Three weeks ago James Costos, the openly gay U.S ambassador to Spain, did something in Madrid that he can't do in the United States: He donated blood.
Spain lifted its ban on gay and bisexual men giving blood, something the U.S. is under pressure to do this year.
In a Instagram from April, Costos is seen giving the thumbs up with one hand, with his other arm wrapped in a tourniquet.
“I joined Team U.S. Embassy Madrid donating blood," Costos wrote. "Please join us, it feels good to give…trust me! Gracias.”
He followed his message with "#cruzroja," Spanish for the Red Cross.
The account belongs to Costos and Michael S. Smith, his partner for more than 15 years. Costos, a key Obama fundraiser, was HBO's vice president for global licensing and retail before being appointed ambassador in 2013.
A spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, that Costos donated last year as well, and hoped to "raise public awareness of the need for blood donors in Spain, and encourage others to do the same.”
Stateside, the Food and Drug Administration is considering lifting the lifetime ban to one year of abstinence—but critics call the change insulting and pointless.
In contrast, donors in Spain—as well as in France, Italy and South Africa—are screened based on individual risk factors like unsafe sex and the number of partners, rather than sexual orientation.