#STOPAB1576

This post is about: LGBTQ, Sex and Gender, Sexuality
This post mentions: , , , , , |
A desert landscape with a Welcome to Nevada sign

On the other hand, support AB1576 if you are a fan of tumbleweeds in porn.

 

The future of queer porn is in jeopardy. 

In summary: AB1576 is a bill being voted on in CA to not only mandate that condoms be worn in porn, but also requires strict and expensive testing protocols.

While I appreciate the concern for performers’ safety, this law ignores several key factors. Several are quickly outlined at that link, but one of the things that bothers me most is the astoundingly heteronormative and cisnormative assumptions made about what performers’ bodies look like and how they function. I work for Pink & White Productions, and even though we’ve always provided performers with every kind of barrier and safer-sex product imaginable (hell, we’ll let you leave your clothes on if you want), it’s difficult to tell just how this law would apply to the bodies and actions of our performers.

It’s also detrimental to queer porn in another way: Every queer porn company is a small business. Every last one of us already wishes we could pay performers more, shoot more, and in general grow as a voice within the adult industry as a whole. In spite of the challenges, we have effected positive change in the industry – given time, I believe our ethical practices regarding truly allowing performers to choose to use barriers will also spread.

This bill will effectively set us all back years, by requiring us to pay for and keep records of expensive tests. One producer has said it will double their production costs. At best, these companies (including my employers) will have to start filming out-of-state, which is also an expensive prospect.

And of course, I’ve got a pony in this race – my primary income is from the work I do for queer porn studios, and there’s likely to be a lot less of that work if this goes through.

Meanwhile, the large studios this bill is really targeted at will shrug, throw some money at the problem, and continue with business as usual. Once again, a law written with the intention of “saving” people who did not ask to be saved will have the opposite effect: The companies with truly progressive practices will be hurt, and the companies that refused to allow performers to use barriers on-camera will simply move elsewhere and continue to thrive.

The best thing you can do right now is use this link to send a fax to the people considering the bill. It won’t take long. I did it in in just a minute or two.

Thanks.

PS: For more thorough discussions of the bill and its effects, read these posts:

http://pinkwhite.biz/keep-queer-porn-legal-in-california/

http://www.pinklabel.tv/on-demand/the-price-of-cum-in-california-hidden-costs-of-ab-1576-mandatory-condom-bill/

http://crashpadseries.com/queer-porn/2014/stop-ab-1576-mandatory-condoms-in-porn/

http://jizlee.com/safer-sex-in-queer-porn-and-the-condom-debate/

READ MORE - Leave a comment

Frequently Asked Queers: Customer Service Concerns

This post is about: LGBTQ, Sex and Gender, Sexuality, Tech
This post mentions: , , , , , , |

Support

If you’ve ever requested tech support from CrashPadSeries.com or PinkLabel.tv, you’ve spoken with me. Customer support is arguably the most important yet least glamorous part of my job, and it’s something I’ve developed a lot of personal philosophy around. In most industries, tech support boils down to simple customer retention, but on a porn site I think there’s more to consider.

How you treat your performers is considered a key tenet of ethical and feminist porn production. I’m arguing that how you treat your customers is, as well.

What follows is a slightly modified excerpt from If You Build It They Will .ComWebsite Development & Troubleshooting, a presentation first given on April 6 2014 by Jiz Lee and myself to the attendees of the Feminist Porn Conference at the University of Toronto. The entire presentation handout is available as part of Pink & White Productions’ Crash Course series.

READ MORE - Leave a comment

Feminist Porn Week 2014: A Recap

This post is about: Film, Kyriarchy, Sexuality
This post mentions: , , |

Photo courtesy KristyBoyce.com

It’s been five days since Kitty O’Possum and I returned from Toronto’s Feminist Porn Awards and the second Feminist Porn Conference, and I still don’t feel up to writing this recap. It was fantastic, eye-opening, scary, funny, heart-breaking… and yeah, sexy as hell. I got to meet people I’ve admired for years, made incredible new friends, and reconnected with some old ones. I watched my first porn shoot in-person (and accidentally turned up in the behind the scene footage), gave my first public presentation as a professional web developer, and hugged more people in a weekend than in my entire life prior. I also caught a cold.

It’s a lot to process. The cold doesn’t help.

READ MORE - Leave a comment

Monster Factory

This post is about: Kyriarchy, Sex and Gender
This post mentions: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A drawing of a man with a monstrous mask. Part of the mask is impaling his chest.

 

TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses two extreme examples of sexual assault and includes details of the crimes.

Ariel Castro is dead. After being sentenced to life and 1000 years beyond, he was allowed to hang himself in his cell after being denied examination by a psychologist who would almost certainly have recommended suicide watch.

