Condoms Now Mandatory On Porn Sets
Posted by Daniel Antolin on Jan 18, 2012 - 8:11:21 AM
Photo courtesy of The L.A. Times
SHERMAN OAKS—On Tuesday, January 17, the Los Angeles City Council voted 9-1 to require adult filmmakers who are issued permits by the city to protect their performers from sexually transmitted diseases by providing them with condoms.
Ordinance language states that porn filmmakers will have to provide their actors with condoms and accompanying silicone-based lubricants on the set when they simulate sex, during anal and vaginal sex, and when ejaculation occurs outside of their bodies. It reinforces a state regulation that already required condom protection for porn stars.
The council decision comes less than a year after the Adult Industry Medical (AIM) Foundation in Sherman Oaks permanently shut its doors as a result of financial hardship tied to a lack of confidence by adult film actors in its STD testing services. Even with testing, supporters in attendance during the first reading of the ordinance elaborated on how unsafe and unfair being a porn star can be without condom use.
Brian Chase with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) said he has spoken with many adult film performers, most of them young girls, scared about the conditions they have to work under and fearing that they will lose work if they speak out.
Derrick Burts, who was briefly a porn actor in 2010, said filmmakers told him to rely on testing every 30 days, not condoms, to remain healthy. After a few months, Burts said he contracted HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes, and that he was neglected when it came to followup care.
"If you think about it, during that 30-day time frame you have another 30 days where you could get herpes or chlamydia or HIV and go out there and spread it to other performers, who are also having sex in our personal lives," Burts said. "It became a huge political battle of them feeling like they're above the law that's already in place, that condoms are already required, yet they're not following it."
AIM has said that Burts contracted HIV from off-set coitus.
Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke, who sees the ordinance as an
attempt at government overreach, said via her blog that mandatory condom
use will not make porn stars safer. If anything, it will compromise
their health by infringing on the industry's current standards and
protocols, she said.
Paul Koretz, who represents L.A.'s Fifth District including Sherman Oaks, and 11th District Councilmember Bill Rosendahl backed Council President Herb J. Wesson's ordinance. Koretz said its passage was common sense and the right thing to do.
11th District Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. Photo courtesy of his office.
Koretz also made the argument that the ordinance's passage will save the more than $4 million that it would have cost to decide the matter in an election supported via petition by about 2,000 people. He said the money would have been spent in vain because any issue that achieves this rare feat is often seen as common sense and universally accepted.
Rosendahl said the ordinance's passage was more personal than it was about saving money.
"I lost my first partner Christopher Lee Blowman 16 years ago, and he was a young beautful soul. During the AIDS epidemic in the '80s and the '90s, I lost hundreds of my dearest friends and I will never recover frankly, personally, from the loss of such beautiful people," Rosendahl said.
"Not only was it a death sentence, but people came out of their closet, and most people didn't know that gay people are everywhere," Rosendahl said. "The line that 'I never knew anyone was gay' has disappeared because they are everywhere. We're part of society, we're part of the world and we demand our basic civil human rights."
Duke claims that Koretz and Rosendahl supported the ordinance because they have received campaign contributions from AHF's president.
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