Home / CIVIL RIGHTS / Alan Cumming Stars in GLAAD and GMHC PSA About FDA’s Blood Donor Policy

Alan Cumming Stars in GLAAD and GMHC PSA About FDA’s Blood Donor Policy

Celibacy Challenge

#CelibacyChallenge Calls on the FDA to Screen ALL Donors Based on Risk, Not Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

NEW YORK, Feb. 19, 2015 – A coalition of organizations, including GLAAD and Gay Men’s Health Crisis(GMHC), today launch a new PSA and social media campaign starring Alan Cumming to raise awareness about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s (FDA’s) blood donor deferral policy for men who have sex with men.  Created by Saatchi & Saatchi NY and Bullitt, #CelibacyChallenge urges the FDA to implement a blood donation system that screens all donors based on risk for HIV transmission, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Stereotypes have no place in saving lives,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The FDA’s proposed change still means that countless gay and bisexual men will be turned away from blood banks simply because of who they are. GLAAD is proud to stand alongside GMHC and Saatchi & Saatchi NY to shed light on this important issue.”

To call attention to the FDA’s blood donor deferral policy, GLAAD and GMHC’s campaign illustrates how unrealistic it is to ask someone to remain celibate for a year in order to donate blood by offering “approved alternatives” to sex.  Participants are asked to share the humorous video through social media using the hashtag #CelibacyChallenge and to sign a petition calling on the FDA to modify their policy. More info about the donor issue and pro bono campaign can be found on www.CelibacyChallenge.com.

Since the early days of the epidemic, GMHC has witnessed first-hand how fear, stigma, and discrimination have fueled the spread of HIV,” said Kelsey Louie, GMHC’s CEO. “The FDA’s ‘revised’ policy continues to fan the flames of the outdated stereotype that HIV is only a ‘gay disease.’ GMHC would like to thank Saatchi & Saatchi NY and GLAAD for joining and supporting the broad coalition of agencies that have been fighting to change U.S. blood donation policy for decades.”

Saatchi & Saatchi NY partnered on this pro bono project with Bullitt and the campaign’s centerpiece film was shot by Bullitt filmmaker Academy Award®-winning director Ari Sandel. In 2007, Sandel won an Oscar® for his short film, “West Bank Story.” Most recently, Sandel directed the highly anticipated film The Duff for CBS films, being released this Friday, February 20.

“Creating work that creates positive cultural change is something we’re very passionate about,” said Jay Benjamin, Saatchi & Saatchi New York chief creative officer. “We believe at Saatchi that nothing is impossible, and that certainly holds true about lifting an outdated 30-year-old ban.”

Todd Makurath, co-founder and CEO of Bullitt, added: “All of us at Bullitt believe very strongly in this cause, and we’re thrilled to be teaming up with these organizations and contributing Bullitt’s talent for storytelling to make a difference with this issue.”

About GLAAD
GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBT equality. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.

About GMHC
Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) is the nation’s leading provider of HIV/AIDS care, prevention services and advocacy, serving nearly 9,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in New York City, the epidemic’s largest U.S. epicenter. As the world’s first HIV and AIDS service organization, GMHC is an expert in providing services that every person affected by the epidemic deserves. GMHC is on the front lines caring for people who are both HIV negative and positive, including: testing, nutrition, legal, mental health and education services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal level with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic in New York State by 2020. Most recently, GMHC and other HIV/AIDS organizations successfully persuaded the federal government to recommend widespread use of PrEP, a new daily treatment that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. For more information, visit www.gmhc.org.

About Saatchi & Saatchi
At Saatchi & Saatchi New York (www.saatchiny.com) we strive to create the world’s most loved and shared work, which elevates our clients’ brands out of their categories and puts them into culture. Our “Nothing-Is-Impossible” spirit drives us to deliver business results that defy expectations.

ABOUT BULLITT
Bullitt is a filmmakers collective and creative studio situated at the nexus of entertainment and advertising.  Founded by directorsJustin Lin, Joe & Anthony Russo and advertising and entertainment industry veteran Todd Makurath, Bullitt has curated a roster of exceptional directors and writers expert in the creation of brand supported entertainment and advertising content. With the conviction that storytelling is the most powerful form of messaging, their work utilizes whatever technology is necessary to target a market – or create one – and break down the barriers that stand between an advertiser and their desired audience.