No on B: But Not Because Porn Valley Doesn’t Need Fixing

Thanks to the adult industry trade group the Free Speech Coalition, thoughtful agitators like attorney Michael Fattorosi and gadfly Michael Whiteacre, and dozens of porn performers from Amber Lynne to Alia Janine to Nina Hartley to Steven St. Croix to Taylor Wane, Porn Valley has never shown so much grassroots unity and activism for a common cause: The defeat of Ballot Measure B, the so-called Safer Sex in the Adult Industry Act.

Measure B would require performers to wear condoms or barrier protection when committing penetrative arts on the vagina or anus, and would impose jail time on producers who don’t secure necessary permits from LA County.

But it is the grudging and qualified “No” vote from media outlets like the L.A. Times that will really help sink Measure B because—let’s be honest—you don’t want porn performers doing all the talking.

Watching footage of the noble-minded and truly unprecedented No on B bus tour of Hollywood this weekend doubtless made some viewers think that maybe condoms would be a good idea after all; should these people really reproduce?

(courtesy performer Lucky Starr)

The L.A. Times uses none of the personal choice, self-policing, or health arguments that the adult industry employs in its defense. Instead, the Times just says that Measure B would be unenforceable, and that a “Let’s pass it and see what happens” ploy is no way to make laws.

Performers should use condoms. Producers should encourage them to do so. But the power of law to make them do it is limited. So is the desirability of always turning to government and lawmaking to address all dangers.

L.A.’s other major newspaper group, the L.A. Daily News, urges a No vote on similar grounds (while endorsing Mitt Romney).

It is not clear that the risks caused by unprotected sex in the adult film industry, which tests actors regularly for sexually transmitted diseases, warrant the effort and expense it would take to enforce this law.

But do the Yes on B people have a point? Their own arguments about the porn industry being a disease-y cesspool are inaccurate, and the paid testimonials of former performers have been discredited (neither Darren James nor Derrick Burts contracted HIV in the L.A. porn industry—though it was industry clinic AIM that detected the disease in both men). Primary funder AIDS Healthcare Foundation has put $1.6 million into the effort, which critic Michael Whiteacre says is a ploy to line the pockets of the foundation via grants and other remunerative funding.

As usual, the truth is between the cracks. Sure porn sets (and performers) could be safer, and deserve more of a safety net. Like most contractors, they do not get health insurance or mileage reimbursement. Unlike the lowest-rung actors on a TV show, however, they also do not get residuals. And they must pay for their mandatory STD testing—should that expense be the responsibility of the performer?

But Measure B does not address those concerns.

Though the adult industry is mostly united in its opposition to Measure B, there is dissent. Georgia-based pornographer Mike South says that adult companies have had outside regulation coming for a long time—with only themselves to blame.

The thing that strikes me though is how the companies have so easily manipulated the performers to do their bidding. You see they made people who didn’t have enough sense to see it for what it is do their bidding for them.

There was also an interesting strategy debate that erupted between the Free Speech Coalition, CatalystCon founder Dee Dennis, and queer filmmakers like Courtney Trouble, Syd Blakovich, and Jiz Lee.

Performer Kylie Ireland tweeted the image below, depicting two women on a Girlfriends’ Films set enjoying sex with dental dams and gloves, which would be another requirement of a passed Measure B.

Ireland tweeted:

Oh yeah baby…THIS is the future of hot porn!

Retweeted by the FSCArmy, the picture drew the ire of pornographers who use this barrier protection either in their private lives, on their sets, or both, and who felt that their safe sex choices were being ridiculed.

Trouble tweeted:

I think it’s problematic to use these safer sex barriers in such a negative way! Im on your side, but this is how some ppl have sex

I am voting No on Measure B tomorrow, but not because I am in full agreement with its detractors or full disagreement with its promoters. I think the adult industry needs fixing, but Measure B won’t do it.

Previously on Porn Valley Observed: B is for condoms, and other illogical arguments;
See also: Free Speech Coalition, No on B, Yes on B, AIDS Healthcare Foundation

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