Mother and Stuart Semple's Latest Project Brings Attention To FDA Ban On Gay Blood
by Rudy Sanchez on 09/13/2022 | 2 Minute Read
Shortly after the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the 1980s, governments worldwide began barring men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood. At the time, blood services pointed to the higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS among MSM and the lack of a reliable test as reasons for the prohibition.
In the US, it wouldn’t be until 2015 that the rules would get eased, replacing the indefinite deferral of blood donations to one year since last having sex with an MSM partner (the policy extends to MSM partners regardless of gender). The deferment period is now three months in response to pandemic-related blood shortages. Regardless, the US remains one of the few countries that continue a blanket deferment of blood from MSM.
Critics point out that the deferral policy is homophobic since many MSM do not engage in sexual activity that puts them at higher risk of HIV infection, including individuals in monogamous relationships and those exclusively having protected sex. Furthermore, RNA testing can now reliably detect HIV infection within a 10-14-day window.
One of those critics is the creative agency Mother. Teaming up with artist Stuart Semple, they created a set of paint made with the blood of gay Mother employees. The Gay Blood range includes a fountain pen and refill kit, paint pen ink, screenprinting ink, spray paint kit, and acrylic ink.
The packaging is intentionally clinical—the fountain pen looks like a syringe, and its refill kit is in a vial. The acrylic paint bottle and the monochromatic labels have a pharmaceutical feel. The refillable spray paint bottle, designed by Semple, is non-aerosol.
Mother is encouraging people to use the paint in protest of the continued discrimination of MSM by the US FDA by writing letters, creating art, or breaking out the spray paint cans for some old-fashioned graffiti. Additionally, all profits from the sale of Gay Blood support Callen-Lorde, a leading provider of LGBTQ healthcare.
The Gay Blood Collection is available now at mother-goods.com.