Watch: This spoof ‘gaydar’ test of blood donors highlights the difficulty of being gay and giving blood
A campaign to legalise blood donation for sexually active gay men in the UK has enlisted the use of a gay detector to mock “absurd” limits around the restrictive laws.
In England, gay and bisexual men cannot 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.
In a spoof ad to highlight the restriction, a security guard is seen “testing” men who walk into a blood donor clinic with a “gaydr” to turn them away from the clinic.
Men “tested” by the device are captured swearing in exasperation because they can’t enter the clinic, with others perplexed over the rules imposed upon them by the stunt plastic gun.
“These restrictions may have made sense when first enforced in the 1980s at a time when HIV was primarily affecting gay and bisexual men in the West and when HIV testing methods were less accurate,” said LGBT+ rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who is behind the video.
“But long ago HIV ceased to be allied to any particular sexual orientation and the testing of donated blood is now very exhaustive and accurate,” he continued.
“It is time that blood banks worldwide focused more on identifying and exluding individuals who’ve enaged in high risk behavior – regardless of whether they are gay or straight – instead of making assumptions that all gay and bisexual men are high risk of HIV. Most gay and bisexual men do not have HIV and will never have HIV,” he added.
In more than 40 countries, gay men are restricted from giving blood.
Although the laws to donate blood were relaxed from a year’s abstinence to a three month abstinence period in the UK at the end of 2017, campaigners believe that the restrictions “stereotype and marginalise the gay and bisexual communities.”
“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.”
The Peter Tatchell Foundation’s petition to legalise blood donations can be found here.