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If you’re not familiar with the Saw film series (currently in its eighth installment), it’s a torture porn horror house in which a sadistic serial killer gets people to kill themselves in life-or-death games involving such tasks as cutting their own eyes out, ripping their own skin off or jumping into a pit of hypodermic needles just to find a key — fun!
There’s usually tons of blood, so it makes sense that the film’s promoters have held a blood drive alongside the release of nearly every new Saw film. This year’s blood drive theme is “All Types Welcome” (a play off of blood types and different types of people) and it has recruited eight social media stars with large LGBTQ fan-bases — like openly gay model Shaun Ross and transgender icon Amanda Lepore — dressed as weird nurses to help advertise it.
Using LGBTQ models for a blood drive that LGBTQ people can’t join
The inclusion of gay and trans models has the dual role of helping raise awareness about the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) antiquated and queer-phobic blood ban that, even now in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, prevents gay/bi men and trans women from donating.
The FDA policy requires all gay or bi men to have been celibate for at least 12 months. The FDA also considers trans women as men. Both policies are outdated relics from the height of the HIV epidemic and make no sense seeing as all donated blood gets tested for viruses before use anyway.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes video of the Saw blood drive photo shoot:
While the official website for the Saw blood drive (jigsawblooddrive.com) doesn’t mention the so-called “gay blood ban” at all, the choice of LGBTQ models raises the specter of discrimination, albeit too subtly.
At least, Lepore was more blunt when asked about the blood ban by The New York Times. “It’s exclusion, and it’s ridiculous, and it’s discriminatory,” Lepore said.
Saw fans can donate blood in special stations across the country and get a free movie ticket to the upcoming Saw film, entitled Jigsaw, which premieres Oct. 27, 2017. So far, the Saw blood drives have received around 120,000 pints of blood, saving 360,000 lives.
Imaging for the previous Saw blood drives featured a single white female model, but their “All Types Welcome” campaign is a bit more diverse in age, race and gender, featuring Sudanese model Nyakim Gatwech and 60-something-year-old event producer Susanne Bartsch.