Gay Bareback Porn Be Gone: The Fight to Make Condoms the Law

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After a successful campaign to make condoms mandatory in porn shoots in Los Angeles County, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is teaming up with a California state assemblyman to ban bareback sex filming in the entire state.

In early February, AHF filed safety complaints against San Francisco-based bareback porn studio Treasure Island Media and twelve other porn studios for filming porn inside California borders and not using condoms in those films. Treasure Island paid nearly $22,000 in fines back in 2010.

Rep. Isadore Hall (D- Los Angeles) has now introduced legislation at the state level that would make bareback porn shoot illegal under state law. Hall’s bill, AB 332, would require a condom used in all porn filmed in California. The studios that AHF filed complaints about were all gay porn studios.

At a press conference to announce the introduction of the bill, Hall was joined by AHF President Michael Weinstein and Darren James, a former gay porn model who contracted HIV while filming safe sex and escorting. Hall said that porn actors deserve safe working conditions, just like all other California employees.

“We have an obligation to ensure that all workers, regardless of the type of work, are protected from workplace hazards and injury,” Hall said. “AB 332 will give these actors a proven way to prevent the spread of disease while creating a safer workplace for actors throughout this growing industry.”

In his website, Rep. Hall cites a study by LA county health officials that says that 23 porn performers were infected with HIV between 2004 and 2010. Out of those 23, health authorities determined that eight were likely infected as a direct result of their involvement in the porn industry.

AHF has previously targeted straight studios Vivid Entertainment and Hustler Video, making these complaints their first attack on gay porn studios. At a press conference announcing their complaints, Weinstein said he has Treasure Island in his crosshairs.

“We announced last week that we were going after Treasure Island Media, a particularly egregious and outspoken violator of Cal/OSHA safety statutes with its policy of only producing bareback DVDs,” Weinstein said.

“Today, we formally filed the complaints with OSHA and also filed complaints against a dozen other producers of gay bareback porn to press for the equal enforcement of existing state and local workplace regulatory guidelines which already require the use of condoms in their—and all—adult films produced in California.”

Two ironies strike out in Weinstein’s statement.  Several of the films listed in AHF’s complaint were not filmed inside of California. Also, AHF was accused of being hypocritical when one of AHF’s Out of the Closet thrift stores was shown to be selling bareback porn.

The social clamor over the way men and women choose to have sex doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The practice of pushing one’s sexual preferences over another’s has been a growing trend lately – specifically when it comes to bareback sex.

LGBT news website Queerty campaigned to have a “Bareback like” page on Facebook removed. Queerty writer Dan Avery said there is nothing questionable about a Facebook page for HIV-positive guys, but that he didn’t see anything about AIDS or HIV on the site except for in the “About” section.

“This is about encouraging unprotected sex between partners of unknown sero-status,” Avery wrote. “Obviously no one should be thrown in jail for that, but it does leave a bad taste in our mouth.”

Avery went on to say that his and Queerty’s feeling is that no page like Bareback has a place on Facebook, just like hate group pages that are taken down.

“Are we being too uptight or should a bareback-sex page—and one that facilitates unsafe liaisons—be allowed,” Avery added.

Queerty says the page was removed, but it is apparently still standing, with a few less likes than when the article was written.

How will regulating porn affect the billion-dollar industry’s home of Los Angeles? Will consumers make the switch to condom porn? Will a bareback black market form?

Zach Sire, blogger at gay porn news site The Sword.com, said it best: “Condoms or no condoms, the porn that people want to pay for will be made, just out of L.A. County.”

Ryan Dixon is a former porn actor who is living with HIV. He is a client of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and worked for AHF at Out of the Closet from January 2011 to April 2011.


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