Lifestyle

Gay man calls out ‘homophobic’ blood ban in passionate video: ‘Let me not mix up my words’

Danai Nesta Kupemba May 3, 2022
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Scott O'Halloran was filmed by his brother. (TikTok/Luke O'Halloran)

In a viral TikTok video, a gay man slammed the Australian Red Cross for its discriminatory policy on queer men donating blood.

Luke O’Halloran, who goes by the username @lukeeeohallloran, filmed his brother Scott O’Halloran tearing into the Australian Red Cross.

At the start of the clip, which has been liked more than 90,000 times, Luke tells his brother that he has “booked in next Thursday to give blood”.

“Are you trying to p**s me off?” Scott asks.

Realising that he’s being filmed, Scott adds: “Let me not mix up my words. The Red Cross are today’s modern-day homophobic organisation

“It’s a privilege for you to be able to give blood because you are not gay and I am.”

He adds: “I could save somebody’s sick child’s life by donating my blood, but because I have sex with a man I am not allowed to.”

He said that the policy is not only homophobic but also “hurtful”.

@lukeeohalloran

Watch my brother go from 0 to 100 🩸 @scottoscotto @Australian Red Cross Lifeblood #brother #family #gay #fyp #blood #donateblood

♬ original sound – Luke O’Halloran

The Australian Red Cross’s Lifeblood branch is responsible for the collection and distribution of blood and other donations in Australia, and is funded by the government.

Under its guidelines, men who have had sex with other men in the past three months cannot donate blood. Until 2020 the deferral period was 12 months.

The same policy applies to people who have had sex with a man they believe may have slept with another man, sex workers, people who have had sex with sex workers, and people who have had sex with intravenous drug users or people living with HIV or hepatitis B or C.

Lifeblood has been urged to relax its policy, in line with other countries such as the UK, which in June dropped its three-month policy in favour of a system of individual risk assessment for all donors, regardless of sexuality.

Just Equal Australia told The Guardian the policy is “outdated, stigmatising and counterproductive”.

Amid blood donation shortages due to the pandemic, other countries such as IsraelGreece, France and Canada have also relaxed their policies.

In a statement, a spokesperson from the Australian Red Cross said its policy is in place to avoid exposure to HIV, as its data reports that 67 per cent of new diagnoses are from men who have sex with men.

The spokesperson said: “We know that gay and bisexual men in declared monogamous relationships are a low risk, but as a group they are still at a higher risk of exposure than people in heterosexual relationships.”

More: blood ban, tiktok

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