I Was Detained and Interrogated at the Border for Carrying Condoms

Via Huffington Post Airpost Security - TSA

What do you do when you’re detained by powerful officials, everything you say is presumed deceptive, arbitrary “evidence” is held against you, and you’re treated like a moral deviant? And what if its 2013, you’re a woman, and the “evidence” is that you possess condoms?

It happened three times in two weeks — being detained by U.S. border officials on my way to or through the States.

First I was held by Vermont border guards for two hours in the middle of the night on my way to visit Nashville. They searched my bags at least five times. I could not help but notice how often my lingerie and “sexy underwear” were mentioned, how often the condoms they found were looked upon scathingly, and how most of the four male officers’ questions pertained to both.

I was baffled as to why this was any of their business and unsure of what their objective was, other than fondling lady’s undergarments. In the end, having nothing to go on, they gave me a limited stay visa of two weeks and let me go — at 3 a.m. in the middle of nowhere. I missed my bus and my plane, had to pay for a $90 taxi to the nearest airport and then book a new flight the next morning.

The next time it happened was two weeks later in Montreal’s airport. After scanning my passport, without being asked a single question, I was immediately led to a back waiting room. When I was summoned into an office, the officer cut to the chase: “How much is he paying you to go on this trip?” He was referring to the man I was travelling with.

Confused, I just stared back at him for a few beats.

“N-nothing?”

The next question was whether this man was married or not. The answer, unfortunately for me, was yes. He asked whether I was planning on sharing a hotel bed with this man. I’m not one to sugar coat things and decided that now would not be a particularly good time to be found lying. Again, I answered yes. Righteous, the officer demanded what exactly I was doing in a bed with a married man.

“That’s actually none of your business.”

I had kicked the hornet’s nest. Inflamed, he raised his voice at me that it was his business and that adultery was a crime in America — a crime that he could deny me entry for. He made me tell him my partner’s name and date of birth and threatened to detain him, too. I pointed out that we would be in Miami for a total of 40 minutes to catch our next flight to Aruba; hardly enough time to run to our gate, let alone commit adultery. The next thing I knew he was searching my bags, pulling out condoms and waving them in my face.

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  • samthor

    odd and unfortunate that merely carrying condoms makes you suspect of a crime.
    We want people to be prepared and have safe sex… not get arrested and harassed More:
    http://www.bust.com/tell-nyc-police-that-safe-sex-is-not-a-crime.html

  • echar

    Where do you get prostitute out of Model, Dancer, Actress, Artist, Writer?

    http://nujen.net/

    Is it because these words challenge your beliefs about women?

  • emperorreagan

    The notion that consensual activity can be a crime is absurd. Using condoms to slut shame and/or attempt to prove someone is a prostitute/loitering to solicit (as NYC and other jurisdictions do) is criminal. Sex workers are either forced to compromise their safety by not using condoms or carrying condoms and giving lazy cops a way to harass them. Non-sex workers get caught up too, and are forced to weather accusations from cops when they’re just being conscientious.

    Fuck TSA and fuck the police.

  • Jeb Morningside

    Who gives a fuck if she’s a prostitute in the first place? Is fucking dudes for cash somehow causing a threat to national security?

  • Herp Derp

    As a married man I have mixed feelings. While carrying condoms should be no concern to further search a person ever. At the same I don’t appreciate what this woman does for a living. Just because I don’t like what she does, doesn’t allow the TSA to treat her like shit. I personally don’t like crackheads, but again I don’t feel that is any of the state’s business. Roughing up an adulterer does nothing to promote the general welfare of the american people.

    • BuzzCoastin

      the people questioning her are prostitutes too
      they resent the competition
      even if it isn’t their particular form of prostitution

      • Herp Derp

        Exactly they are whores for fascism.

  • BuzzCoastin

    I’ve crossed about 45 boarders in my life
    the worsts ones to cross in my experience are:
    #1 Uncle Homeland, #2 Great Friggins, #3 Candada
    they have the most intrusive thugs for boarder guards

    my favorite boarder crossing point before 911
    Holland, “Just hold up your passport and walk this way.”

