Starting at 11am we’ll be live blogging the events at the ACT-UP 25th anniversary demonstration below.
AIDS activists have historically been a cohesive movement: able to work together on similar goals, through a variety of tactics, despite varying socio-economic, sexuality, race and gender backgrounds. Granted, there have been some explosive differences; particularly in San Francisco. One of the more volatile situations that comes to mind involves ACT UP SF throwing the contents of a cat litter box at Larry Kramer. However; when it comes down to it, we have been supportive of each other because we need to be. Being HIV+ is still criminalized and vilified, and poz people are still outlaws in our society.
I am finding my ideals located in awkward places during this odd, Saturn’s Return-esque moment of my life. Specifically, I’m finding myself doing activism around or advocating ideas that directly counter what I would have done in my early 20’s.
This came up for me while reading Sadie’s very smart piece Un-Money Shots: The Top 5 Porn Moments You Don’t See. She wrote about those pesky mundanities of porn life that the viewer is shielded from, one of which is the condom application scene.
Talking about the ‘moral responsibilities of the porn industry’ comes dangerously close to another issue currently tearing up the porno landscape — the banning of condomless porn production in California.
Now, I totally agree that in porn where protected sex is displayed, the inclusion of a ‘putting on the condom’ scene would be fantastic. The ‘I Dream of Jeanie’ esque eyelid blink appearance of a condom is childish. Sex workers, with our glamour and grace, do have the skills to eroticize acts previously thought unappealing — from a dick check to double penetration. Putting on a condom should be one of those acts. However, talking about the ‘moral responsibilities of the porn industry’ comes dangerously close to another issue currently tearing up the porno landscape — the banning of condomless porn production in California.
I’m an HIV educator and an AIDS activist, as well as being a sex worker who has done porn as both a cis-woman and a trans man. I am not unaware that my preaching against condom usage seems suspect, considering my background. But bear with me while I tell you the sordid tale of AIDS Healthcare Foundation VS The LA Porn industry and why it is this side of the fence that I stand on.
This is the text of a speech given by Morgan M. Page at the Toronto Trans March, on July 1, 2011.
Dear Trans Community,
Why have trans activists in Canada made no collective statements in favour of the decriminalization of sex work – something that would effectively end the imprisonment of the majority of incarcerated trans people?
My heart is heavy today. I love you, I do, but some things have been weighing on me. Earlier this week I watched in horror as a room full of trans and queer activists applauded enthusiastically when someone suggested that our activist efforts should not be so focused on trans people of colour and trans sex workers because “all trans people face the same issues.”
I want to talk to you about Trans Issues. Whenever I’ve asked about just what these issues are I’ve been told that they are discrimination based on Gender Identity and Gender Expression, and that what we need most is protection under Bill C-389. A bill that would explicitly extend human rights protections on these grounds. Many activists tirelessly put in huge amounts of work trying to get this bill passed, and when the election was called all of their hard work was lost. I want to take a moment to thank them for their dedication.
However, I need to say that I disagree with you. Extending human rights protections is a noble cause, but it is not the be-all and end-all of Trans Rights.
Today, on the 30th anniversary of the now famous/infamous New York Times article, “Rare Cancer Seen In 41 Homosexuals”, announcing the beginning of what would become the AIDS crisis, I offer you a list of my most favorite and my least favorite translations of this disease into narrative form.
AIDS is like the best plot device ever for the lazy screen writer. The conflict for the protagonist is at once external (discrimination) and internal (disease) which makes it easy for a lazy writer to lean on. For the audience, it is exciting, and implies at least one salacious sex scene. Straight audiences can watch with a sense of lurid pity and feel like they are really educating themselves, while gay people are mandated by Paragraph 498, section B of the homo code to watch all AIDS films. In tribute to the style of Diseased Pariah News, I made myself watch, and review, 10 AIDS movies in 10 days. Here are the results – 5 good, 5 bad, bad ones first cuz I love to hate. Please note: I would have watched RENT just to trash it – after reading Stagestruck by Sarah Schulman – but honestly, I watched a trailer and it was like AIDS Glee and I couldn’t deal.