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      Equal rights group launches controversial "gay blood drive"

      Equal rights activists are hoping to end the government ban on blood donations from gay men.

      Those activists holding the first gay blood drive on Friday.

      The national event is taking place in 52 cities across the United States, including San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Houston.

      Potential donors who are confirmed "HIV Negative" will be asked to roll up their sleeves and give blood.

      Organizers said they hope this will convince officials to accept donations from gay men.

      The U.S. Food & Drug Administration has refused blood donations from openly gay men for nearly four decades.

      The American Red Cross says it's in need of blood.