blood-donation deferral period for gay men.

In this episode Lukus, a returning guest from bonus episode 3, Surviving Coronavirus, joins Ronit to talk about his donation experience, using his newfound platform to effect change and share some very good news.



I’m a writer, a teacher, a native New Yorker, and I love hearing about people’s lives. When I think back to my elementary school days at PS 20 in Flushing, Queens whenever we began social studies or a history lesson I wasn’t that interested in learning about battles, topography, or politics. What I wanted to know was how people lived: What their families were like, how they adapted to their circumstances, what they ate, how they celebrated, how they felt.
Sociology became my major at Binghamton University and in my life so far I’ve been an actress, a salesperson, a Zoo Keeper’s Aid, a volunteer animal trainer, an ELL teacher, a mother, and a wife. I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had, all of which led me to create this podcast which is one of the most rewarding projects I’ve undertaken. I couldn’t ask for a better job than having in-depth conversations with survivors, thought leaders, authors, social justice warriors, and people who believe that we are all connected and then getting to share their stories, insight, and vulnerability with listeners.
I’m so glad you’ve landed on this page. I hope you find stories here which resonate with you and that you’ll tune in every week. 
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ATEC (Episode 10) (ATEC Pin 3)