Did you know that gay men in the UK cannot give blood? Well, they can, but only if they did not have sex for over a year. This non-sense comes from the fact that UK legislation results from texts that were written and voted many years ago, and that no-one thought to change. Until now.
Cheil UK is launching a new social initiative, #PutRedBack, which aims to raise awareness of the restrictions on gay men donating blood, and to help shift the debate. All they need is 100,000 thousands signatures – or tweets – to force the British parliament to change this law.
The #PutRedBack campaign was born during the Powered By Tweets competition, run by Twitter last Spring. The competition aimed to find ideas on how Twitter can drive innovation and/or change the world for the better.
As a competition winner, #PutRedBack has now been launched at the London Design Festival exhibition at Somerset House with an innovative tweet-powered sculpture. The installation, which will be on display from 21-27 September, features a striking, fluid-filled rainbow flag form. Each band of the rainbow is composed of a layer of liquid that has separated naturally into individual colours.
Visitors will be encouraged to tweet #PutRedBack including @putredback. For every tweet, a single drop of red liquid falls into the top, clear layer of the flag, symbolising ‘wasted’ blood donations. Only when the 100,000 mark has been reached will the layer be filled red. Putting the red back into the rainbow.
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As well as showing their support via the hashtag, visitors will be encouraged to become one of 100,000 signatories to Freedom to Donate’s petition on putredback.com that will lead to a parliamentary debate on current blood donation guidelines.
Tim Polder, Innovation strategist at Cheil UK, came up with the idea based on his knowledge of the earlier blanket blood donation ban on gay men, something he learned of while training to be a doctor in the Netherlands:
Current blood donation guidelines are based on an outdated notion of safety that targets gay men irrationally. Yes, there should be guidelines, but they should be based on the behaviour of all potential donors and not on their sexuality. Under current guidelines, it’s difficult for gay men to save lives by making a contribution to blood stocks.
#PutRedBack is a great illustration on how Twitter, and social media in general, can be used to build a better society. Will you support it?
— Cheil UK (@CheilUK) September 22, 2015