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I can't wait to finally give blood as a gay man

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A politician who last gave blood half his lifetime ago is finally to donate a pinta again . . . because the State allows him to.Paul O’Kane will offer up his vein to the transfusion service as a gay man.Blood from gay and bisexual men had been outlawed for decades as a health risk.Don't miss the latest headlines from around Renfrewshire.

Sign up to our newsletters here.Now Paul, who turns 34 in March, is offering his own red stuff and has called for more government promotion targeting the gay commuinity as supplies are needed.And he said: “I haven’t given blood since I was 17 but I now intend to give blood again, and hope to do it very soon in my local community.“It is quite emotional.”He was elected to Holyrood on Scottish Labour’s West of Scotland list last May.Paul was the party’s first openly gay MSP and spoke in the Chamber last week asking what the Scottish Government will do to promote the new rule and encourage fresh blood to flow from a previously banned source.He lives in Neilston with his new husband Alan and says the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service does “incredibly important work”.Paul, who was deputy leader of East Renfrewshire Council, said: “I was quite emotional to see the historic changes to blood donation criteria, it marked the end of a stigma and exclusion for gay and bisexual men, and meant that more people now, than ever before, can contribute to this life saving service.“There has been a clear reduction in donations in the last year, therefore as well as urging people to think about donating, I would call on local authorities to ensure there is provision of spaces and sites to donate blood.“To give blood is to help save a life and so it’s vital that as many people as possible come

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