With season 8 of Game of Thrones just around the corner, the last thing the producers and HBO would have wanted was criticism surrounding a LGBTQ+ scandal.
Given the show’s gory tendencies, the marketing team is cleverly cashing flipping this and using it to start their very own blood drive. Game of Thrones is asking US citizens to donate blood in the brand new Bleed for the Throne campaign.
Anyone who donates to the American Red Cross is given a blood-splattered t-shirt and can win a chance to attend the Season 8 premiere in New York. There’s a catch though when it comes to gay or bisexual men donating blood.
According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, gay and bisexual men have to abstain from sex for a full year before being able to donate blood. The same goes for anyone who has sex with a man who has had sex with another man in the past 12 months.
The Daily Beast reached out to HBO and Red Cross. A joint statement confirmed that the Bleed for the Throne drive at the South by Southwest media festival won’t discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. Although people who don’t fit the criteria still can’t donate, they can still enter the sweepstake and wait in line for an experience where they can “walk in the steps of the characters”.
The site reports that America is facing a national blood shortage. In January, some Game of Thrones-inspired weather forced donation centres to close and apparently cost the Red Cross 14,000 donations.
As pointed out, the problem is less to do with Game of Thrones or the American Red Cross. Dr. Johnathan Applebaum said that the rules are based on “really based on old science”.
In 1983, the AIDS crisis saw the FDA place a lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating — which was amended to the 12-month rule in 2015. Whatever your views, fans have praised Bleed for the Throne but called out the archaic rules on gay and bisexual restriction:
While cool for GoT fans, a reminder that this whole initiative and contest discriminates against gay and bi men, who are still banned from donating blood for bigoted, discriminatory reasons. @RedCross @GameOfThrones https://t.co/1BR71muoSx
— Jason C Grant (@jcharlesgrant) March 7, 2019
Some of us with healthy, tested, O-neg blood are ready and willing to bleed for the throne AND our real-life fellow human beings.
Except our healthy, tested, O-neg blood is considered too dirty and too gay and therefore forbidden. 🤷🏻♂️ https://t.co/5GdzZxzugn
— HomoPoliticus (@HomoPoliticus2) February 27, 2019
I can't bleed for the throne because I am a gay man and gay men aren't allowed to donate blood. https://t.co/0B9QnZ8S7g
— Cosmo ~Give Elsa a Girlfriend~ Moore (@cosmo2389) March 7, 2019
I can’t. I’m gay. You’ve created a hetero-only promotion. Congrats.
— m@ (@mlc2475) March 8, 2019
That awk moment when your mom wants to go donate blood with you cause they’re giving out Game of Thrones shirts but you can’t donate blood because you’re gay and have touched a penis. #BleedfortheThrone
— 🍀 kiss me im irish 🍀 (@nicklinkefus) March 7, 2019