Our experience is that condom necklaces usually inspire ire and outrage when worn at formal affairs. But this time it was different…
MEDFORD, Ore. – A nylon necklace strung with condoms has sparked outrage at the county fair.
Chris Borovansky, manager of the Jackson County Fair, said he has asked Planned Parenthood to stop teaching teenagers how to make “condom leis” after numerous complaints were filed with fair officials.
“We talked to them today and asked them not to do that,” said Borovansky. “We asked them not to flaunt something or make something more than it is.”
But a bowl of free candy-colored condoms was allowed to remain in the booth according to the terms of Planned Parenthood’s fair contract, he added.
More than 15 people e-mailed or called to complain about the project in which older teens were allowed to make condom necklaces fashioned of nylon netting, condom packets and pipecleaners.
Planned Parenthood representatives said the activity was aimed at removing the stigma and secrecy from contraceptive use.
“The intent is to make condoms a normal part of life,” said Paul Robinson, community relations director. “You do what attracts the older youth.”
The necklace project was so popular among older teens that the booth ran out of supplies, said Deanna Leitner, public affairs field organizer with Planned Parenthood. But younger children were not allowed to make the necklaces or take free condoms.
“We were talking about condoms and being safe,” she said. “I’m certainly not doing what I’m accused of doing, which is distributing condoms to very young children.”
The presence of condoms at the fair outraged Niquita Wilkinson, 45, of Eagle Point. She said she saw two teenage girls stringing condom necklaces Tuesday night.
“It’s not a bar, it’s not a truck stop, it’s not a bowling alley,” said Wilkinson. “The fair is like the biggest kids’ thing around. It’s just not appropriate here,” she said.