A unique t-shirt will soon go on sale where the ink used will feature the blood of gay men. The decision to feature the custom screen-printed ink is to protest the blood donation ban in the United States that sees members of the LGBTQ+ community discriminated.
The Blood is Blood t-shirt is a collaboration between creative company Mother, artist Stuart Semple, gender-neutral retailer The Phluid Project, and New York LGBTQ+ service provider the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.
According to US federal law, the blood of men who have had sex with men within the last twelve months deemed to be “too risky” to donate. The Blood is Blood website said: “due to the stigma of another era, members of the community can’t be proud of their own blood.” In the UK, laws were recently relaxed from men who have sex with other men being able to donate twelve months after they last had sexual intercourse to three months.
To create the special ink, Mother employees who identify as gay donated their blood to the project. British artist Stuart Semple then created the custom screen-printing ink. Sold online on The Phluid Project, the t-shirts are limited to a run of just 100 and proceeds from the sale of the t-shirts will be donated to the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center to help promote health education and wellness across the LGBTQ+ community.
The front of the t-shirt reads “This shirt is printed with the blood of gay men,” whilst the back quotes the current guidelines from the US Food and Drug Administration regarding gay men’s blood.
The Blood is Blood campaign argues that by relaxing laws prohibiting the donation of blood from gay men, then lives could be saved.
If the FDA changed its risk-assessment, it is estimated that an additional 360,600 men would likely donate 615,300 additional pints of blood each year, possibly saving the lives of more than 1.8 million people.