Op-Ed: Former adult film performer supports Prop. 60 on November ballot

By Derrick Burts

The California Nurses Association, the American Sexual Health Association, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and the Southern California Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health all agree: Californians should vote yes on Proposition 60 this November 8.

Prop. 60 is also endorsed by California Church Impact, the public policy arm of the California Council of Churches, representing more than 5,000 congregations in the state.

Prop. 60 will protect the health of California’s young men and women who are exposed routinely and illegally to sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV, by their employers in the adult film industry. The law already requires condoms to be used in porn films. But industry bosses defy the law and require their performers to engage in unprotected sex because they believe condoms don’t sell films. It’s all about their profits, not the health of their workers.

The porn industry’s reckless business practices result in high rates of STDs among its workers. Adult film performers are 64 times more likely to contract gonorrhea than young people in the general population. Gonorrhea is also increasingly resistant to treatment with antibiotics.

And the performers don’t just have sex with their on-screen partners. They have lives off-camera and can infect members of the general public. The reality is that what happens in the porn studios doesn’t always stay in the studios.

Prop. 60 would give Cal/OSHA, the state’s workplace safety agency, additional tools to enforce the existing condom-use rules to protect not only workers but all Californians.

The American Medical Association and the California Medical Association support condom use in adult films and the vigorous enforcement of the rule. Workers in other occupations have workplace protections. Adult film performers deserve the same. It’s only fair.

On November 8, vote yes on Prop. 60 to protect the young men and women of California.

Burts is a former adult film performer and an advocate for performer protection. He lives in California with his fiancé and their infant son.

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