    • emperorreagan

      I couldn’t believe what a pain in the ass it was to come back from the US virgin islands. You don’t even leave US territory and they’re grilling you like you’re coming back from the USSR.

      • BuzzCoastin

        once going into Nam with an Oz of weed in my bag
        I tipped the guards a buck each (at their request)
        and they carried my bags out to the cab and
        wished me a great stay in Nam

      • Liam_McGonagle

        ‘Back’ from the USSR? . . . You say that as if you’d visited there multiple times.

        Would you care to declare anything, Komrade Reagan?

        Just horsing around, of course. But here’s the thing about American society, in my confessedly pompous opinion: Everyone’s just going through the motions.

        We have a medical system that prolongs suffering and impoverishes people. We have a legal system seemingly designed to avoid administering justice and a political system made to thwart the public interest.

        In an environment like this, it is completely impossible for anyone outside the priviledged 1% or perhaps the additional 2% constituting their favored lackeys to make an intuitive connection between their job duties and their obstensible purpose.

        97% of us, at least, are just going though the motions, following the letter of a set of instructions without really knowing what they’re supposed to mean.

        Hence the prevalance of the ‘zombie’ motif in popular culture for the last decade or so.

    • http://iuwus.deviantart.com/ Threedinium

      Incidentally, doesn’t Holland have thriving prostitution with more widespread public acceptance? I’m sure it’s just coincidence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/huntley.sara Sara Seraphinianus

    yah a website booking for photoshoots and modeling gigs. i looked on google and saw no such escort pages. obviously you know nothing about the differences between a model and a prostitute. just because you share your beauty in nude modeling doesnt make you a literal slut. ugh your comment disgusts me.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    I like her pubic hair.

  • Jin The Ninja

    to echo liam, WHO the F*CK cares what she does!!
    WHY do you care?
    the issue of sex work is not even contextual to the issue- the issue is of americans losing their civil rights and privacy to uneducated over worked tsa agents who have become no more than fascist brown shirts who serve no purpose- particularly not for safety.

  • Jin The Ninja

    to echo liam, WHO the F*CK cares what she does!!
    WHY do you care?
    the issue of sex work is not even contextual to the issue- the issue is of americans losing their civil rights and privacy to uneducated over worked tsa agents who have become no more than fascist brown shirts who serve no purpose- particularly not for safety.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Assuming that this is the same person, and not just coincidentally a person with another name:

    Who f*cking cares how a person makes a living?

    You don’t have people roughing up cops or soldiers back home on leave just because they kill and maim people for a living. As professions are concerned, I’m a sh*t-ton less concerned about people who screw for a living.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Its actually Diqus farting and not the omnipresent/omniscient Matt Staggs who hangs on your every comment in real time.

    paranoia is cool though.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    one site is of a capricorn and one claims to be a scorpio

    Either this is a deep complex conspiracy where the person in question has to lie about her astrological symbol to hold onto secrets…

    Or…

    You’re an idiot.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    He blew Allen Ginsberg, though so that makes him cool.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Why because i give you shit just like I give any other guy?

  • Jin The Ninja

    in the dozens of heated discussions or angry comments ted and i have exchanged- i have never known him to be a homophobe.
    and in fact the misogyny you are demonstrating for villifying sex work is far more akin to homophobia that anything i’ve ever seen ted write. you do realise that sexism, misogyny, homophobia and racism are all linked right? the intersection of oppression and all that.

  • emperorreagan

    Photos are irrelevant unless you can prove that she posted them and is associated with the accounts you link.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Sorry, I got you mixed up with Gore Vidal, or was it Jack Keroac?

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Star Fucker

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    maybe I am just afraid of name droppers?

  • Bruteloop

    Speaking as a gay man and an ex-prostitute I’m not sure how seriously to take you when you suggest her profession is a cause for ‘profound distaste’? You mean…like the ‘profound distaste’ felt by many homophobes about men engaging in sexual acts.

    Glass houses…

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    You were too old for him?

  • Ava

    The article makes no mention of her lying. Not once. She didn’t have to answer such a personal question, but she did. So she was “owning” up for it as you put it. Who she fucks is her business, and no one else’s.

