Blood: It’s In You To Give. You know, unless you’re gay. Then you can just keep that to yourself.
It’s Canadian Blood Services National Blood Donor Week, and they’ve trotted out the Blood Signal to tell Canadians hospitals are desperate for blood. The Blood Signal is a call to action that you too can come to the rescue like a superhero. And like a superhero, it’s quite the controversy if your potential blood donors are gay.
It’s not just gay; any man who’s had sexual contact with another man since 1977 has a lifetime ban against donating blood: a practice that other countries have moved away from, and that many in the medical community have declared unscientific.
Blood donations are always in short supply; it’s a necessity, and everyone should strongly consider donating blood. But Canadian Blood Services bans potential donors based not on science, or risky behaviour even. Because to Canadian Blood Services all man-on-man sex is risky on account of all the AIDS, and, you know, it’s gross.
So when they announced a campaign to photobomb using the Blood Signal, I photobombed Canadian Blood Services itself. But I was worried that people might get the wrong idea. I went around Calgary to various gay venues and decided to share what this campaign really says:
The Blood Signal is a call to save lives, but the people here can avert their eyes. Gay clubs, bars, and stores? Forget it. It’s not about saving lives, or healthy donors. In fact we can exclude whole segments wanting to stand up and help people. So if you’re the type to frequent these establishments don’t worry: the Blood Signal is not for you.
But we really need blood donors. For realsies.