It’s easy to hate men like Ariel Castro, and hate him we did. His crimes were so great that agreeing to the destruction of the house he committed them in was part of his plea bargain… and the companies that tore it down did so for free. So great we constructed a sentence that reads like something from Arabian Nights, and the internet howls now that he’s denied it to us. Everything about the man seemed custom-made for a prime-time crime drama.

Without mistake, Ariel Castro was a fundamentally broken human being. That’s not in debate. We are right to be outraged by the indescribably awful crimes he committed against Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Gina DeJesus, as well as Berry’s daughter (who will one day have to construct an understanding of her birth and childhood within that prison). We’re right to be enraged by his unrepentant arrogance in the courtroom, his blame of porn and the survivors themselves for his sins. If anyone has ever deserved hate it was Ariel Castro.

But if we, as spectators, are going to hate Castro, we must understand why and we must do so in context. I don’t think we are. As news spread of the man’s death, something about the angry words spilling across social media and news sites feels false to me. We’re using our hate to hide from something deeper.

Here’s what stood out to me most: On CNN’s site, a short piece on his suicide called him a “monster.”

What, then, are Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond? Remember them?

READ MORE - Leave a comment

Merry Sizzlepissmas and a Halogen Holiday

This post is about: Art
This post mentions: , , , |

Abstract art of an opossum, with the words "Merry Sizzlepissmas and a Halogen Holiday"

A Story of Sizzlepissmas

There are many stories of Sizzlepiss, the great albino opossum of long nights, cold blood, and false death. Sizzlepiss, all-mother, all-eater, blessed are thy teensy feet! Ea! Ea!

Here come this tale.

READ MORE - Leave a comment

The Mathematics of Human Loss

This post is about: Kyriarchy, Sex and Gender
This post mentions: , , , , , , , , , , , |

30 distorted images of a fairy, arranged randomly

Trigger Warning: This post sums up some of my thinking in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary murder-suicide. As such, it discusses the murder of women and children. In order to explain how stricter gun regulation can lessen tragedies like this, I go into detail about the number and kind of wounds inflicted while comparing the weapons the shooter used to weapons intended only for hunting, because it is a necessary discussion. Please understand it was as disturbing for me to research and write as it is for you to read about.

Playing in one tab of my browser, two women talk about the sex they just had in front of a live camera for CrashPadSeries.com. What was fun, what was challenging, why they “do porn.” Lots of laughter, giggling, smiles. Two healthy, happy human beings that enjoy what they do.

In another tab, I’m reading with increasing horror about a tragedy that is beyond comprehension. Someone has opened fire on an elementary school, and the number dead is expected to be in the dozens, with the majority painfully young children.

The video continues to play – I don’t think to stop it and, in hindsight, I believe their afterglow is keeping me together. One of the two women says “A lot of you know more sex workers than you probably think you do, because we aren’t always out — it’s a scary world out there for sex workers.”

And the juxtaposition hits like a drug. America is a nation that vilifies sex and glorifies guns. These two people are shamed for who they are and what they do despite hurting no-one, while others become millionaires selling increasingly deadly munitions. We invest tax dollars and legislation into prosecuting and imprisoning sex workers, while mental health care remains a stigmatized privilege few want to discuss and fewer can afford.

I continue to avoid telling my family I develop and manage websites for queer and feminist porn producers, despite it being the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. Meanwhile, a close relative’s fierce love of guns and paranoia about legislation restricting them is inescapable in any conversation.

2012 is ending, and everything is broken and backwards.

READ MORE - 5 Comments

Jiz the Season

This post is about: Art, LGBTQ, Sexuality
This post mentions: , , , , , |

Abstract Painting of Jiz Lee

Did this portrait for friend and colleague Jiz Lee, genuinely one of the nicest people I am aware of. It benefits from a closer look — click to enlarge.

Jiz does a project called Karma Pervs, which is brilliant: You get amazing erotic art, and the money goes to non-profits like  Sex Worker Outreach Project. It’s a win-win.

READ MORE - Leave a comment

Copyright is not for You

This post is about: Art, Kyriarchy, Pop Culture
This post mentions: , , , , |

Forgive me another “response to a Facebook hoax” post, but the recent “protect your profile by posting a copyright notice” nonsense gave me a reminder of just how poorly most Americans understand their own copyright laws.

It’s often assumed that, because I’m an artist that creates intellectual property, I support strict copyright enforcement. I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone claimed my work as their own and profited from it, and it would be great to have accessible legal recourse in a situation like that. I do not. Most artists — be they writers, musicians, performers, or visual artists — do not.

You see, in the United Stated you technically have copyright to your creation the moment is is created in a visual or audibly perceptible form (music and performance has to be noted down or recorded). It actually doesn’t matter if you put the little “c in a circle” on it or not, although it did prior to 1989.

That copyright? Utterly and entirely useless to you. It may as well not exist. You can’t sue for infringement of it. You can complain “Hey, that’s my copyrighted work you’ve stolen, you tosser!” and be absolutely correct. But legally you have no recourse whatsoever unless you register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

That is not free.

