Last year, Canadian Blood Services took two steps forward and one step back when they lifted the ban on gay men donating blood — yay! — and then imposed a five-year celibacy rule on them. Boo. So technically, you could donate blood, just as long as you don’t have any sex for five years.
Good luck with that.
Anyway, University of Toronto PhD student Stephen McCarthy decided to find a way for gay men to contribute to blood donation, even if the limitations made it next to impossible for them to donate — he created the Ally Blood Bank, where friends and family of gay men can donate on their behalf.
According to Metro News, the project was based on an interaction between McCarthy and his father. As an openly gay man, McCarthy couldn’t donate, so his father volunteered to donate in his stead. The one-off project was a success, as it reportedly “brought in 35 ally donors by appointment and several more unannounced walk-ins.”
Let’s be honest: it’ll be a while before Canadian Blood Services changes its policy — partly because of the cost and the technology, partly because of the stigma — but it’s good to know that in the meantime, there’s a clever workaround and people who are willing to step up to the plate.