It’s time that the adult industry as a whole takes a stand for our first amendment rights and fights back. If we don’t, we will be the latest victims in the long crusade by those in power to erode our individual rights as citizens, taxpayers and consenting adults.
Few of the industry newbies know the individuals who went to jail fighting for our right to produce adult films legally, without the threat of imprisonment based on the morals of a select minority. Larry Flynt and Russ Hampshire to name a few. It’s time they learned what’s at stake here. It’s not just about their wallets. This is about our freedom to choose, our freedom from being unduly prosecuted, and our reedom from being lied about by the mainstream media. Now is the time to resist potential government mandates regarding what we can and cannot do with our bodies and packaged under the guise of ‘what’s best for the public’.
There are many things I have to say about this topic but I will narrow it down to three things:
1) The adult industry is being unfairly targeted and the individuals working in it, from the producers down to the talent, could potentially be turned into criminals.
2) Michael Weinstein is helping to perpetuate one of the biggest frauds to the public, city and county officials and the media.
3) The importance of this ruling carries the same historical importance as birth control, abortion and the right to die.
If you don’t know, here’s a recap-
A ballot measure asking Los Angeles County voters whether porn actors should be required to wear condoms during filming has received enough signatures to qualify for the November election, according to a county elections official.
Whether or not it actually gets to the November voting booth remains to be seen. It could very well be turned away.
Questions as to whether or not voters would pass it are moot. With the political tide in California; shifting from conservative to liberal and back again, it’s anyones guess as to how they might vote. Especially since the rights of gay couples to be recognized alongside heterosexual couples as married was challenged and overturned a few years ago. Porn has been a hot button topic between politicos and the neo-conservative movement and the adult industry for many years.
But this time around, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has succeeded in getting the measure this far by participating in the biggest fraud in the last 30 years. The fraudulent concept that safe sex exists and can achieved in the ‘porn workplace’ through the use of condoms. He believes that forcing performers to wear condoms will reduce the numbers of infections, to what number I don’t know. He claims passing this measure would make it safe, not only for the workers in the industry but for the public as well. What exactly is he saying? That sex with a performer in the adult industry will have less risk level as someone who isn’t? Is he saying that the public is more conscientious about their sexual behavior and health than the adult industry? The only way to lower your risk is to abstain from sex. Period. Is this what he is saying? Is he promoting abstinence like the Catholic Church does? The way I see it, he doesn’t have his story straight.
Lets look at the restaurant food industry. In California last year 24% of the reported cases of food poisoning stemmed from food workers and their lack of hygiene. Over 6,000 cases. Yet, there is no law requiring them to wear gloves in the workplace or to cover their mouths and hair in the workplace. Because pathogens can come from anywhere on the body, especially the mouth and hair. No law passed but still the public continues to get sick. Why no law for them?
Last year alone, there were 29 deaths attributed to e coli and salmonella bacteria in the U.S. but still no laws requiring gloves to be used. The public continues to get sick because of these incidents. Why are they requiring performers to wear condoms when they aren’t requiring an industry with a higher number cases (including death) to acquire the same protection they are demanding from the adult industry. There has never been an STD outbreak in the public that came from the adult industry. Never.
Willingly or not, he has managed to reinvigorate the conservative’s fight against pornography by taking the issue from one of morality (as originally promoted by the right) to an issue of health and safety in the workplace for the performers. In addition to that, the city council has acted as if they were truly concerned for the safety of the public.
This is the argument that Michael Weinstein is using. That somehow the industry actions and behaviors are a threat to the public. He’s wrong. It’s actually the other way around.
Weinstein said Wednesday, “This industry is sending out the wrong message about safer sex.” I guess we are, along with Hollywood studios, sending out the wrong messages when celebrating unprotected teen sex, drug use and alcohol abuse in blockbuster movies such as X Factor, 21 Jump Street, Superbad, Dazed & Confused, and Easy A. But you don’t see anyone trying to get condoms to be shown all the time in every sex scene in every movie. It’s because it’s entertainment. Like boxing, football and MMA. There are protocols in place to diminish the risk of infections, injury or death for the officials and participants and but in the end there is only so much you can do. That is why these athletes and their agents negotiate such big paydays for them. They know the risk and they choose to make their own choice as to what they want to do.
AIDS activists and supporters of the measure say that porn stars are at a high risk of contracting HIV and other STDs. As opposed to people not in porn? The risks are the same. The difference is that every thirty days, industry performers know their medical status by being tested. Yes, the test only shows whether they have been exposed to STD or bacterial infections in the past thirty days and is not a guarantee that you will not be exposed to anything in the next thirty days. No one ever said that getting tested was preventative against future infection. Getting tested was about being aware so you can make your own choices.
It is with much more frequency that we test than the average sexually active person. Prior to me getting in the business, my tests for STD’s were far too infrequent for a young sexually active man. Each month for the last nineteen years, I have always known my status in that regard.