It’s cheaper that it used to be, because you can now do it online for $35*. Sounds cheap? You have to do that for every piece. Think about that. Sure, per album, or novel, that’s nothing. But if I registered every work of art that was by rights mine, it would likely cost me a few thousand dollars each year – every drawing, painting, or bit of self-published writing. All for the privilege of paying even more money for lawyers and court fees should someone steal my work, in the most-likely vain hope that I’d be rewarded more money that it cost me to enforce my own copyright.

That’s right: At the end of the day you enforce your copyrights. It’s your job to take people to task for stepping on them. It’s kind of like if the law said “You own everything in your house, but if someone steals it you’re responsible for getting it back from them. First, pay us a fee before the stuff is stolen. Then, hire some thugs and go get your stuff. A judge will tell you how badly you’re allowed to beat them up.”

This is all very easy for large corporations and the already-well-off. It’s entirely worthless for people like me and, most likely, you. By the way, the people most likely to violate your copyright as a small-time artist? Those same large corporations and already-successful creators. If I had a nickle for every time I heard of fellow cartoonist ripped off by Hot Topic or Todd Goldman, I could buy myself lunch.

I’m not advocating for the complete abolition of copyright law; I’d rather like access to the same protections the big kids get to flaunt. But as it exists, it’s primarily a tool for people who are probably not you. People like the powers-that-be of Facebook. It’s laughably absurd to think that invoking copyright will protect your profile from them, when you already signed your rights away when you joined.


* As of November 27, 2012. Info retrieved at http://www.copyright.gov/docs/fees.html

READ MORE - Leave a comment

Dying of Your Shame

This post is about: Kyriarchy, Sex and Gender, Sexuality
This post mentions: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |
TRIGGER WARNING: This post and the video linked below discuss suicide, self-harm, sexual harassment and exploitation of a minor, and slut-shaming. There is also a photo of self-harm at the end of the video.

“Words fall in ruins — but no sound” - Swimming Horses, Siouxsie and the Banshees

“I have nobody. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd….”

In September, the following video was posted to Youtube. It is hard, but please watch it if you can possibly bear to.

Amanda Todd died October 10th. She was 15.

The headlines have ignited a new round of discussions about “bullying,” “trolling,” and the dangers of the internet. Although anyone sane sees this as a terrible tragedy, there’s a disturbing thread running through even the most well-intentioned of arguments. There is inevitably some variation on this theme: “She made mistakes, but she was just a kid and didn’t deserve what came of it.”

This is half right; Todd did not deserve any of what happened to her. But let me be blunt: Amanda Todd does not need defending. She made no mistake. Not when she lifted her shirt to a webcam, and not when she “hooked up” with a boy she thought liked her. She did nothing wrong. Stop acting like her defense attorney. Amanda Todd is not on trial.

But someone is. Because while Amanda Todd’s death occurred by her own hand, she was in essence murdered by degrees, as slowly and surely as if she’d been poisoned. Her stalker, her harassers, the girl who violently assaulted her — let’s call them what they are and not soften it with cheap words like “bully” or “troll” — all gave Amanda Todd their dose in their own turn. But we all made it possible. We each tipped in our own little vial of poison, and Amanda Todd drank deep.

READ MORE - Leave a comment

How I Learned To Start Worrying and Hate Facebook

This post is about: Pop Culture, Tech
This post mentions: , , , , |

It was a hoax so skillfully crafted, several of my brightest, best friends fell for it.

The premise was simple: A warning that because of the latest privacy fluke, all your Facebook “Private Messages” from before 2009 (or in many cases 2010) are now publicly visible. It wasn’t true, but the claim was a stroke of genius so well done that many people still insist it happened to them.

First of all, Facebook is so bad about privacy failures, ever-shifting settings, and unannounced changes that something so ludicrous was actually plausible to us. And because of Facebook’s recent change to the “Timeline,” public messages from that early era are much easier to see than they once were. But this was the masterstroke: Prior to 2010, your Facebook friends were by-and-large your real-life friends. Not your boss. Not your parents. Your friends.

Hell, remember when only college students could join? Now, think of all the things you talked about with them, and didn’t care if your other college friends saw it. You were young, and it was a small sphere. Then Facebook opened up the world, and we were slow to adapt. Those of you that  joined then were new to how it all worked. And hey, it wasn’t like someone would Google your name as part of the hiring process, right?

We got older. We got stalkers. Companies began demanding Facebook passwords and logins when you applied for work. Kids were suspended from school because of what their principal read on their wall over the weekend. We got frightened. We got smarter. But we also forgot. The years buried all the things we’d said, but they were still there, under the dirt. The Timeline shoveled them all out.

I’d been thinking a lot about Facebook already, because of it’s impact on my own life. I’ve come to the conclusion my life is actually worse off because of the existence of Facebook.

READ MORE - 1 Comment