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