Update From the Trenches: The Free Speech Coalition Summit on Measure B
I work in the sex industry; pleasure is my business. It’s a different answer than what most people expect when they ask me what I do for a living or ask me where I work? When I answer, most people smile insinuatingly and/or giggle nervously. Some folks think that it doesn’t sound like work or doesn’t sound like real work at all. Or that it’s a frivolous or sinister pursuit. Some people have even expressed that people who work in the adult industry must not be able to get work elsewhere or that they don’t have a real career or true vocation or remotely even a noble profession to speak of. They couldn’t be more wrong. Most of us are college educated, we have worked in the tech industry, the health care industry, other industries, some of us have PhD’s, we are authors, educators, and business people. We are parents and contributing community members. We are religious and we are atheists. We are radically liberal and we are moderately conservative. We are just like you.
I work very hard to support my family and the business I help operate and run has been at the forefront of the feminist and sexual revolution since 1977. Good Vibrations was founded on one guiding principle: women deserve pleasure. Personally I have heard from people who have told me that I helped make their lives better, healthier, and deeply changed. When you are connected to the pleasure centers of your life and you have wholly integrated deep connection throughout all parts of your life, then you truly lead a more satisfying and healthier life. I am proud of the industry I work in.
The adult industry has been in the trenches fighting for free speech, constitutional rights, reproductive rights, women’s health care, sexual liberation, and sexual health education for decades… it’s an industry full of folks who have taken bullets, served jail time, fought in the courts, organized and done grass roots activism and taken care of their own.
The Free Speech Coalition Summit in LA yesterday held at the Sofitel Hotel was amazing, provoking, enlightening and featured some of the most hard working and generous spirits our industry has to offer. The Free Speech Coalition is the moral compass of our industry and fights daily against government oppression and unconstitutional legislation. The FSC is a trade organization in the adult industry that acts as watchdog, spokesperson, and advocate. Diane Duke, the Executive Director also has a history working for the Human Rights Commission and Planned Parenthood. She is a tireless and fearless fighter for social justice.
I have immense appreciation and respect for women like Diane Duke as well as jessica drake, Susan Colvin, and Theresa Flynt who all attended the Summit yesterday and were awarded at the reception afterwards for their contributions and tireless efforts in the realm of women’s pleasure, sexual health, and freedom. In a world where women can be stoned to death for ‘sex offenses’ and in a country where women’s reproductive rights were at the center of the recent presidential debates, it was inspiring to discuss the current hot button issue affecting the industry today:
Measure B passed by 55% majority vote in LA County on Tuesday, November 6th. On the surface who wouldn’t be in support of safe sex? But as you dig deeper and see the fiscal impact of this legislation and see how the adult industry was clearly targeted in order to politicize an issue for the opposition’s gain, you start to realize it’s a bigger issue than just supporting safe sex.
Personally, I do not believe in the government legislating what should happen between two consenting adults who want to engage in legal sexual activity. There is already an STD testing system in place with accessible results for the adult performer community to protect themselves and proportionally this is one population who has the lowest percentage of infections transmitted. The adult industry is being made a target by the AIDS Health Foundation and this will put a huge burden of resources and a heavy fiscal impact on local health and city officials who already have slashed budgets in order to monitor and implement this measure. The logistical nightmare of enforcing this is just beginning to be realized.
Yes ‘safe sex is hot sex’…. I came of age during the 80’s and early 90’s when queer activism was the vanguard around AIDS activism and sexual politics. No self-respecting dyke left the house without a supply of dental dams and condoms just in case you got lucky. The presumption in this revolutionary time was you were going to have sex and like a good girl or boy scout you had to be prepared!
HIV and AIDS has personally affected my life. I have lost dear friends to AIDS and I have people close to me living with HIV. Other STI’s are on the rise as well and at Good Vibrations we talk to people every day about how to protect their bodies when using certain toys and engaging in certain sexual practices. Should I send someone to their house and police them and make sure they are doing what I told them? No, I don’t think so.
Why isn’t AHF protesting at college campuses or the World Health Organization to make condoms free and accessible to populations here and abroad that are definitely impacted by unsafe sex practices? Why target a community and industry that already self regulates, has a rigorous testing procedure in place, and that includes some studios who already showcase condom use?
Safe sex should be taught in every freshmen college campus across the country and condoms should be readily available in every bathroom in every bar from San Francisco to Timbuktu and back.
Measure B is a hot button issue targeted at a specific demographic to get political results…I am not quite sure that the head of AHF really cares about the livelihood of porn performers. If he really did then he would have put a measure on the ballot about pensions and union work conditions…not condoms. All major LA newspapers and several cities’ chamber of commerce were in support of the adult industry.
What will happen with this? Only time will tell.