Manchester artist has Conor Collins created an incredible portrait of the iconic codebreaker and “father of modern computing” Alan Turing, using only the blood of gay men.
But why? Conor Collins painted the amazing, albeit controversial, portrait to raise awareness for Freedom To Donate Week – a UK based campaign to aimed at getting current regulations on gay blood donation reviewed to be more inclusive.
Celebrity physician, Dr Christian Jessen was at the unveiling of the portrait of Alan Turing – the genius codebreaker who was prosecuted and chemically castrated for homosexual acts in 1952.
Currently in the UK, MSM (men who have sex with men) are subject to a 12 month ban on donating blood. Previously, they were subject to a lifetime ban before the regulations were relaxed in 2011. At the time, Stonewall UK called the change “a step in the right direction” but added, “A gay man in a monogamous relationship who has only had oral sex will still automatically be unable to give blood – but a heterosexual man who has had multiple partners and not worn a condom will not be questioned about his behaviour, or even then, excluded.”
At the unveiling of the portrait, the artist commented, “Countless people want to do something amazing by donating blood, but are unable to. They’re our friends, our neighbours, nurses and doctors; yet they cannot help. It’s time to look again at this policy.”
Freedom To Donate has started a petition to the government to review the ban. Currently it has over 40,000 signatures.
Currently in Ireland, men who have sex with men are subject to a lifetime ban on blood donation.
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