LGBT+ fans of HBO series Game of Thrones have been left disappointed by a new competition which encourages viewers to donate blood – but leaves out gay fans.

As a part of the show’s marketing campaign for its eighth season, Game of Thrones is asking fans to “Bleed for the Throne” by giving blood to the American Red Cross. In return, fans get a limited edition t-shirt and are entered into a competition to attend the eighth season’s premiere, reports The Daily Beast.



The Red Cross has a provision in place for fans who are not eligible to donate blood, where they can get in touch via email to enter. However, this will still not allow gay and bisexual Game of Thrones fans full access to the competition, as they will still not be able to get the t-shirt.

Federal policy stops gay and bisexual men from donating blood

The American Red Cross is unable to accept blood donations from men who have sex with men (MSM) due to a federal policy first introduced in 1983 which banned them from giving blood.

In 2015, that was amended to allow gay and bisexual men to give blood after 12 months of abstaining from sexual activity with other men.

“Good show too bad I have HIV and cannot participate in contest.”

Game of Thrones fan on Twitter

The policy also prohibits women who have had sex with a bisexual man in the last 12 months from giving blood.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, one gay fan said the contest was “a bummer” as it was “a really great prize, but you can’t have it because you’re gay.”

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When the official Game of Thrones Twitter account posted about the competition, a number of LGBT+ fans questioned the campaign, pointing out that gay and bisexual men would be left out.

LGBT Game of Thrones fans excluded from blood donation contest
Game of Thrones (YouTube)

One fan responded: “Good show too bad I have HIV and cannot participate in contest, if your [sic] not allowed to donate blood how can u participate in contest?”

Another fan said the campaign was “cool” but said the show was “alienating a huge portion” of its fanbase by excluding those who cannot give blood.

Another Twitter user simply said: “Too bad I’m gay so I’m not allowed to give blood.”

HBO and Red Cross respond to Game of Thrones controversy

HBO and the Red Cross issued a joint statement to The Daily Beast where they said that fans who cannot donate blood could still attend the immersive experience at SXSW this weekend. They said that they would be able to wait in a “standby” line.

’m not allowed to give blood.”

Game of Thrones fan on Twitter

The ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood was originally put in place to prevent people contracting HIV through blood donation. It has garnered much criticism from LGBT+ people.

The eighth season of Game of Thrones will be its final airing and will debut on 14 April. The show has garnered critical acclaim over the course of its eight seasons.




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