Canadian Blood Services put a blood donation ad on Grindr

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

Canadian Blood Services placed a blood donation ad on Grindr – when sexually active gay men are banned from donating.

An ad that ran on Grindr across Canada encouraged men to download a mobile app to donate blood, although sexually active gay men are unable to donate in the country.

Canadian Blood Services, who are responsible for the ad, said its placement was the fault of its mobile advertising vendor.

The ad told men to download the organization’s GiveBlood mobile app and “put the power to give life in the palm of your hand.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 1.38.51 PM

Under rules that take effect on August 15, any gay men who have been sexually active within the last year are banned from donating blood – which is a reduction from the five-year ban that went into effect in 2013.

In a statement to CBC News, Canadian Blood Services spokesman Ross FitzGerald said the ad was a mistake and the organization has “taken steps to avoid it happening again in the future.”

Corey Shefman, a human rights lawyer who can’t donate blood because of the ban, expressed his outrage in the ad and called on Canadian Blood Services to release an apology.

“I think that [Canadian] Blood Services’ decision to take out advertising in an app that’s used almost entirely by gay men, [who] are prohibited from donating blood, is at best insensitive and at worst just another example of Canadian Blood Services’ discriminatory treatment of gay men,” Shefman said.

He added, “If this was indeed just a mistake then they should certainly apologize for it because it was nevertheless insensitive.”

The justification for blood bans, which began in the early 1980s due to the HIV/AIDS crisis, has increasingly come under question in recent months.

In June, two significant data sets indicated that the blood supply is actually safer since the lifetime ban on gay men donating was thrown out in 2011.