Lambda Legal Urges NY Lawmakers to Vote on Condom Bill

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April 5, 2012

A bill under consideration by the New York state legislature would prevent police and prosecutors from using possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution and prostitution-related offenses.

Lambda Legal submitted a memo today urging lawmakers to support the measure.

Such a law would help protect the health of New Yorkers, including members of communities disproportionately impacted by HIV, such as gay and bisexual men, transgender people, at-risk youth and sex workers.

An excerpt from the memo:

Using condoms as evidence of criminal conduct further exposes communities that have historically been both hard-hit by HIV and subjected to intense police scrutiny. The practice disproportionately affects transgender women, who experience such a high rate of false targeting by police as sex workers in New York City that it was the subject of a 2005 campaign by Amnesty International.


The effect on New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (“LGBTQ”) youth, a group vastly overrepresented in homeless youth populations, is potentially devastating, as homeless LGBTQ youth face a heightened risk of sexual exploitation. Individuals who are already at risk of exploitation should not be further deprived of condoms that could protect their lives.

The whole memorandum is here.

Lambda Legal's Deputy Legal Director, Hayley Gorenberg, says:

The government has wisely promoted the free distribution of millions of condoms throughout New York City for decades in the name of public health. It is unfair and misleading to encourage New Yorkers to take advantage of these programs and then turn around and use the condoms to try and build a criminal case against them.