Dating back to a policy enacted during the height of the AIDS crisis, for three decades men who have sex with men (MSM) have been banned from giving blood in the United States. As science has improved and practices have been adopted to screen all donations for diseases like HIV, that gay and bisexual men have remained blacklisted has continued to spark outrage over the discriminatory practice, triggering an array of protests. Last year, the FDA announced plans to scrap lifetime bans, instead proposing a policy that would allow for MSM donors who have not had sex for a period of 12 months to give—a "change" that, in effect, means sexually active gay and bisexual men are still banned.
Earlier this year, artist Jordan Eagles created Blood Mirror, a piece of art made using blood from a curated selection of men, as a form of protest and a means to spark debate. Next week, it will help fuel a panel discussion on the ongoing bloodban at its current home, American University.
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"Blood Illuminated," which takes place on October 6, will be an evening of discussion, art, and music. Slate Editor Mark Joseph Stern will chair a panel debate with experts Professor I. Glenn Cohen, Scott Schoettes, and Kelsie Louis. There will also be a performance by the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C. This is a free event, open to the public, and more information can be found on the event's Facebook page.
To learn more about Blood Mirror, watch the video below: