The SiriusXM OutQ News Blog

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NY Bill Would End Condoms as Proof of Prostitution

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An LGBT legal advocacy group is urging New York state lawmakers to approve a bill that would prohibit local police officers and prosecutors from using condom possession as evidence of prostitution.

Lambda Legal sent a memo to legislators Wednesday asking them to support the measure, which has failed to pass through the legislature each year since 1999. It now awaits consideration in the New York State Senate Rules Committee.

Lambda Legal Deputy Legal Director Hayley Gorenberg tells OutQ News that state law enforcement often confiscates condoms from suspected sex workers and uses them as evidence in court. She says that practice discourages members of the LGBT community and other state residents from carrying condoms for fear of prosecution.

Ironically, the state health department distributes MILLIONS of free condoms a year to help curb HIV and STI transmission rates. It is NOT illegal, though, to simply carry them.

Though Gorenberg says the condom distribution program is “terrific in terms of public health,” she says authorities are undermining its intended goal.

GORENBERG: The fact that we would have another piece of our government supporting that, discouraging people from life-saving protection, is a tragedy.

Gorenberg adds that homeless LGBT youth are the most vulnerable in this situation because they face a higher risk of sexual exploitation.

No word yet on when state lawmakers will consider the bill.

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Written by Xorje Olivares

April 6, 2012 at 8:45 AM

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