So once again we have a President and a Republican led Congress who feel the need to declare war against the porn industry. Excuse me, but hasn’t this been tried numerous times, most recently under the Reagan Administration, and haven’t they all failed? Yes indeed. Apparently no lessens have been learned from these past failed attempts. In July of last year Trump signed a pledge promising that as president he would, among other things, consider appointing a Presidential Commission to examine the harmful public health impact of Internet pornography on youth, families and the American culture. Could it be that this new tough stance against porn is to help win points with conservatives who have questioned his ownership of a strip club and being married to a woman who once posed nude for GQ?
Numerous states, including Tennessee, Virginia, and Utah have filed legislation declaring porn a public health hazard. But South Carolina wins the prize for most originality. Legislators there want to require all computers to come with preinstalled porn filtering software, and then charge people a $20 “digital access fee” payable to the South Carolina Attorney General’s office in order to get the filter removed. Wow, that seems a tad bit illegal to say the least. I’d say there would be far more interest in filtering software that would block Trump’s idiotic Tweets that we seem to be bombard with daily.
So now we have hordes of bible-thumping Republicans who are claiming that pornography is a public health hazard. Really? And even more ludicrous, they’re claiming that porn is a threat to the future of society. The Future of Society. Okay, I’ll play along. Please show me some quantitative data to support these claims. Anyone? I wasn’t aware that pornography caused poverty, hunger, mass shootings, unemployment, global warming, terrorism, homelessness, global instability, increased crime, increased the national debt, or any number of other actual problems that plague this country. I’m pretty sure if these same politicians take a look at themselves in the mirror they’ll be staring at the actual cause of these problems. And doesn’t it seem a bit odd that so much time and effort is being spent introducing legislation to wage war against porn and discriminate against trans people when there are much more urgent problems to deal with such as our nation falling apart at the seams because we have become so divided over our President-elect and so many people are losing faith in our government. But sure, let’s waste time worrying about where trans people pee and about porn. I think the Republicans need to take a hard look at their priorities. But then again, this quite clearly shows what the Republicans see as their top priorities: taking away the rights of certain groups of people, and censoring things they don’t agree with. Is it just me, or does this sound awfully familiar, kind of like Nazi Germany? That’s comforting.
The Adult Entertainment Industry is not a public health hazard nor is it corrupting society. Porn is like anything else; a bit of common sense and self-restraint is needed when partaking of it. Same as with alcohol, junk food, gambling, and recreational drugs, which, by the way, are all legal. And if we want to take a look at public health hazards, let’s consider two of the more obvious health problems facing this country: smoking and obesity. Please note that I am not shaming anyone or making judgements about either of these, I’m just using them as examples. Smoking is a known carcinogen and will cause damage to your health. There is enough data supporting this that it cannot be argued or refuted. And last time I checked, smoking was legal. So, dear Republicans, please explain why you aren’t going after the tobacco industry. Could it be that the Tobacco Lobby lines your pockets with obscene amounts of money? Now let’s talk about obesity, which is a national epidemic. Recent reports have estimate that 38% of adults and 17% of teenagers in this country are obese. American’s obesity epidemic is now three decades old and obesity rates continue to climb year after year with no end in sight. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are a staggering $190.2 billion or nearly 21% of annual medical spending in the United States. The annual nationwide cost from loss of productivity due to obesity-related absenteeism is nearly $3.38 billion. So obesity is a known health risk and a large burden on the economy and the health care system, yet I have not heard that the Republicans are waging war against obesity. It seems clear that Republicans view pornography as more of a risk than smoking and obesity, in spite of a wealth of data that proves otherwise. Huh. And this makes sense how?
The fact remains that pornography showing consenting adults has been deemed legal in the eyes of the United States judicial system. You can argue the morality of porn if you choose, but defining morality in the legal sense can be a sticky wicket, and the bottom line is that people in this country have the right to choose whether or not porn is immoral and whether or not to watch it. If you don’t like porn then don’t watch it; it’s actually pretty simple isn’t it? This is America where there’s a nifty document called The Constitution that guarantees us certain rights, including the First Amendment which among other things guarantees the freedom of speech. So no one has the right to dictate whether we as Americans can view porn. Of course the Republicans seem hell-bent on rewriting the Constitution so it fits their own warped beliefs, and if that doesn’t work they seem okay with just ignoring it. Welcome to the new America. And if porn gets censored, then who’s next, because it won’t end there. The new slogan of Trump’s America: If we don’t like you we’ll just censor you and legislate you out of existence. Again, it’s hard not to notice the chilling similarities to Nazi Germany.
The Adult Entertainment Industry, and please take note of the word entertainment, provides a product for the entertainment of customers. And judging by the popularity of porn in its various forms and the revenue it generates, I’d say lots of people enjoy their porn and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Porn is a business which is here to stay, and there would be a lot of unhappy people, including a large number of the self-righteous conservatives who hide behind their bibles, who would not be happy if porn were to go away. Let me correct that; even if the Republicans do succeed in regulating it somehow, porn will never go away because there is too large a demand for it. This country runs on supply and demand and the all mighty dollar, and don’t kid yourselves, porn is a big business that generates a lot of revenue. And money talks. Look no further than all the lobbyists on Capitol Hill to see what money can buy.
Trans people who work in the porn industry may as well get a big target tattooed on their foreheads, because we seem to be the number one target of the Republicans. It seems odd that we’re such a threat to them, because we in the trans community are far more likely to be the ones attacked or murdered or discriminated against. These days we have to be concerned for our safety and fear of getting pummeled with bibles from the religious zealots who feel the need to “save us.” Speaking for myself, I’m just fine thank you and don’t need to be saved, especially by people who are so hypocritical and judgmental. I don’t know about your God, but my God is loving and sees people for who they are and how they live their lives. And quite frankly, if people like you are going to heaven, then I have no desire to be there with the likes of you. I prefer to be with people who are accepting and kind and don’t judge or preach, which disqualifies all the conservatives, religious zealots, and Republicans.
And lastly, it is these types of witch hunts which fuel stereotypes and shaming which are all too prevalent in today’s society. Please see my Through The Benz column here from last November which I wrote about shaming and the porn industry. Shaming is used as a means of taking away people’s dignity and it eats away at the core of who we are and makes us question everything. It leads to depression, it leads to suicide, and it leads to hate, especially the worst kind of hate; hating ourselves. Shame kills, and that needs to stop. But sadly, it appears that the culture of shame in America will only increase under the Trump Administration.