The times when the industry has been exposed to HIV infection within its ranks, happened when a non professional person outside of the business, who had no idea as to their medical status, had HIV and exposed the performer to it. Obviously that person had no idea as their status, unlike the performer who did know their own. It seems that the industry needs to be protected from people who go about having sex without any idea on how to manage, be aware and maintain their own sexual health.
The biggest fraud in the last thirty years is that condoms prevent STD’s. There has never been a study that showed, beyond a doubt, that a person infected with an STD did not pass it to another person solely because they used a condom. Why? Because there has never been a study done in the first place!
There are two types of sexual infections; bacterial and viral. Bacterial infection can stem from anywhere on the human body. Meaning, you can put a condom on your penis but the partner can have the bacteria elsewhere and that condom wouldn’t prevent transmission.
STDs are frequently passed through “skin to skin” contact even when condoms are used. This can happen because the bacterial or viral germs that cause many serious STDs (such as human papilloma virus, chlamydia, herpes, and syphilis) do not infect just one place on your body. They may infect anywhere in the male or female genital areas.
The good news is that the bacterial infections can be treated with medicine.
With viral infections, condoms have been scientifically proven to be incapable of preventing the spread of debilitating and deadly viruses such as hepatitis C, herpes, HPV and HIV. Why?
Because the condom was designed for family planning (to strain sperm, not viruses.) A condom is made of rubber (latex), a hydrocarbon compound with polymerization, which means that it is fibrous and porous like woven cloth. By means of an electronic microscope the pores of the condom can be seen in a non-stretched state with a diameter of 3,500 microns.while the HIV virus has a diameter of 5 microns, herpes 180 microns, hepatitis 42 microns and HPV 45 microns. The equivalent of passing a ping-pong ball through a basketball hoop. When the condom is stretched the pores of the condom are 10 times as wide as that of the virus; in other words, the virus can go through the wall of the condom. Pinholes in condoms is a serious issue and may be an important factor contributing to the failure of condoms to offer 100% protection rate against HIV and other infectious diseases.
“As someone who is still working on camera myself, I don’t feel any safer with condoms,” actress Nina Hartley said.
The evidence is so compelling that the CDC emphatically states that condoms DO NOT PROTECT against viral infections, such as in the case of HPV.
This maybe why the anti-AIDS campaign in the United States went from trumpeting the Safe Sex Use Condoms message to quietly advising other methods.
Requiring performers to use condoms in scenes is not the solution. Making the producers, directors and the talent subject to fines and civil judgements is not the way to handle this.
SO WHAT IS THIS REALLY ABOUT?
It’s about control. Government mandates that control behavior amongst consenting adults. Psychological control by continuing to promote a method of obedience because “we” (those in political positions of power) know what is best for you the private citizen. A chipping away of individual rights in our country that we allowed when we didn’t question our elected officials about the legality of the Patriot Act. They used a tragic event (a highly improbable attack), to create more fear amongst the public ( I don’t want myself or my family to die on a plane or terrorist attack) to coerce the public into giving up their right to choose (ALL bags are subject to search; ALL passengers are subject to bodily search IF WE DEEM IT NECESSARY).
The same events are being used against us. An extremely low percentage event ( HIV infection amongst a relatively controlled pool of people) to create fear among the public (“you’re daughter could get HIV if she fucks a porn star at The Saddle Ranch, you don’t want that to happen, do you?”) to coerce the public to give up their right to choose ( yeah condoms for porn stars!..wait, whatta ya mean I have to wear one too?…with my wife?? But she has an allergy to latex? I’ve been with her for 20 years, I’m not wearing a condom when she decides after a few margarita’s she wants to try anal sex!! This never happens to me! Stay out of my bedroom, Uncle Sam!!)
The importance of this potential vote is two fold. Our right to choose what we will and will not do with our bodies. Whether it’s drugs, smoking, drinking, steroids, abortion or birth control, it is our right to choose what we want or don’t want. Secondly, where the argument is postulated that government knows best as opposed to self regulation by the private sector; in this case the adult industry. These two points will make the historical impact of the following decision something that we will point to in the future and say, “That’s where we failed miserably or fought bravely for our rights as individuals.”
My point is this: having the public vote on a matter that has no bearing on them is wrong. They are not invested in this matter the way we are. A better way to propose safety in the work place would be to offer to make it a law that requires a disclaimer at the beginning of every movie that states “It is the viewers responsibility to access their own personal health and safety along with their partners when it comes to sexual relations and that what you see on screen in no way is to be taken or interpreted as a safe exchange of bodily fluids according to known medical science which may lead to bacterial and viral pathogens being exchanged between partners.”
It’s not perfect but it’s a start. And it allows all involved to exercise our right to choose and our freedom of expression.
Write your local council member. Attend one of the three hearings a week and speak your mind regarding this illegal action.
Here is the ballot petition-
Read part 3 of compliance & enforcement Section D