red cross: “compassion” + “tolerance” + “awareness”.

Check out this straight-forward and compelling campaign for the International Red Cross that was posted on Behance by art directors Pier Madonia and Canadian Stuart Macmillan. Besides the high quality of the work itself, there is something so stark and thought-provoking about the commodification of a human emotion. What a different world we’d live in if we really could bottle awareness…


Thanks to my friend James for reminding me of the hypocrisy that’s hiding inside these ads. These ads are for the International Red Cross, but the Canadian Red Cross, despite the blood bag filled with “compassion”, doesn’t accept blood donations from gay males. Apparently it’s 1981. I half expect them to say something like “Due to the rise in gay cancer, we’ve decided that…”. It’s ludicrous.

You’d think that by 2008 any supposedly humanist and forward-thinking organization would realize that supporting this kind of homophobia is dangerous. We all know that AIDS is not a gay disease. We all know that AIDS doesn’t discriminate based on gender, sexual orientation, class, or race.

AIDS can be contracted by everyone. Everyone (except gay males) can donate blood. Therefore, anyone with AIDS can donate blood. To maintain this kind of discrimination against gay men is pointless, offensive, and does nothing to protect the blood supply. All it does is prevent sick people from getting blood they could use…

How compassionate, tolerant, or aware is that?




Via Josh Spear


  1. Dellla says:

    Let me rephrase that ..

    There have NEVER been any instances recorded of HIV infection from oral to genital contact.

    YET it is banned.

  2. Dellla says:

    I tried to give blood today… they were desperate for blood and called ME up asking me to go donate so I did wanting to help out! Then they found out my husband had brief oral sex with a dear friend of his about a decade ago. A MALE friend. Well, my hubby was just bi curious and found out that gay sex wasn’t his cup of tea and has been in a monogomous relationship for four years now. But because I have sex with my husband and my husband had brief sexual contact with a male a decade ago I am not allowed to give blood! I was refused. And asked very humiliating questions about it in front of three nurses. I don’t think I’ll ever try to help them out again. I’m very sorry that I got my gay germs on their precious furniture at the red cross. But screw them for being so outdated and ridiculous about their ideas! This is a form of insidious homophobia wrapped in a wrapper of ‘well intentioned’ questioning.

    BTW you cannot contract HIV from oral sex. So there was basically NO good reason for my husband or me by association to be denied our ability to help others.

  3. While I understand that keeping blood donations clean is a priority, the degree to which screening methods have improved since the ban on blood donations from gay men is significant enough for the FDA, Red Cross, or any health organization to base its decisions on real evidence of risk, rather than on stereotypes of sexual orientation.

  4. James P says:

    It’s interesting that the Red Cross is doing a campaign that focuses on ‘compassion’ and ‘tolerance’. This is the International body of the Canadian Red Cross that perpetuates homophobia by not allowing any blood donations from gay males who have ever had sex with another male.

  5. Very cool. Sometimes “stark” and to-the-point is the best way to go.

  6. fivehusbands says:

    Love this post, love the new header.

  7. maybe we can, now that the thought has been brought into this universe of ours.

    rob gruber

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