Sex Workers Ask Cali Lawmakers to 'Keep Adult Performers Safe' by Rejecting Mandatory Condom Bill

By | May 21, 2014

The California Assembly is moving on
rules to establish
compulsory condom use
for adult film peformers. Tomorrow the
Assembly’s Appropriations Committee will vote on
AB 1576
, a bill that would require condoms in porn sex scenes,
along with other industry “safety” measures, including “the
provision of condom-safe water-based or silicone-based lubricants
to facilitate the use of condoms.”  

The bill also mandates that porn production companies keep
confidential employee health records indefinitely, use “plastic and
other disposable materials” to clean sets, and provide all
employees with a safety training program. It does not “require
condoms, barriers, or other personal protective equipment to be
visible in the final product of an adult film.” 

In other words, there’s little way for California officials to
monitor or enforce adherence to the condom rule aside from sporadic
checks on porn production studios. The bill also seems packed with
enough random regulatory requirements to allow health officials to
selectively make life miserable for any adult film company they
feel like harassing.

Pitched as a measure to protect porn performers, AB 1576 has
almost exclusively drawn harsh criticism from this
constituency. Hundreds have signed a petition asking Assembly
members to “keep adult performers safe” and vote no on AB 1576. On
Twitter and other social media, sex workers have been speaking out
usiing the hashtag #StopAB1576.

Tim Valenti, CEO of the gay porn site NakedSword,
called the bill “nothing less than a full-frontal assault on the
rights” of adult film performers. “It requires they turn over
sensitive medical information about their HIV status to anyone they
work for, including—in a last-minute addition added to the bill
last night—a forced waiver of their right to medical privacy,”
Valenti
wrote
in a May 15 blog post (NSFW): 

The bill also puts an incredible burden on performers who choose
to produce their own films. Under the law, even a monogamous gay
couple using webcam from their own home could be prosecuted for not
wearing a condom, regardless of whether they do it in their private
life or not. They’d also be required to test every fourteen days,
to maintain filing cabinets of medical records, and a log detailing
every penetration in which they engaged. It’s sexually
Orwellian.

This isn’t a healthcare bill, it’s a moral crusade that uses HIV
to scare legislators.

In the last 10 years, there have been at least 350,000
condom-less sex scenes shot by the professional porn industry and

not a single on-set HIV transmission
.

At the blog Tits and Sass, the porn
performer, AIDS activist, and HIV test counselor Cyd
Nova explains
the porn industry’s strict protocols
 when it comes to
testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Performers who
don’t use condoms undergo routine testing every 14 days, with any
positive results triggering a temporary industry-wide shutdown
while others are tested.

Apart from the testing requirements of the job, porn performers
are educated and self-aware about disease transmission. We know
that becoming infected with an STI will affect our job as well
as our sex partners’ jobs, and most people act accordingly….

As a longtime sex worker, seeing one more ‘save-a-ho’ measure
that will do more harm than good is extremely disheartening. Anyone
in the porn industry understands that this bill passing will have
the following effect: The larger porn companies will move, most
likely to Las Vegas, while the law-abiding smaller porn companies
that can’t move or cover the expenses that this new bill will bring
in will fold. I am concerned that what will emerge is an
underground porn industry that will provide less access to safer
sex tools to workers, along with all the other issues that pop up
once increased criminalization occurs in a sector of the sex
industry.

After clearing the California Assembly’s Arts &
Entertainment Committee 4-1 last week, AB 1576 heads to the
Appropriation Committee for a hearing Wednesday. This isn’t the
first time California lawmakers have tried to force porn stars to
wear condoms. Last year, a previous porn-condom bill, AB
640, died
in the Appropriations Committee
.

In 2012, Los Angeles County voters passed a ballot
measure requiring condoms
in any porn shot within county
limits. Reason TV explored the L.A. measure in the video below:

Category: Liberty
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