Gays join fray in video store flap 02/06/98
GLAA calls on DCRA to clarify policy on condom distribution
Fighting for Equal Rights Since 1971
P. O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013-5265
June 23, 1999
Mr. Lloyd Jordan, Director
Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs
941 North Capitol Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20002
Dear Mr. Jordan:
A few years ago, there was a concerted effort on the part of some DCRA employees to target businesses owned by or catering to gay men in the District of Columbia. As part of this discriminatory enforcement effort, several bars, taverns, and nightclubs were branded as “sexually-oriented businesses” by DCRA inspectors merely because these establishments had baskets of condoms that could be picked up by their customers.
Goaded by protests spearheaded by this organization, DCRA successfully reined in its overzealous employees. Unfortunately, we have found that to this day some gay-oriented businesses will not offer condoms or safer-sex literature to their customers for fear of being labeled a sexually-oriented establishment by your Department. Since your Department was responsible for instilling this baseless fear, we feel it is your duty to take affirmative steps to help correct that misimpression.
Accordingly, we ask you to send us an official statement over your signature declaring that the availability of condoms or safer-sex materials in a bar or other place of business will not be considered as grounds for considering that establishment a sexually-oriented business. We will then provide your statement as a powerful new tool to those now working to help prevent the spread of AIDS by persuading gay-oriented businesses to make condoms and safer-sex literature readily available to their clientele.
We appreciate your prompt attention to our request.
cc: The Honorable Sharon Ambrose, Committee on Consumer & Regulatory
The Honorable Sandy Allen
The Honorable Harold Brazil
The Honorable David Catania
The Honorable Jim Graham
Carlene Cheatam, Office of the Mayor