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An Exhibition of Art Representing Emotion and Opinion Relating to the MSM Ban.  A Webinar Featuring These Pieces and Encouraging Conversation Will Be Hosted By the UBI on June 24 at 6 p.m.  ET, featuring participating artists and LGBTQ+ activists, including Jason Cianciotto, director of institutional development and strategy at GMHC, who is a leading voice in this issue.



Paula Giraldo

"A mixture of words and phrases from articles about the MSM deferral written in the past decade."

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What Am I To You?

JK The Homie

"Poem about my experience donating blood as a man-loving-man."

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Aaron's Flower

Laura Sue King

"Aaron's Flower is made with watercolor and pencil on paper and is inspired by Aaron Malekan's love of flowers and by the visual and sociopolitical history of the pink triangle within the LGBTQ+ community. We had the greatest pleasure working with Aaron this semester in my printmaking class at Hunter College. He is a super generous person who consistently shared his positive energy in our weekly Zoom sessions. As you can imagine, we are grateful."

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When Is Time?

Paula Giraldo

"A brief exploration of LGBTQ+ activists and organizations that have pushed progressive policies over the decades, based on the fact that blood donation policies should be based on science - not blanket ideals.This runs parallel to the AIDS crisis, which, as the banner says, needed to be addressed with research - not hysteria. Will this final push from research, particularly the ADVANCE study, be what takes us to individual risk-based blood donation policy?"

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Instagram - @rexiehh

"A lily living in a vase."

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Is My Blood Not Red?

Sonny Oram

Instagram - @sonnyoram

"A 16” x 20'' vertical self-portrait oil painting that depicts a blood-red aura around my topless body that drips over me. I am looking back at the viewer, showing them my purest self — forcing them to see me as nothing but human. Not queer, not trans, just human."

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Loverboy, Untitled (Lovers), and Loverboy (Backside)

From left to right in triptych:

Matthew Watowich

Instagram - @matthewwato

"These three pieces are life-size copper intaglio prints. In Loverboy, on top of an engraved outline of the circulatory system are etched plates that portray either organs related to blood processing and production (the heart, liver, kidneys, and bone) or fragmented sections of a figure. This, alongside the title of the piece, is meant to speak to the political dissection and societal stigmatization of queer bodies and queer blood. The middle piece, Untitled (Lovers), is meant to further emphasize this by highlighting the organs related to blood processing and production. The title hints at the ability of these organs to tell tales of love and sexual history as they are viewed as retaining sexuality and experiences by the blood ban. Lastly, Loverboy (Backside) utilizes the back of the copper plates involved in creating Loverboy. The title is a subtle tribute to anal sex, and the print documents the experiences and marks these plates attributed during the printing process as a metaphor for the love, relations, and impartments a queer body collects and retains during life. These three pieces are intentionally nuanced and gestural, asking the viewer to look and stay awhile, piecing together the bodies and the stories lost as a result of discrimination towards queerness and queer men's blood."

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Lauren Rosen

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Blood Donation Earrings

Alexandra Giaclone

"This wearable art will hopefully help bring awareness to the inequalities that the LGBTQ+ community faces simply because of stigma."

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Beating Heart

Caroline Casella

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Kai Medina

"This piece represents how much blood is tied to our own identity and how our identity is linked to the blood world in ways I believe should be changed. And don't worry — it’s blackberry, not blood."

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Spilt Glory

Aaron Malekan

"Spilt Glory expresses frustrations that marginalized groups feel. The birds in the background represent the lives at stake due to the ongoing blood deficit, while many groups who wish to donate are unable to do so."



Alejandro Rocha

Instagram - @alejandrocha9

"Piece of art inspired by the poem Esta Tarde by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. she always showed us that freedom and equality can be found through artistic expression. One love, one blood and one heart."


A Big Thank You To All of Our Artists That Participated and Our Partners For Helping Us Put On This Art Exhibition!