Kansas City Star Takes James Deen to Task

from www.kansascity.com – A condom is not a crime against humanity. It’s a form of protection.

But to hear James Deen, one of the porn industry’s biggest stars tell it, a new Los Angles County law requiring adult film actors to wear condoms is no different than laws banning gay marriage.

The Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act, known as Measure B, passed Tuesday in Los Angeles County. Proposed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the legislation mandates performers wear condoms and also requires porn producers to apply for a permit from the L.A. County Department of Public Health. The Free Speech Coalition, a trade group representing the adult film industry, is planning to challenge the rule.

“We are much like the homosexual, minority or female populations,” Deen told the Huffington Post. “We are a community of tax-paying and law-abiding voters who are currently being persecuted. But our opinions do matter, and I hope one day we get respect, as these previously stated groups and others have begun to receive.”

He can’t be serious. I don’t think Measure B is going too far by requiring an industry centered on sex and the promotion of it, to do so safely. Chadwick Brooks says it’s the responsible thing to do.

Chadwick is the co-founder of the Millennial League, a Kansas City organization dedicated to promoting HIV/AIDS awareness across all ages, cultures, ethnicities and genders, with a special focus on young adults. The organization is an affiliate of the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City and they are in the midst of a “Wrap It Up” campaign encouraging people to use condoms.

“I am a conservative person when it comes to government regulation,” says Chadwick, 37. “But this new law is not the same as the government coming into your bedroom and forcing you to wear a condom. Right now, there are over 700 young people between the ages of 13 and 24 that have HIV and AIDS in Kansas City. When young people are watching a film and see unprotected sex, they think it is OK. Just like we see less smoking on the big screen, this is the next step for the adult film industry. We cannot encourage things that put us at risk and promote risky behavior that could affect our health.”

I agree. I don’t think the government has the right to control our bodies. My body, my choice. But guess what? All jobs have rules and responsibilities. Firemen must wear uniforms that help protect them from fumes and flames. Nurses wear gloves and sometimes masks. Businesses don’t allow smoking indoors. And porn stars in Los Angeles County, for now, have to start wearing condoms.

You can’t liken health regulations to the fight for equality. Why shouldn’t the adult film industry be subject to health requirements? The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. One in five of those don’t know they are infected. There are some 50,000 new cases each year. In Kansas City, there are 5,700 people living with the disease.

This isn’t about porn stars and their civil rights. This is about civil responsibility.

Porn stars like Deen say that actors get tested. They contend that sets are safe.

What about the recent study released by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation? It found that about a third of the 168 adult film actors involved in the research had a previously undiagnosed STD. This industry had a syphilis scare a few months ago after porn star Mr. Marcus hid his positive test results and continued to act. A handful of actors also have tested positive for HIV over the past few years. Yes, condoms should definitely be enforced. And what’s the big deal about wrapping it up, anyway?

Chadwick says safe sex needs a makeover.

“We have to make it OK on film and in real life for condoms to be sexy,” he says. “Safe sex is sexy. It is beautiful and romantic to wear a condom.”

It is all of those things and something bigger: Safe sex is a lifesaver..

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