Profiled by NYPD, Transgendered People in New York Fear Carrying Condoms

Categories: Condoms

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Kelly Schott
Three years ago, Bianey Garcia was on 86th Street in Jackson Heights with her boyfriend. It was late at night, and they were holding hands and kissing. A van slowly pulled up next to them, and they quickly realized it wasn't any regular van: Garcia says that eight police officers got out and pushed her to the ground, and one of them snatched her purse. "Some condoms spilled out," she says, adding that the police officer told her, "You're a fucking prostitute. You're doing sex work." She was not, but was arrested anyway.

Read More: New York's Condom Bait-and-Switch

Garcia, 23, who has long dark hair and a hesitant smile, is a transgender woman. And her story is hardly unique among transgender people in New York City, who are routinely profiled and wrongfully arrested for prostitution or loitering for the purposes of prostitution, and often plead guilty out of fear of abuse in jail while awaiting their court date. "Even if you don't work in prostitution, they think you are one," says Garcia, now an organizer at Make the Road New York, a community support and outreach non-profit based in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. "I felt so very scared. I pleaded guilty so I could go home."

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The Voice Investigates New York's Condom Bait-and-Switch

Categories: Condoms

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Kelly Schott
New York City has a problem with condoms.

The artist, writer, and activist Molly Crabapple, whose work often explores the intersection of sex and politics, rocked the web yesterday with her VICE column, "New York Cops Will Arrest You For Carrying Condoms.". In it, she highlights how the NYPD is using prophylactics as evidence to trigger arrests for prostitution. It's not hard to imagine that this creates enormous problems (and risks), but despite the efforts of various organizations, the city has yet to change its policy.

The Voice's own reporter, Emily Gogolak, has been on the ground for the past three weeks investigating the paradox created by this policy, and the city's own distribution of condoms through the Department of Health, and has found that New York's condom problem is greater--and more convoluted--than has been previously explored. For example, the city launched an app that uses GPS technology to locate and give directions to the nearest venues that distribute free NYC Condoms. These condoms--wrapped in packaging embossed with the city's name--are often then used as proof of prostitution by the police.

Who is this helping? Our feature -- which is slated to run in print next week -- asks that very question.

Oh Yes! Trojan To Give Away Free Vibrators!

Talk about good vibrations...

Trojan Company, best known for its condoms, is going to give away 10,000 free vibrators from two hot dog carts Wednesday and Thursday.

One of the "Pleasure Carts" is going to be parked in the Meatpacking District, on 14th Street and Tenth Avenue -- while the other will be stationed in the East Village -- on Third Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets.

The company promises to hit all of the city's "hot spots" during the giveaway.

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Mutant Crabs: Yes, There Are Drug Resistant Pubic Lice, Too

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Yesterday, the Voice reported on something both terrifying and gross: drug resistant head lice. Turns out, some strains of these bugs have gotten so used to common treatments over the years that their exoskeletons have grown thicker and as a result, they're hardier and can survive all but the harshest of pesticides.

Today, we present you with something even more terrifying and gross: drug resistant pubic lice, AKA crabs.

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Happy National Condom Day! Find Free Condoms With a Phone App

It's Feb. 14 -- the best day of the year!

No, of course we don't mean Valentine's Day (ew.)

It's National Condom Awareness Day -- and 2012's holiday has gotten even more special for you and your special lady or man-friend: New York City's Department of Public Health and Mental Hygiene is releasing a version of the mobile phone app for Windows phones and BlackBerries today that will point you to the nearest pro-bono prophylactics. And it's free! (Before it was just for iPhones and Androids.)

How does the program work?

The app determines users' location via GPS technology and then gives specific directions to venues that offer the free NYC Condoms throughout the five boroughs -- including the sites' hours and what other safe-sex products these locations offer.

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Uh-Oh: You Might Have an STD! The Whole World Might Know, Too

Love is supposed to be everlasting. Unfortunately for many, the only permanent thing to come out of a relationship is an incurable sexually transmitted disease.

And that's why Cyrus Sullivan, of Portland, Ore., claims that he runs STD Carriers Disease Control and Prevention Services, a website that lists claimed and confirmed carriers by their names, locations, descriptions, and sometimes their photos.

The database is completely open to the public -- you don't have to login to browse the listings, and many of the recently added carriers' pics are displayed prominently on the site's front page. Users submit photos freely. There are about 1,500 listings.

From the workmanlike design and sluggish flash slideshow and bizarre comparisons between Pearl Harbor's "hostile Asian men" and STD awareness, you might get the impression that Sullivan, who also runs an online reputation-management business, operates with a tongue-in-cheek M.O.

And you'd be wrong: Sullivan is for real and his work (for better or for worse) is heartfelt, -- and he has updated his site just in time for Valentine's Day.

From the mission statement: "It is our goal that by promoting the sharing of information that we can ultimately protect you health from dangerous diseases while protecting your civil liberties and providing quality entertainment."

Oh boy.

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Durex Ad Goes After 'Uncommunicative Condom User' Demographic

The above image (via Reddit) is an excerpt from a Durex condom print ad from India. In it, a woman coyly chews on her nails with the thought, "hmm...did he? didn't he?" floating above her head. Full image after the jump.

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The 55-Size Individually Fit Condom Line Is Here

Closing out the week on the condom beat, it's come to our attention that there's a new condom out there, being sold by our friends at Condomania who, as we wrote earlier this week, are selling an Occupy Wall Street condom and also kindly giving it away free to protesters. (The company asks that you be patient with your requests as they've had a busy week; they will get to you!). But we couldn't resist asking some more questions, because, well, when you have something of a condom expert on the phone, what else can you possibly do? Adam Glickman of Condomania informed us that there's a new condom, just out this week, that may change condoms forever.

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Occupy Wall Street Has Its Own Condom, and It's Free for Protesters

Yesterday a piece in the New York Post detailed the scandalous, scandalous ways of Occupy Wall Street protesters. To wit, some of them may be hard-drinking, heavy-drugging, sex-having criminals. The Post found one who admitted to the media that he was on the lam and hiding out in Zuccotti Park (he let the newspaper publish his photo, proving that along with being a drug-addled criminal, he is not very smart). But! On to the sex part, the Post found one person who said this: "I haven't hooked up with any guys ... but one of my friends did have sex in a tarp with a guy last night." Did they use Occupy Wall Street condoms? We can only hope so. Not only because they're free to protesters, but because of everything that we learned about safe sex in middle school. Also, yes, there are Occupy Wall Street condoms.

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Brooklyn Is Covered in Condoms

"Jackpot" for the Prospect Park cleaning crew over the weekend meant condoms. Wrappers and rubbers comprised much of the trash collected by the the Prospect Park Litter Mob, a volunteer group concerned with "Brooklyn's largest remaining stretch of forest," and their community-minded actions earned them a little New York Times feature on the City Room blog this morning. It's racier than most city news tidbits, especially in the Times! The picker-uppers focused mainly on the Midwood section of the park, "known as a place gay men cruise for sex," and so the army of eight filled 22 bags with trash. Among the garbage, "upwards of 2,000 condom wrappers and 600 condoms." By our math, that means we're missing about 1,400 used jimmy hats; either Brooklyners get environmentally conscious postcoital and decide to use trash cans, or some people have mighty strange souvenir collections. [NYT]