It’s a subject that gets people hot and bothered, no pun intended.
It was recently announced that the city of Los Angeles is passing a ruling stating that condoms must be used on the sets of all porn shoots. It came about after a recent surge of pressure from healthcare practitioners, former and current performers, and, arguably, the media interest in this subject.
Porn is a multibillion-dollar industry, and Los Angeles – or rather, the San Fernando Valley, which is part of the greater metropolis of LA – is considered one of the biggest producers of it in the world. Various organizations have been campaigning for this regulation make condom use required by law, groups such as the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as well as certain performers in the industry who have said that the industry doesn’t care about the health and safety of their performers. The detractors have argued that this is an example of state-sanctioned censorship and a removal of their rights to free expression. Already, the mainstream media is picking up on this story, even discussing the idea that some porn producers may simply move their productions to jurisdictions where such regulations don’t exist. Companies such as Treasure Island Media, which is arguably one of the biggest producers of bareback porn in the US, wouldn't be affected by the law since it is based out of San Francisco. Does this mean everyone will move to San Fran? Or even just outside of city lines?
The problem with the regulation is that it isn’t perfect, and depending on how it is enforced – as well as who enforces it – the entire situation could quickly become moot. In fact, The Globe and Mail even reported that there already is a law on the books in California, but that it isn’t properly enforced. The Globe quotes Ged Kenslea, of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, as saying:
Let's make one thing clear: condom use on adult film sets is, and has been, the law in California under blood-borne pathogens regulations,” he said. “It is just a law that has not been uniformly enforced or followed. This film permit ordinance that the city council approved today provides another enforcement mechanism to make sure that adult film producers are complying with existing California law.”
It’s essentially the same law as those that protect actors, stunt men and others on film sets from being put in possibly harmful situations. Precautions are followed to ensure their safety. I recently had a discussion about this very subject with a friend of mine, a former sex worker and porn enthusiast who put it to me this way: “Are building contractors permitted to allow their construction workers on-site without a hard hat, safety goggles or steal-toed boots? No! And if they do, their industry’s regulatory body fines them, or worse yet, shuts down their project.”
It comes down to job security, something most people in the porn industry don’t have. Workers are workers, and workers deserve safe working conditions.