Free Condoms, Lube & Dental Dams at GSU + FAQ

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Goldsmiths Students’ Union for many years has been able to provide students with free condoms and sexual health items.

This post is intended as an information guide to what we have, a place to find some answers to some frequently asked questions and some lesser-known sexual health information.

  • HOW DO I GET FREE CONDOMS/LUBE/DENTAL DAMS AT GSU? DO I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE?

Our condoms, lube and dental dams are all readily available from the Student Union building. They are down the ramp to the left of the reception desk on the wall.

You do not need to speak to anyone or ask for permission and you can’t be seen from the reception desk or the Sabbatical Officers’ Office.

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  • WHAT ITEMS DO YOU HAVE?

Currently (though this may vary), we usually stock condoms from Durex, Mates, and Pasante. These are available while our supplies last and we can’t guarantee everything we offer will always be available.

As well as supplying standard condoms, we try to make sure we have latex-free condoms, a range of sizes (small and larger), and textured (ribbed, dotted, etc.) and flavoured when available.

Our dental dams are from Pasante and come in Flavoured (strawberry, mint, chocolate, vanilla, blueberry, banana) and Latex-Free.

If you need anymore specific information please don’t be afraid to get in touch.

  • WHAT ARE DENTAL DAMS AND HOW ARE THEY USED?

Dental dams are small, thin, squares usually made from latex (though latex-free dams are available) that can be used during oral-vaginal or oral-anal sex. The square creates a barrier that keep vaginal and anal fluids that contain bacteria and viruses away from the mouth.

Before using the dam, check it has no holes or tears, then place the dam upon the vulva or anus of your partner before engaging in oral sex.

Only use ONE SIDE of the dam; do not flip it over for another round–it will transfer fluids from one area to another and defeat the

DON’T use the same dam to alternate between vaginal and anal oral sex.

  • WHY DO YOU SUPPLY LATEX-FREE CONDOMS/DAMS?

Many people have allergies to latex. As such, we provide alternatives to latex condoms and dental dams.

  • WHAT IS NONOXYNOL-9 AND DOES THE SU CARRY ANYTHING THAT CONTAIN IT?

Nonoxynol-9, or N-9, is a spermicide that in the past had been added to the lubricant of many condoms, but is now discouraged; N-9 has been shown to not only cause internal irritation for partners who are penetrated, but the N-9 in the lube has also been known weaken the material of the condom itself. These two things in combination actually increase the chance of STIs being transferred.

NONE of the condoms or lube that GSU provides contain N-9.

  • WHY DO YOU HAVE SMALLER AND LARGER CONDOMS?

It’s important that condoms fit the user as well as possible. While condoms do stretch, if they’re too tight there’s more chance of them peeling back during intercourse. Likewise, if the condom is too large then slippage during intercourse is a possibility. To help with this, we try to provide a range of sizes.

  • IS THERE ANY INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON SEXUAL HEALTH AND LOCAL CLINICS?

Yes, the hanger which holds the condoms, lube and dental dams also has literature on local STI clinics, sexual health advice, as well as pro-choice options if you or your partner is pregnant.

The GSU website also has information on our closest health clinics. Also, on the Welfare section on our website we have pages specifically dedicated to advice on STIs, contraception, and pregnancy.

  • I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE CONFIDENTIALLY ABOUT SOMETHING RELATED TO SEXUAL HEALTH 

Contact me any time on welfare@goldsmithssu.org. If I can’t help you, I can put you in touch with someone who can.

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Why GSU Stocks White Poppies

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Each year we get questions about why white poppies are available in the GSU Shop and at reception, but not the more ubiquitous red poppies, as well as the question of why have we “banned” red poppies at Goldsmiths.

This post intends to dispel some of the myths and confusion around this topic.

  • Red Poppies Are NOT Banned At Goldsmiths

The important distinction to draw here is that while we don’t stock the red poppies ourselves, we will not stop people who wish to wear them; it is the right of individuals to choose to remember in whatever way they see fit and we do not condone the wearing of red poppies.

Throughout the month of November, red poppies will readily and easily available in a vast range of convenient access places, including train stations, shopping areas, public streets. Our opting not to stock them ourselves is not a restriction on personal choice.

  • The Reason We Stock White But Not Red

Regrettably, the meaning of the red poppy has shifted in the last decade; the rhetoric of remembrance of those lost in the First World War pre-Armistice Day has instead been replaced with the knowledge the money raised from red poppies goes to supporting service people and their families who take part in current wars and military intervention, regardless of the unjust motivations behind such current wars. Far removed from its original meaning, the wearing of the poppy shows support for these recent and current wars and is reflected very clearly in the British Legion’s “Who We Help” Page:

  • We help serving members of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force
  • We also help ex-Service men and women, their carers and families
  • Millions of people in the UK and overseas are eligible to call on us for help
  • We aim to help the 500,000 most in need
  • Half the people we help are below retirement age

The red poppy appeal is thus specifically in relation to members of the armed forces while the lives of non-service people caught within the conflict are overlooked.

