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Peter Tatchell highlights the discrimination gay men face with regard to donating blood

LGBT+ activist Peter Tatchell is urging governments and blood services worldwide to allow gay men to donate blood as part of the 'Screen the blood, not the sexuality' campaign ahead of the World Blood Donor Day 2018 on 14 June.

The campaign created by McCann London features a satirical video where a security guard positioned infront of the Blood Donation Center is trying to screen men trying to enter the Center with his 'Gaydr', a pseudo “gay detector” device. The spoof Gaydr scan informed them that they were actually gay and not allowed to donate blood.

In England, gay and bisexual men are not permitted to give blood if they have had oral or anal sex with a man – even with a condom and even just once – in the preceding three months.

As part of the campaign, a series of Gaydr devices will be sent to influencers and key figures.

A UCLA study from 2014 estimated that lifting the restrictions on blood donations from gay and bisexual men in the US could increase the country’s blood supply by 615,000 pints per year.

Laurence Thomson, chief creative officer and co-president at McCann London said: “People’s reactions to the video, captured on film, range from horror to humour, disbelief to dismay. The point of the video is to highlight the absurdity of the sweeping restrictions and the generalisations about gay and bisexual men on which they are based.

“Our aim is to support efforts to reduce the prejudiced restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men and to help patients in need by boosting global blood supplies."

Peter Tatchell, director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said: “It is absurd that medically needless restrictions preventing so many gay and bisexual men from donating blood are in place across so many countries. Some men who have sex with men are at risk of HIV. Others are not.

"We need to stop stereotyping and marginalising the gay and bisexual communities and start securing more blood to save more lives. Let’s start screening sexual behaviour and the blood, not the sexuality.”

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