Unilad launches 'illegal blood bank' for gay and bisexual donors

Initiative designed to flag up UK's discriminatory laws banning these donors.

'The illegal blood bank': highlights ban on gay and bisexual men
'The illegal blood bank': highlights ban on gay and bisexual men

LadBible’s Unilad has launched the world’s first blood bank aimed at gay and bisexual men, who are prohibited from donating blood by UK law unless they are willing to abstain from sex for three months.

Developed in partnership with Elvis and pressure group FreedomToDonate, "The illegal blood bank" will open on 23 November at a secret London location. It will offer gay and bi men the opportunity to donate blood to highlight the discriminatory law.

Qualified medical professionals will be on hand to assess donors, based on their broader sexual behaviour, and test the blood, in an effort to underline how much blood is potentially going to waste due to the law.

The launch is being backed by a campaign targeting Unilad’s 430 million global audience and its 44 million Facebook followers, through PR and out-of-home activity. Elvis and Unilad also created a YouTube film.

Unilad and FreedomToDonate are calling for a fairer blood donation system in which all people are treated equally and they want to communicate the benefits of gaining a new source of donated blood.

The MSM (men who have sex with men) community is being encouraged to register to become a donor on 23 November via www.bloodwithoutbias.com, while everyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, is being asked to support the initiative by using the #BloodWithoutBias hashtag on social media or by signing a petition.

The initiative is the first campaign by Unilad since it was acquired by LadBible in October 2018.

Nick Hodgkins, LadBible Group’s brand marketing lead, said: "With such a huge social following, Unilad’s content has a massive impact on our audience globally. We believe it’s our responsibility to leverage this to raise awareness about the issues facing young people and the topics that matter in their lives.

"Our partnership with FreedomToDonate aims to bring equality to the blood donation process. We want to help achieve a situation where anyone who can safely donate blood is able to do so and pave the way for blood without bias across the board, ending any discrimination towards other groups too."

The work was created by Rhys Hughes and Barret Helander at Elvis.

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