Thus we opt to offer white poppies as both a symbol of remembering all who died, but also as a call against warfare.

According to the Peace Pledge Union, in the late 1920s, “A member of the No More War Movement suggested that the British Legion should be asked to imprint ‘No More War’ in the centre of the red poppies instead of ‘Haig Fund’ and failing this pacifists should make their own flowers.” As a result, in the 1930s the first white poppies for peace and against conscription were created.

The white poppy was not intended as an insult to those who died in the First World War – a war in which many of the white poppy supporters lost husbands, brothers, sons and lovers – but a challenge to the continuing drive to war.

The reason we stock white poppies is not an insult to members of the armed forces and their families, but to offer an option to remember all lives lost, not just a selection, to show a dedication to preserving lives, and a dedication to anti-war and anti-imperialist rhetoric not the glorification and national justification of current unjust warfare and military intervention.

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Student Assembly Motion – GSU Bathroom Policy

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On Tuesday October 22nd at 5:30pm, NAB LG02, we will have the first Student Assembly of the academic year where students submit and vote on policy and actions for the union.

One of the motions will be a Bathroom Policy for gendered toilets in the SU. If passed, we will also put pressure on Goldsmiths to adopt this as a college-wide policy.

GSU Bathroom Policy
Proposed by Joe Killin, Welfare & Diversity Officer 2013/14
Seconded by Howard Littler, Campaigns Officer 2013/14

 Union Notes

  1. In October 2012, GSU opened its Gender Neutral Bathroom on the ground floor of the Students’ Union building.
  2. GSU Student Assembly passed a Safe Space Policy[1]
  3. GSU Student Assembly passed policy to take a stronger stance against transphobia on campus[2].
  4. Union Resolves of GSU’s Stance on Transphobia policy includes the “To construct a comprehensive bathroom policy that ensures harassment of trans* individuals is unacceptable.”
  5. Trans* and gender variant people are far more likely to avoid using bathroom facilities if they feel unsafe. This can result in individuals avoiding using gendered facilities entirely which can lead to serious health complaints[3].

Union Believes

  1. That a Bathroom Policy will add to the aforementioned policies to further the protection of our students and staff in the Students’ Union building.
  2. A Bathroom Policy will further GSU’s dedication to equality and providing a nondiscriminatory space.
  3. Having a Bathroom Policy in place will reassure trans*, gender variant, gender non-conforming and gender non-normative students, staff and guests that their safety, well-being, and health is paramount.
  4. While a handful of Universities in America[4] have bathroom policies stating students and staff may use the gendered bathrooms of the gender the individual identifies with, this policy has not been adopted by any other university in the UK with the exception of King’s College London.[5]
  5. As an organisation, Goldsmiths Students’ Union aims to go above and beyond obligations laid out in the Equalities Act 2010[6] but to champion and lead on progressive social change.

Union Resolves

To adopt the following notes into union policy:

All students, staff and guests have the right to use a gendered bathroom that matches the gender they identify with, should they choose to, free from harassment.

Gender identity is based on self-identification and not defined by biology, genitialia or sexuality.

Self-identification is not based on how “well” someone does or does not pass[7] for the gender they identify as. Access to gendered bathrooms is therefore based solely on how the individual identifies their gender and not on how well someone passes, or how legible they are as gender non-conforming/gender non-normative.

Students and staff whose gender identities do not match their gender assigned at birth should not be pressured into any facility they do not wish to use. This includes being pressured to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they were assigned at birth, disabled/accessible toilets, or gender neutral bathrooms.

Anyone accused of harassment of students, staff or guests will be conisdered as having breached Goldsmiths Students’ Union’s Safe Space Policy and will be subjected to the same disciplinary procedures.


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New ~Gendered~ Kinder Egg Experiment!

While I was originally going to make my first blog post be about all the things I’ve gotten up to in the past few months (it’s still going to happen), but instead on my way into the office this morning I noticed something strange in the shop…

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Now, I am getting on a bit, but I don’t remember Kinder Eggs being pink and blue coloured, and seemingly this move has been in the news for about a month or so, but this was the first time I’d seen it. And it was very striking to notice. I was compelled, therefore, to do an experiment and see what was inside. It was totally not so we could eat a load of chocolate first thing this morning…

Continue reading

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