Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny. ~ Edmund Burke
Performers Organize Buses, Carpools to May 21st Hearings
LOS ANGELES — The Cal/OSHA board meets in San Diego next Thursday morning to review proposed set regulations, including mandated condoms, and adult performers are anxious to be part of the conversation.
“We’re the most important part of this discussion, and yet we’re routinely shut out,” says Maitresse Madeline Marlowe, who is helping organize transportation for performers who wish to be at the hearing. “We want to make sure the regulations Cal/OSHA issues reflect our needs and reflect our experiences. Attending the hearing is crucial for us.”
The Cal/OSHA meeting on Thursday, May 21, will address workplace safety in the adult industry, including the issues of mandatory testing, vaccination, condoms and medical record keeping. Draft regulations issued last year went even further, suggesting that adult performers might be required to wear goggles to avoid ocular infections, and dental dams for oral sex.
The new regulatory push is largely the brainchild of Michael Weinstein, head of the controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has battled adult performers over mandatory condoms for over five years. Last year, Weinstein called adult performers a threat to public health, and suggested that they transmit STIs to the general public.
Performers are tested every fourteen days for a slate of STIs, including HIV. Performers have long argued that they should have the option of requesting a condom, but that it shouldn’t be mandatory. Many complain that on long shoots, condoms can be painful for both partners. Other performers fear that mandatory condom regulations will lead producers to abandon the testing system altogether, or encourage other productions to go underground, without testing or condoms.
“We’re being made scapegoats in one man’s moral panic,” says April Flores, who is helping to organize the buses. “For Weinstein to say he speaks for adult performers is not only incorrect, it’s patronizing and sexist. We’re not opposed to regulation, but we need to have a seat at the table to discuss what our real issues are. We’re looking at a ‘cure’ that is way more dangerous to the safety of adult performers than anything we face on set.”
While many performers will be driving down and carpooling to the San Diego hearing, Marlowe is also organizing transportation, including buses from downtown LA, for others who would like to attend the hearings, but don’t want to drive. For information on the hearing, or to reserve a seat on a bus, contact Maitresse Madeline at firstname.lastname@example.org, or reach out to Madeline or April on Twitter: @maitressem or @theaprilflores.