Condom Use in Pornography Production Becomes Law in Los Angeles
Los Angeles has become the first city in the nation requiring performers use condoms while shooting adult films in areas that require permits.
It started with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which in December gathered some 71,000 signatures in support of the initiative to mandate condoms. This is no small victory for the AHF, which has been battling the adult industry for years over practices that they consider pose a needless risk to performers.
Photo by Corey Ann.
The adult industry disagrees vehemently, contending that their self-regulation --- which requires performers to test for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) every 28 days -- is sufficient.
They point out that there have only been ten cases of HIV in the industry since 2005.
Jeffrey Douglas, chair of the Free Speech Coalition, a group that lobbies for adult entertainment rights, told the LA Weekly, "In all of the tens of thousands of unprotected sex acts [since 2005], there is only one documented occasion where someone transmitted HIV on the set."
Sex worker activists contend that while the industry has its issues, change should come from within. Efforts from outside of the industry by people who do not understand the concerns of those within have historically hurt performers more than helped them.
They cite the law 18 U.S.C. § 2257, which, in order to protect minors from being exploited in pornography, requires that all performers submit copies of state-issued identification at the time of shooting.
Copies of performer IDs are then submitted to "any person who produces, assembles, manufactures, publishes, duplicates, reproduces, or reissues a book, magazine, periodical, film, videotape, or digitally- or computer-manipulated image, picture, or other matter intended for commercial distribution that contains a visual depiction of an actual human being engaged in actual or simulated sexually explicit conduct, or who inserts on a computer site or service a digital image of, or otherwise manages the sexually explicit content of a computer site or service that contains a visual depiction of, an actual human being engaged in actual or simulated sexually explicit conduct."
This means that everyone involved in the creation and distribution of adult content must be given the personal information of hundreds of performers, exposing the latter to the unnecessary risk of harassment, abuse and identity theft.
But the AHF will not be persuaded that the industry knows better, and, after the support they received for their initiative, neither does the L.A. City Council. It was the overwhelming support that the condom measure received that prompted the City Council to vote on it, so certain were they that voters would approve it come June when it was put on the ballot.
The move by the Council to vote on the measure would spare the city the $4 million ballot cost, and while at first they came one vote shy of adopting the measure, last week they got nine, one more than the required eight to adopt the initiative. On Monday, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the initiative -- called the City of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Industry Act -- into law.
The law will go into effect 41 days after the City Clerk posts the ordinance publicly.