With a 40% drop in the UK blood donations over the last decade, the NHS has warned it needs 204,000 new volunteers this year to ensure the nation’s blood stocks are maintained at a ‘safe’ level.
Currently gay men do not have equal rights to save lives. To be able to donate blood gay men must abstain from sex for 12 months whereas heterosexuals can donate blood freely even if they have unprotected sex.
When 1-in-4 Britons will rely on donated blood at some point in their lives, it’s time that the law based the right to donate on behaviour, not sexuality.
Be 1 of the 100,000 signatures needed to pressure the government to review the law.
Together we can #putredback in the rainbow.
#PutRedBack is a social media campaign and interactive art installation that aims to raise awareness of the ban and the unfair guidelines, and to gather support for an online petition calling on the government to reform the guidelines so that they are based on considerations of a person’s sexual behaviour, not their sexual orientation.
“Current blood donation guidelines are based on an outdated notion of safety that targets gay men irrationally,” says Tim Polder from the London-based creative agency Cheil UK who designed the campaign. “Yes, there should be guidelines, but they should be based on the behaviour of all potential donors and not on their sexuality,” he adds.
The #PutRedBack initiative, that also supports the FreedomToDonate campaign, launched a tweet-powered sculpture created in association with Twitter that ran at the London Design Festival last month. The installation took the form of coloured tanks in windows that came together to form a rainbow flag, but the red panel started off empty. Whenever a person used the #PutRedBack hashtag on Twitter, a drop of red fell into the red tank, putting the red back into the rainbow flag.
The FreedomToDonate campaign explains:
“Our belief is simple; those who wish to be able to donate blood, and can do so safely, should be able to donate blood.
Under current guidelines, there are a number of restrictions around who is able to donate blood. This includes a 12 month deferral criterion on those classed as MSM (Men who have sex with Men) and a complete blanket ban on anyone who has ever had sex for money or drugs or ever injected drugs. Scientific advances and new evidence means that such restrictions should be reconsidered in light of the urgent need to maintain our supply of blood. Excluding people who may be able to donate threatens a sufficient supply of blood, something 1 in 4 of us will rely on at some point in our life.”
To sign the petition, please click here.