For the past several weeks the adult industry has been in turmoil over the outbreak of syphilis in the performer community. Many have commented on how ill timed the syphilis outbreak has been since the industry is currently in a battle over government mandated condoms being forced into use. (Note: There are other regulations that require barrier protection to be used during production of hardcore sex scenes however this article will only discuss the Ballot Measure B)
On Tuesday, November 6th voters in Los Angeles County will go to the polls and vote either for or against condoms. We are 62 days from “B-Day” and need to, as an industry, discuss this matter openly. The syphilis outbreak has certainly opened the discussion of condoms within the industry. I have talked with and have heard from more performers coming out in favor of condoms. Others, not in favor of condoms, have put forth the point that even with mandatory condoms the syphilis outbreak may not have been prevented. (Note: Syphilis may be transmitted by sores not located on the penis)
Whichever side of this debate you are on it is time to have your voice heard on this issue. My personal opinion is that performers should have the absolute right to choose to wear condoms however condoms should not be mandated by any governmental agency since I believe it violates a performer and producer’s Constitutional First Amendment rights.
Here is some information on Ballot Measure B from BallotPedia.com ( http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Los_Angeles_Porn_Actors_Required_to_Wear_Condoms_Act,_Measure_B_%28November_2012%29 )
Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation has stated his support of the measure;
“For too long, elected officials have dodged this workplace safety issue, punting the issue from city to county to state, and as a consequence, the health and safety of these workers has been neglected, often with dire consequences.”
Diane Duke, Executive Director of the Free Speech has stated;
“History has shown us that regulating sexual behavior between consenting adults does not work. The best way to prevent the transmission of HIV and other STIs is by providing quality information and sexual health service, all of which are successfully provided through adult industry protocols and best practices. Clearly AIDS Healthcare Foundation has chosen to squander its donors’ resources by filing frivolous lawsuits and ballot initiatives instead of providing valuable resources toward the prevention and treatment of HIV.”
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, supporters of the initiative, commissioned a poll in March 2012 to measure public support for the mandatory condom requirement. Their poll indicated that 63% of likely voters support the requirement;
|Date of Poll||Pollster||In favor||Opposed||Undecided||Number polled|
|March 16-23, 2012||Research Now||63%||37%||–||1,046|
As you can see from the AHF’s poll, in March 2012, thirty-seven percent (37%) of those polled did not support condoms in porn. Whether that would ring true today might be another story. The syphilis outbreak has really brought this issue to light in the mainstream press. Obviously, much of which was not positive. The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, LA Weekly, the LA Times and other newspapers and media outlets have all covered the issue of condoms in porn since at least last year. Most of the opinions I have read have been in support of the Ballot Measure B and to require condoms.
However there is also support in mainstream against Ballot Measure B – Reason.com, a Libertarian magazine, has come out against both the city and county laws. ( Please see; http://reason.com/blog/2012/08/21/syphilis-cases-lead-to-outbreak ) Reason.com has a large viewership and reaches millions of people.
Whatever your position is on the condom issue it is time to make your voice heard. There are performers and producers that prefer mandated condoms while others are against condoms under any circumstances, mandated or optional. Some producers and fans feel as though it will ruin the “fantasy” element of porn and thus not sell as well as “condomless” porn. They cite the fact that condom-free porn can be made in other states or even countries, which may put an end to the industry in Los Angeles. Some believe that if mandated condoms are required in California the industry will simply pack up and move to another state.
If you earn your income from the adult industry this issue affects you. Now is the time to speak up.