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FCB Health and GMHC Stitch a Narrative of Unity With “Blood Flags” During LGBTQ Pride Month

Press Release - New York, 04 June 2018

Latest installment of Blood Equality initiative further challenges discriminatory blood ban against gay, bisexual and transgender men 

FCB Health is proud to celebrate LGBTQ Pride Month and continue its ongoing commitment to “Blood Equality” – a pro bono advocacy and awareness campaign in partnership with the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) – through the launch of “Blood Flags.” 

“Blood Flags” addresses the conditional support that many countries show toward the LGBTQ community in preserving and promoting its rights. Many countries, including the U.S., Australia, Canada, Brazil and Germany, endorse the fight for equality in marriage, schools, the workplace and housing, yet discriminatory criteria for blood donation remain. FCB Health and GMHC thus created “Blood Flags” to bring attention to this disparity and inspire reform.

“We’re very proud to collaborate with GMHC and deepen our dedication to shedding light on issues of blood equality and civil rights, which remain critical,” said Rich Levy, chief creative officer of FCB Health. “This creative partnership provides us with an important – and unique – platform to advocate for policy reform, change behavior and make a lasting difference through our work.”

This initiative specifically confronts theU.S. government’s flawed revision to the lifetime ban on gay, bisexual and transgender male blood donors, which now requires a 12-month period of celibacy prior to donation. A UCLA Williams Institute study revealed that lifting this ban altogether could save up to a million lives annually. This kind of discrimination – which has been shown to hold no real scientific basis – is not just domestic, but can be found all over the world. 

“We want to restore the fundamental right to donate blood, and make it a more equitable process across the board,” remarked Kelsey Louie, CEO of GMHC. “Current donation policies stem from fear and outdated stigmas surrounding sexual orientation, when they should instead be based solely on testing and scientific risk assessments.”

“Blood Flags,” a creative installation, meticulously stitches the individual, aforementioned country flags – shaped like blood bags – onto the rainbow Pride flag. This altering of the traditional flag design, compounded with the use of exposed thread and stitching, powerfully brings to life the juxtaposition between LGBTQ Pride and discrimination. Ultimately, these flags aim to highlight cultural hypocrisy as a call to action, and unite these countries in an effort to advance blood equality on a larger scale. 

“Blood Flags is meant to resonate globally,” said Mike Devlin, executive vice president and group creative director of FCB Health. “Last year’s launch of One in Our Blood at the Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham, featuring the Blood Mirror installation by artist Jordan Eagles – which allowed viewers to physically see themselves reflected in the blood of gay, bisexual and transgender men encased in resin – was just the beginning. We hope that our latest installment of this initiative will continue to weave a powerful narrative and inspire change on a more universal level.”

“Blood Flags” will be launched across FCB Health’s social channels (InstagramTwitterFacebook and LinkedIn) and others throughout the network, gearing up for World Blood Donor Day on June 14. The stitched flags have been shared with a wide range of LGBTQ media, and will be featured at Pride events and GMHC headquarters, with plans to raise awareness across the globe throughout the upcoming year.




About the FCB Health Network

FCB Health Network is one of the world’s most awarded communications networks, focused on creating game-changing marketing solutions for consumers, patients and healthcare professionals. With specialized units covering a wide range of wellness practices, FCB Health Network employs more than 1,700 people across an extensive global network, delivering multichannel capabilities that include DTC and HCP communications, professional education, branding, scientific services, strategic planning and media services. Its integrated agency offering includes Area 23, Neon, FCBCure, FCB Halesway, ICC, ProHealth, Hudson Global, Trio, Mosaic Group, FCBVIO, BX – the Branding Experience Group, and Studio Rx. The FCB Health Network was named “Agency of the Year” by Med Ad News in 2006, 2009, 2015 and 2017, and by Medical Marketing & Media in 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2017. In eight of the past nine years, an FCB Health Network company has received “Most Creative Agency” honors. Cannes Lions, the world’s preeminent annual creative awards festival, named its Area 23 unit “Healthcare Agency of the Year” in 2017, and named FCB Health Network “Healthcare Network of the Year” in 2018.

About FCB

FCB (Foote, Cone & Belding) is a global, fully integrated marketing communications company with a heritage of creativity and success dating from 1873. Based on a deeply developed understanding of diversified local markets and global cultures, FCB focuses on significantly changing consumer behavior to the benefit of its clients, its people and society. With more than 8,000 people in 109 operations in 80 countries, the company is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE: IPG). Learn more at www.FCB.comand follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@FCBglobal) and Facebook (FCB Global).

About Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) 

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world’s first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit