Community Forum for Adult Film/Web Porn Performers

St. James Infirmary is hosting a community forum for Adult Film/Web Porn Performers of all genders/orientations to discuss the recent closure of Adult Industry Medical (AIM), re-regulation of CA Occupational Health and Safety laws relating to the Adult Film Industry and next steps to promoting a rights-based approach for Porn Performers. All performers are welcome to join us. Please RSVP to communications@StJamesInfirmary.org if you’re able to join us.
Who: Adult Film Performers
What: Community Forum on Health Regulations
When: Thursday December 16th, 2010 5:30-7:30pm
Where: St. James Infirmary, 1372 Mission St @ 10th, San Francisco
If you can’t join us: Please send an email to Communications@StJamesInfirmary.org or leave a message at (415) 554-9633 to receive notes from the forum.
Background: The California Occupational Health and Safety board have been reviewing studio practices based on complaints made to them, some from performers, some anonymous. The Aids Healthcare Foundation has been lobbying hard with limited input from people who actually work in the industry. In June of 2010 AIM applied for a community clinic license and on December 9th they received a cease and desist order after that application was denied.
We’re concerned that performers are being under- and mis-represented in these discussions and that it is critical for a diverse range of workers to come together to establish a unified voice to advocate for a rights-based approach to regulation.
Of course, our ultimate goal is for all performers to be as healthy and prosperous as possible! Please join us and share how you think these issues can best be approached. Please spread this message far and wide.

16 Responses

  1. Thanks for the info. I passed this on to a friend who does personal adult films.

  2. […] Bound Not Gagged: Community Forum for Adult Film/Web Porn Performers “St. James Infirmary is hosting a community forum for Adult Film/Web Porn Performers of all […]

  3. First off…AIM’s request was NOT totally denied; it was kicked back to them based on a techicality involving their official title. And it was the state California Department of Public Health who handles the licensing, not the local LA County officials who issued the “cease and desist” order. LA County acted purely on its own and in total collusion with the AIDS Healhcare Foundation, the main group behind this attack on AIM, solely to impose madatory condoms and to replace the existing testing regime.

    If you are going to have a forum involving porn performers defending their rights, at least get your information from sources that aren’t nearly as biased as the LA Times.

    Former porn performer Julie Meadows (real name Lydia Lee) has been one of the most consistent sources in debunking this entire debacle. A visit to her blog would be an excellent idea.

    http://www.juliemeadows.com/blog

    Anthony

  4. Also…why have this forum in San Francisco?? How about also having one in Los Angeles, where performers actually work, and inviting a vast diversity of performers on both sides of the issue??

    My fear is that it will simply degenerate into another round where certain “sex-positive” celebrities will exploit the current troubles to insist on using the condom mandate to promote their own personal genres of “feminist porn” or “alt[dot]porn” as superior, and to ignore the legitimate opposition of performers in mainstream porn to having their personal preferences for condom-free porn, and dismissing their ability to protect themselves.

    Hopefully, this will be a true debate, and not just another debacle like the UCLA panel.

    Anthony

  5. […] consult us about what we might actually want.  With this in mind, St. James Infirmary is hosting a community forum for adult film performers this Thursday night, with an eye toward giving them a voice in the process; though I doubt the […]

  6. Anthony, we’re not hosting a debate, It’s a forum. I read the link you provided, thank you. It was informative, but doesn’t contradict anything we’ve said. AIM is currently not available for new services, pending their continued efforts to get a permit to re-open. In effect they’re closed for services with an unknown date of re-opening. What options do performers have in the meantime and if those options are insufficient, how can our clinic be of assistance in advocating for better services?

    San Francisco is home to many performers who travel to LA, as much as it is a place where LA-based performers sometimes travel to do video work.

    The next CalOSHA meeting will be in Oakland. I attended the last Oakland meeting and saw that there were no performers there other than those who are working with AHF and no longer in the business, plus a few of us from St. James Infirmary, who are aware that our individual experiences are not reflective of the larger performer population. Many studio heads and Free Speech Coalition do attend, but they also don’t represent performers. We want increased representation of those who actually do the work.

    It’s been confirmed that CalOSHA will make new regulations. It’s also been confirmed that mandatory condom use IS ALREADY THE LAW as far as CalOSHA is concerned. Because it’s a complaint-based system (as spelled out in the link you provided) there has been limited enforcement. That’s one of the situations that may change in new regulations. New regulations are going to happen, hopefully we can work collectively to soften the blow.

    It’s unfortunate that somebody who is not a performer would critique efforts that actual performers are making to reach out to our peers and colleagues on an issue that will affect all of us. Several performers have already written to thank us for hosting a discussion and I would expect that this will not be the only one, nor will it be comprehensive. It’s just one step.

    As a community clinic we’ve been provided with information from CalOSHA, not from the LA Times. In fact, the media spin and selective representation of certain performers is exactly why we feel that more performers need to be empowered.

    There’s no special funding for this, we’re hosting at the space we have, free of charge. We’d support and try to attend any similar worker-based meetings in Los Angeles, we don’t have the capacity to create it ourselves. It’s foolish to assume that the LA area is the only place where performers live and work. These are statewide regulations that will affect every jurisdiction.

    I’m not exactly sure why your animosity is directed at us. I understand that this is a complex and intense situation for all of us in the industry, some are more impacted than others. But our efforts to provide a safe space for performers to gather more details and express their concerns are not at odds with anybody’s desire to support AIM in re-opening or to keep the studios open for business. Sorry if you had any misunderstanding, the performers seem more clear about the value of this and potential future forums.

    Best,
    Stacey Swimme

  7. I’m glad SJI was able to step forward and offer something because I’m not aware of any other org even trying to make up for the lack of AIM. Many performers may not have even been aware that SJI existed and are probably glad to know that it does (a Southwest flight from LA to SFO is extremely cheap).

    The whole thing scares me as a blow against the rights of legal sex workers.

    XX

  8. Amanda, I too am concerned that this is actually just a moralistic attack on the legal porn industry. They’re (AHF & Co) blurring legitimate safety and informed-consent concerns with a broader anti-porn agenda, steam-rolling performers’ voices in the process.

  9. As usual, the people actually involved with anything sexual are not consulted about the very things they know the most about.

    A little like the armchair campers. They have no idea how to actually survive in the wild except in theory and whatever their books told them. They aren’t about to ask someone who knows how to light a fire from wet wood.

    Anti-porn anyone is just like that. So are those who refuse to give the needed information so that people CAN give informed consent.

  10. Hi Stacey,
    In your statement above, you write, “It’s been confirmed that CalOSHA will make new regulations.” I’m interested in where this confirmation was made public and what you think is going to be proposed.

    Thanks!
    Conner Habib

  11. Hi Conner,

    The info I have received from CalOSHA was by googling Adult Industry and CA Occupational Health and Safety. That led me to the number of the woman who is facilitating the meetings, I called and asked some questions. She said her department has intentions to make a formal recommendation to the CalOSHA regulatory Board. It’s just a recommendation, they will proceed as they wish. She’s not sure what the recommendations are and she welcomes/encourages input from workers- which brings us back to the point of the forum. My hope is that this forum will be an opportunity to inform those who have not attended the meetings in the past and empower them to be at the next one (date undetermined, late Jan/early Feb)

    I hope that helps!

    Cheers,
    Stacey

  12. Stacey:

    Thank you for the quick response, and your reply clears up plenty…but it also slightly misinterprets both my words and my intentions.

    In no way am I against your planned forum, nor am I saying that performers shouldn’t have the predominant say in what happens. Far from it..my position through all this is that performers who are on the front lines should be the ones to choose for themselves how best to protect themselves, and not government bureaucrats or antiporn activists who only are in it for the money or for their own interests.

    No, I am not a performer, nor am I a sex worker….and I never claimed any superiority to any performer. I am simply a fan of adult sexual media and a progressive sexual expression/free expression advocate who strongly believes that this condom mandate, while sounding on its surface to be a cure all for protecting performers, is in fact a Trojan horse that will not only hurt active performers by driving the industry underground, but will be exploited in the same way that sex work has been traditionally maligned by sex panics.

    Also…just because I do have some concerns about the venue and about whether or not performers who do oppose the condom mandate will be adequately represented, does NOT mean that I an not strongly in favor of having the forum regardless. It is simply long overdue for performers in porn to have a vehicle where they can express their views, especially since most other forums have openly denied activist sex workers the right to speak their truths.

    Finally…I’m a bit stunned that you would categorize my mild criticism as “animosity” towards you and your organization. Nothing could be further from the truth. My concerns were based on the fear that the location of the venue (San Francisco, far removed from LA, where most performers live) would prevent many performers who oppose the condom mandate from attending and speaking their mind. It IN NO WAY, though, diminishes the absolute importance of having this forum, and I deeply apologize for not making that latter fact more clear in my initial comment. Maybe, a second forum in LA would be a compromise between us??

    There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with having a safe space for performers to speak their truth or engage their profession. That is a given with me.

    And I don’t necessarily buy the ultimate inevitability of Cal-OSHA imposing the condom mandate; if enough performers speak out to defend their rights in the same way that Nina Hartley and Julie Meadows have, then maybe we can see some common sense and negotiations to develop a more humane and reasonable for of regulation that balances safety with performer choice.

    Hopefully, that clears up my position for you.

    Anthony

  13. Thank you, Anthony, for sending this to me.

    I get it. St. James Infirmary is an adult industry-friendly clinic in San Fran? There is, actually, another industry-friendly clinic in LA called Talent Testing Service. I wonder if they would hold a meeting at their place on the same day in a joint effort to unite voices and bond two cities with the same concerns? Hmm…

    It is unfair that these anti-porn entities aren’t asking workers what they want. I’m going to send this page to Free Speech Coalition and AIM and Talent Testing Service and see what they think. At the very least we here in LA can mass email agencies and talent and try to find a way to rally people.

  14. Hi Julie,

    I’ve never heard of Talent Testing Service! Please do keep us posted if they hold a meeting and we’ll promote to our networks.

    Thanks,
    Stacey

  15. Will do, Stacey!

    I just linked to this page on my blog and mass emailed quite a few LA sources about what you’re doing. More to come.

    Julie

  16. That’s great, thanks Julie!

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