  • Ava

    The article makes no mention of her lying. Not once. She didn’t have to answer such a personal question, but she did. So she was “owning” up for it as you put it. Who she fucks is her business, and no one else’s.

  • Jeb Morningside

    I find self righteousness profoundly distasteful, but I wouldn’t ban you from entering my country because of it.

  • InAwe

    Pur Singh, why are you being dishonest and not owning up to troll and/or stupidity status.

    At no point did you ever use the words ‘blubbering idiot’, ‘i spew nonsensical thoughts’ or at the every least ‘I think I gain a +1 in life ever time I pass an arbitrary judgment on someone.’

    I understand that thinking about things before saying them can be such a drag. I’ve heard that life know life is easier when you think about it less. Its even easier when you spend your time being critical of others because it means you have brain capacity left to be critical of your own existence.

    Sigh. A cause for profound distaste.

  • Hadrian999

    in America we have the right to remain silent and the right not to incriminate ourselves, dishonest booo fucking hoo

  • emperorreagan

    I’m not leveling accusations at anyone. Ridiculous is heading straight for a personal attack rather than weighing the merits of what she has to say.

    If you can’t demonstrate that she owns and uses those accounts for the purposes of prostitution, then you shouldn’t be trashing her.

    And more generally, if you can’t demonstrate that it’s relevant to her detention by TSA, then harping on it is irrelevant.

  • Ava

    So you think it’s ok for her to be treated badly? Because she could be selling sex.

  • Ava

    The article states they hadn’t committed any crime.

  • JaceD

    You’re one of these border officials ain’t ya? That would explain your touchy opinion on what this woman does for a living. I’d imagine It’ll get on your nerves, people criticising your right to sexually harass innocent women through bizarre interrogation methods and panty sniffing.

  • JaceD

    Only in countries that lack freedom. Feel the burn, yo.

  • Andrew

    You say that like crime is a bad thing.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Well, I just like nature. This shaving fad is not my thing.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone who is a Disinfo fan would give a flying f*ck about any of that, even for a second.

    There must be a cultural disconnect here. I understand that some Asian societies are as ridiculously backward and puritanical as anything that crawled up from under the Mason-Dixon Line, but very few of that type show their faces on Disinfo.

    (Matt, Calypso: Clearly my reference is a cultural one–NOT a strictly geographic one. So lay in if ye like, but you know I’m not talking about you).

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, we’re all waiting for you to do that: say nothing.

    The point is, Pur, if you don’t like prostitutes, stop going to them. Simple as that.

    This must be a cultural thing on your part. No one else here seems to give a flying f*ck whether or not she screwed hundreds or thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dudes for a living. Chances are none of us will ever meet her, and even if we did we wouldn’t be forced to screw her if we didn’t want to.

    You think prostitutes are nasty? From a certain perspective, that’s a reasonable opinion, as far as it goes. I just don’t see any point in going any farther than that. Leave her alone.

  • Hadrian999

    the rules of due process apply to the behavior of the government officials, they are not bound to national origin

  • echar

    You’re a prostitute to your own biases.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    So now you’re changing your position? Intially you were okay with the abuse because she was a prostitute, but now you’re okay with it because some TSA drone has some compelling public interest in her professional life?

    In the eyes of the public interest, what is the compelling difference between a performer and an actor? Between an actor and a model? Between a model and a stripper? Between a stripper and a whore?

    Sorry, Pur, but I respect a response more if it is at least internally consistent. If you had said something like,

    “This may be a deeply ingrained cultural prejudice on my part, but I regard sex workers as ritually impure and deserving of not even the slightest human dignity,”

    I would not have agreed, but I would have respected your self awareness and forthrightness.

    As it is, I get the sense that you are totally flailling about here. Which can be okay–one of the most reliable indicators of personal growth is encountering one’s personal flaws.

    But where you take it from here is up to you.

  • echar

    Said the troll, you’re fooling no one. People are just using you for practice.

  • echar

    Stop being awesome!

  • Juan

    LAMAO:)