Jackson Heilberg
Emergency nurse Jackson Heilberg (Image: supplied)

Inked-up Aussies can now walk straight from the tattoo parlour to a blood donation centre to give plasma. Gay men, on the other hand, still have to remain celibate for a year before donating -- even if they’re married or monogamous. 

The new rules for tattooed Australians came into effect earlier this month as the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood tries to pull new donors -- especially those who aren’t afraid of needles -- into its centres amid dwindling donations during the pandemic.

But restrictions on LGBTIQ donors exclude up to a million Australians from giving blood -- a rule, community members say, is based on prejudice instead of science.