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Artist Uses Gay Men’s Blood to Protest a Discriminatory FDA Policy

by Rafi Schwartz

June 18, 2015
image via youtube screen capture

Since the early 80s, the Food and Drug Administration, citing fears of HIV infection, has effectively banned gay and bisexual men from donating blood. It’s a policy that has, for decades now, been blasted as being both discriminatory and unnecessary. Since 2006, even organizations like the American Red Cross, and other blood-donation service providers, have begun characterizing the policy as scientifically unnecessary and outdated. Recently, even the FDA itself has considered revising their ban to allow for donations from gays and bisexual men, providing the donor has been celibate for 12 months. 

It’s progress, yes, but for many, it’s imperfect progress at a frustrating, unacceptably slow pace. 

Out of this frustration comes “Blood Mirror,” a massive sculpture created by artist Jordan Eagles. As its title suggests, the piece uses actual blood donated by nine gay, bisexual, and transgender men from all walks of life. Videographer Leo Herrera was on hand throughout the sculpture’s creation, documenting not only how the piece took shape, but the men who—literally—spilled their blood to make it happen.

The micro-doc was released last week ahead of World Blood Donor Day, which fell on June 14th. It encourages viewers to share their thoughts with the FDA regarding the proposed lifting of the donation ban, conditional upon a year of celibacy. 

It is ultimately unclear whether the FDA will adopt a new, less-restrictive policy, and if that will then lead to a full reversal of the ban on gay and bisexual donations. Thanks, however, to artists like Jordan Eagles and Leo Herrera, and works like “Blood Mirror,” the world knows there are those out there willing to bleed in the hopes of one day being given an equal opportunity to help others in need.

[via newnownext]

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Artist Uses Gay Men’s Blood to Protest a Discriminatory FDA Policy