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Upcoming events and current media coverage relating to sex work and sex workers.

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LOS ANGELES (CN) - Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wants voters to decide in November whether porn actors should be required to wear condoms to make their movies. The Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 this week to put the "condoms in porn" initiative on the November ballot. It would require pornography producers in the county to get a health permit from the county's Department of Public Health to make pornographic movies. Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich voted Yes: to send the question to voters. Supervisor Gloria Molina was the only supervisor to vote No. Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas abstained.

The law is meant to protect sex performers from AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. And, presumably, set a good example for people who watch pornography. The president of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has sought mandatory condom use in pornography for years, called the commission's vote "a great day for the performers and safer sex in our society," in an interview with the Los Angeles Time.

Last December, the City of Los Angeles suedfive registered voters who proposed the initiative, including AIDS Healthcare Foundation president Michael Weinstein, claiming the measure was pre-empted by state law. But the Los Angeles City Council later approved a condom ordinance in January this year.

The United States' multibillion-dollar porn industry is concentrated in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Porn producers have threatened to pack up and leave the state if actors are required to wear condoms. The industry claims that monthly check-ups for sexually transmitted diseases protect actors. But in August 2011, the industry shut down after a performer tested positive for HIV, according to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The foundation backed the measure, along with more than 370,000 Los Angeles County residents who signed a petition to have it put on the ballot.  AIDS Healthcare Foundation senior director of public health Whitney Engeran-Cordova told Courthouse News that the group was "very pleased" that the county had "followed the lead of 371,000" people who wanted the issue placed on the ballot.

Porn Enemy No. 1

Dennis Romero's profile last week of a porn star–turned-activist had readers talking — with zero consensus ("Shelley Lubben, Porn Reformer or Self-Promoter?").

"The irony is that Lubben exploits porn performers more than the porn industry itself does," Bobbybluetoyou writes. "She uses them to make money. That's what the porn biz does. The difference is the porn industry pays the women."

"This is America. She is free to express her opinion," Tbpropsfx argues. "The woman is not hurting anyone. If you don't like what she has to say, don't listen!"

Sean Tompkins disagrees. "To say she's not hurting anyone is crazy. Sure, she hasn't physically harmed anyone, but conning people out of their hard-earned cash could be harmful."

Outshined95 says she was helped by Lubben's organization. "At the point in my recovery when I turned to Pink Cross, I was dealing with an immense amount of shame and depression, as well as an addiction to sex, which stemmed from being raped. Hard-core porn may be deemed a legal form of harmless artistic expression for now, yet I suspect that may change as society begins to bear the consequences of such aspects as children growing up with their sexuality defined by it."

Earlier this month, she appeared at an L.A. Animal Rescue event in Hollywood, Porn Stars for Puppies. Pooches were being put up for adoption for $250 apiece. A small group of demonstrators showed up with T-shirts that read "Shelley Lubben Treats Porn Stars Like Animals."

Lubben, a onetime porn star in Los Angeles turned fundamentalist Christian who is now married and raising two girls in exurban Bakersfield, has become the U.S. adult-video industry's highest-profile critic. She says she "rescues" girls who have been used and abandoned by the business.

Some of those women say it's Lubben who used them — for publicity and fundraising.

The chief porn critic has taken her cause to Dr. Drew and Howard Stern and appeared in a new documentary, After Porn Ends. At a time when the adult-entertainment business is battling efforts to force performers to use condoms, she represents bad press all the way. Even the gay-run AIDS Healthcare Foundation has enlisted the Bible-quoting mother's help in its campaign to force prophylactics on porn sets in L.A.

Read more here

This is a retrospective post to commemorate the debate that inspired the birth of this site. Jessi Fischer, Anna Arrowsmith, Johnny Anglais comfortably beat anti porn campaigners Shelly Lubben, Gail Dines and psychologist  Dr Richard Woolfson. If you would like to view the debate in full, click here.

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