Web Exclusive: Sex worker and activist Bella Bathory on how Prop 60 will hurt performers in the adult film industry.
BY BELLA BATHORY
I could write thousands of words on why Prop 60 is a terrible idea, but it’s been done a thousand times over so I’m going to give you the abridged version and how it directly affects me and those I love.
Prop 60 is the product of a man named Michael Weinstein, the CEO of Aids Healthcare Foundation. I’ve had many a bone to be picked with AHF over the years, the most recent until Prop 60 was their anti PrEP rhetoric. Weinstein has written this ballot phrased in such a way that the uneducated voter would think that it’s just an extension of Measure B which passed in 2012. This ballot is so much more detrimental to my body and livelihood.
Prop 60 states that all porn films viewable in CA must have a visible condom used or all who have a fiscal interest in the film are subject to a lawsuit. This law encourages porn consumers to report any lack of condom making every at home viewer a condom vigilante. If reported, and if taken to court, this means that the at home condom gestapo who sat at home wanking to my films now has access to my legal name and home address once the court proceedings begin. It needs to be said twice, every insane fan boy and religious zealot could gain access to the legal names and home addresses of porn performers if this goes through, think about the ramifications of that for a second.
Weinstein has also made the ballot pretty clear that if it passes he has a job for life policing and prosecuting porn performers. It states in a rather terrifying way that his word is higher than the Attorney General if this ballot passes and he needs to defend it.
Notice nothing I’ve said about Prop 60 thus far has had anything to do with condoms, yet this is a supposed condom law. As an active sex worker, dominatrix, porn performer and all around lesbian slut I will go on the record saying that I am pro-condom, if both adults consent to using one. I also fuck some of my partners on screen and off without a condom or gloves because we have been tested and communicated the risks, and have made the informed decision to do so. This law has nothing to do with condoms, this law is taking a marginalized community and forcing a supposed security measure down our throats for fiscal gain. Not once has Michael Weinstein showed up to speak with APAC, FSC, or even the more casual gatherings of the hommunity to discuss this measure with us. Unionized measures do not work if you aren’t speaking with the affected workers, and no one on the Yes side has given us the time of day.
To bring it back to current day, I have spent the fall assisting the No on Prop 60 measure in every way that I can, from speaking with my Uber drivers to my college instructors and have outed my work status in many situations where I would have normally remained private. I also spent 3 months trying to find an apartment in Los Angeles, because no matter how much money you make landlords don’t think of sex work as a viable source of income, or they’d prefer to not have “that kind of person” in their building. I spend my days straddling two worlds, one where I am out, proud, and supported by a community of porn performers and sex workers. The other where I am sexualized against my will, denied fair access to housing due to my occupation, and not taken as seriously in a world of academia because I am a woman in touch with her sexuality.
I’ve shot more content in the past month than I normally do within a six month period, because the entire industry is on the verge of crumbling if this measure passes. I’ve watched a performer I respect, cry about the fear she has over this passing because porn is her primary source of income and how she takes care of her children. This woman is a better mom than any suburban housewife I’ve ever met. I’ve watched my community panic, and rally into the hottest group of activists. I’ve watched groups of porn stars stay up until 4 in the morning decorating signs for protests. I’ve seen beloved entertainment managers pull wads of money out of their pockets at private events and hand it over to FSC to keep fighting for the cause. I’ve witnessed every cause for celebration turned in a platform to discuss ways to beat Prop 60.
My dear California voters, I assure you I am well educated on this issue and many others and I am smart enough to make the decisions that are best for my own body. If you are undecided still on this issue, think of the last time a group of rich old white men decided what was best for a marginalized group of people, and if that ended well for any of them.