On June 14, World Blood Donor Day, Mother in New York released their new t-shirt made from the blood of gay male employees to protest the blood donation ban.
The company worked in partnership with LGBT+ health centre, Callen-Lorde, international artist, Stuart Semple and gender-fluid clothing retailer, The Phluid Project, to create the “Blood is Blood” shirt.
Mother worked with Semple to create a unique, custom screen-printing ink. The ink contains the blood of male employees who engage in sex with other men.
In 2015, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood. Ireland lifted the lifetime ban in 2017. The current laws state that men who have not had sex with another man in at least 12 months may be able to donate blood if they meet the other blood donor selection criteria.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute found that only one in two million donations might carry and transmit HIV if given to a patient. It’s more likely to be killed by lightning than acquire HIV from a blood transfusion.
Mother in New York is protesting the gay blood ban with the launch of their new tee by incorporating the blood of men who have sex with men. While the male to male population does have a higher prevalence of HIV, it isn’t the sexual orientation that causes HIV transmission. Often, the Red Cross and other organisations screen blood based on sexual orientation rather than sexual risk. This means that gay and bisexual men are more likely to be denied.
Many countries fight for LGBT+ equality in marriage, education, the workplace, yet continue to keep discriminatory practices in blood donation.
“If the FDA changed their blood donation risk-assessment, it is estimated that 360,600 more men would donate. This potential donation would add an additional 615,300 pints of blood each year which could save more than 1.8 million lives,” according to Mother’s website.
Proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts will be donated to Callen-Lorde to promote health education and wellness in the LGBT+ community. Only 100 will be sold but you can purchase one here.
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