wrapping it up

Is It California’s Prerogative Whether Porn Stars Wear Condoms?

condomsgraf

Gay porn stars often get the blame for spreading The HIV in the adult film industry, because HIV is the gay disease, naturally. But gay porn stars — minus the barebackers at ActiveDuty.com and elsewhere — are also the ones wearing condoms so often. Gay porn entrepreneurs, like Michael Lucas and Chi Chi LaRue, make very concerted efforts about mandatory condom usage and testing. Straight adult performers, meanwhile, can be seen in endless new releases going without the latex, because the gals are all on the pill, and, so goes the thinking, these men and women can’t possibly transmit HIV, right? Of course not. Which is why state workplace regulators might just make condom use in porn a requirement.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board is considering a request, submitted yesterday by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, to legally require porn stars to wrap it up on the job. That’s a very big deal, considering California is the epicenter of the porn industry.

And in California OSHA’s 60 day review period, we’re going to hear cries from the porn industry that requiring condoms would, in fact, be a violation of their First Amendment rights, which protects the very “expression” of porn in the first place. But it’s also OSHA’s job to prevent occupational hazards in the workplace, and the transmission of HIV (and other nasty STDs) could very well qualify.

But we’re a bit split on the issue.

Do we support the right to create and distribute porn? Absolutely. Do we support safe practices on the job? Definitely. Do we think it’s the government’s job to enforce condom usage? Eh, we’re not so sure.

But then we asked ourselves a different question: Wouldn’t we expect OSHA to, say, prohibit furniture manufacturing employees from being exposed to unshielded buzz saws? Even if the furniture manufacturing industry promised us it was being super-duper safe and warning employees not to get too close to an exposed blade? Of course.