In an effort to combat police harassment and other harms men face when cruising for sex, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund on Tuesday issued the Little Black Book, a publication containing information for men who have sex with men about their legal rights if they are harassed or arrested while cruising for sex in public. "Men who have sex with men are frequently targeted by police for harassment," said Michael Adams, director of education and public affairs at Lambda. "There have been many cases where police have entrapped men or intimidated them into giving up their rights. The Little Black Book will be a great resource for anyone who finds themselves in the middle of a police sting."
Lambda said their help desk receives numerous calls from men looking for legal assistance after being arrested or harassed by the police; an earlier edition of the Little Black Book was one of the most popular pages at Lambda's Web site. According to Lambda, many gay men taken into police custody do not know their basic civil rights and often, without their knowledge, allow them to be trampled upon by prosecutors or the police. "Some people don't realize that Lambda Legal's U.S. Supreme Court victory struck down all of the nation's remaining sodomy laws," Adams said. "We still see those laws used inappropriately by the police and local prosecutors. In Virginia, for example, we're fighting attempts to prosecute a man for soliciting sodomy--even though that state's sodomy law died the day we won our Supreme Court case."
The Little Black Book will be available online and distributed to organizations that provide education and outreach services to men who have sex in public or semipublic places. LGBT community centers, HIV/AIDS organizations that do safer-sex programming, community-based health organizations, and gay and lesbian national hotlines are all receiving copies of the publication. High-traffic Web sites that specialize in cruising for sex will link to the Little Black Book by placing banner advertisements on their home pages, and several Internet chat groups that provide location information for public sex will also link to the book.