This portrait of Alan Turing was recreated using gay men’s blood
An artist has created a portrait of Alan Turing using gay men’s blood – as part of the campaign calling for a review of the UK’s laws on gay blood donations.
Currently in England, Wales and Scotland, men who have sex with men are banned from giving blood unless they abstain from sex for 12 months. In Northern Ireland, a permanent ban remains in place.
Activists have long called for a review of the rules, given the adoption of systems based on individual risk in a number of other countries.
This week, artist Conor Collins teamed up with FreedomToDonate to unveil a portrait of gay codebreaker Alan Turing, which was painted using gay men’s blood.
Conor Collins, the artist behind the piece, explained: “Alan Turing was an incredible figure who gave so much.
“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.”
Embarrassing Bodies host Dr Christian Jessen, who is backing the campaign, added: “From a medical point of view, there is no reason why the deferral period for gay and bisexual men is set at 12 months.
“It’s been 5 years since the Government’s advisory body last looked at this policy and much has changed in the way of screening capabilities and effectiveness
“1 in 4 of us will need a blood transfusion at some point in our lives and in light of that and medical advancements, I’m proud to be backing this brilliant campaign calling for a review of this policy.”
Ethan Spibey of FreedomToDonate said: “Someone saved my Grandad’s life when they donated blood. I want to repay that favour but the current guidelines mean I can’t.
“It’s time to reconsider who can safely make this life saving gesture, it’s time for the FreedomToDonate.”
Watch a clip below: