Artist sells t-shirts printed with gay men’s blood in protest of blood donation ban

A hand in a latex glove holding a blood sample
Photo: Shutterstock

An artist is selling T-shirts printed with the blood of gay men to protest the FDA’s ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood.

“How to meet horny married dads in your area in a God-honoring way,” the t-shirts say with a picture of a man standing on his head, according to an Instagram post from artist Zain Curtis.

“MADE WITH GAY MEN’S BLOOD*,” the t-shirts say in smaller print.

“*No, really. Printed with ink infused with the blood of gay men. Using screen printing ink from Stuart Semple × Mother’s GAY BLOOD collection. In 1983, the FDA introduced a guideline that effectively banned men who have sex with men from donating blood. A form of this ban remains in place to this day, making the US one of the only countries to continue to ban the donation of gay men’s blood.”


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A post shared by Zain Curtis (@happydevilboy)

Even the tag has a message: “33-46% of HIV infections could be averted in the next decade if sex work was decriminalized.” The tag is likely referring to a 2015 Lancet paper on HIV infection rates among female sex workers based mostly on Asian data.

“Gay men haven’t been able to donate blood since the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s,” said Mother Goods, which produced the acrylic paint with gay men’s blood in it, in a statement. “So we took the FDA’s unwanted blood and did something about it.”

They’re referring to what has come to be known as the “gay blood ban,” or the FDA’s ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men that was established in 1983 in response to AIDS. In 2015, the lifetime ban was reduced to a 12-month ban, so gay and bi men who were celibate for 12 months could donate blood. In 2020, due to a pandemic shortage, the waiting period was reduced to four months.

In some other countries including France and the U.K., eligibility for blood donation isn’t based on sexual orientation but on sexual practices. People with multiple sex partners in the previous four months in France, for example, are barred from donating blood, no matter their sexual orientation.

In November, it was reported that FDA guidelines are currently in the works that would allow gay and bisexual men in monogamous relationships to donate blood without abstaining from sex.

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