Of all of the byproducts of the latest porn scares, the most obvious has been the historical lack of organization by performers to fight for their rights and their profession.
Earlier attempts at worker organization, such as the Pink Ladies Social Club of the 1980's, tended to fail on the same factors that haunted earlier organizations: the transient nature of porn work, and the fear from the producers of "unionization", where performers could collectively attempt to gain a larger share of the profits and proceeds from their work, as well as improved benefits and workplace conditions.
However, in the wake of the latest round of porn scares and activism to protect the free choice of performers, a new attempt at forming an activist group for performers is now arising with what they see as a different approach.
The Adult Performers Association is the brainchild of Nica Noelle, a former performer turned director, who was radicalized into action by the latest HIV porn scare and the strength of performers turning out to defend themselves against the threat of the condom mandate and the existing testing regime. Her primary goal, as noted by the organization's newly built website, is to provide alternative health services and other benefits that are typically provided by other worker organizations to its members, and to speak out for the freedom of choice and more flexible options for health care and privacy protection for porn performers.
Their "Core Metrics" page provides a nice summary of the kind of activism they would provide to their members, including:
-- a greater choice in choosing their testing facilities
-- a focus on education and mentoring for entry-level performers, and a system of etiquette and protocols for talent-producer relationships
-- balancing the goal of standardized testing for STI's with freedom of choice for performers in where and with whom they are tested with
-- a focus on retaining performer privacy protection
-- a development of a performers-only forum for feedback and discourse
The development of APA, though, has not been without some controversy. While the reaction by most performers has been greatly positive, there have been some degree of grumbling behind the scenes that the prime motivation for APA might be a backhanded slap towards the Free Speech Coalition, which remains the principal activist organization for the industry, and its Adult Production Health and Safety Services (APHSS) database, which serves to replace the previous testing regime formerly adjucated by Adult Industry Medical Foundation (AIM).
Nica Noelle, along with porn performer January Seraph -- who was also instrumental in the founding of APA -- had often been more than a bit critical of the FSC for not doing more to protect performer privacy, especially concerning the security of the APHSS database. In addition, Nica had been critical of FSC for what she saw during the latest HIV in porn scare as an unwarranted attack on Talent Testing Services, the independent agency whose testing of "Patient Alpha" had been called into question by APHSS after they obtained the services of "PA". (TTS had originally been the go-to replacement for testing after AIM was put out of business, but they were eclipsed by APHSS; also, TTS had refused to join APHSS' network of testing sites, choosing to stick with their own system.) By contrast, performers such as Darryl Hanah and spokespeople such as Michael Whiteacre have responded in defense of APHSS and FSC, resulting in some heated exchanges. For the record, though, Nica and January have praised APHSS for their inclusion of active performers in their organization...especially the inclusion of Nina Hartley as their Educational Advisor.
This organization is still in its budding stages, and it remains to be seen whether it can overcome the usual obstacles that has blocked every other attempt to unite and organize the vast diaspora of adult performers. Considering what's at stake, however, it is more than worth giving it a chance to succeed.