From Maverick AIDS Activist To Porn Cop: The Man Behind Proposition 60

From NPR:

“I literally pulled over the car and was like what’s going on?” Stabile remembers. “I was having a panic attack.”

He describes another billboard showing two men in bed, looking nervous, and posing this question: “Trust Him?”

“As a gay man, you really have to fight against this idea that you’re constantly in danger,” says Stabile, who came of age during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the ’80s. “Fear and stigma actually works against people getting tested.”

Stabile is a documentary filmmaker, activist and a spokesperson for the Free Speech Coalition, the trade association for the adult entertainment industry, which is opposing Proposition 60.

He says he sees the same heavy-handed, moralistic attitude behind Proposition 60, the California ballot initiative that would require adult film performers to use condoms on porn sets. If the performers don’t comply, and state regulators fail to enforce the mandate in a timely manner, any Californian can sue the film producer.

“Its success depends on stigma around sex, stigma around porn,” says Stabile.

The man behind Proposition 60 — and all those billboards — is Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and a longtime maverick in gay activist circles.

The nonprofit runs pharmacies and provides HIV care in 13 states and 37 countries, and it gave away 38.5 million condoms last year. It’s putting $4.5 million from its pharmacy sales into backing the Proposition 60 condom mandate. (It has also put $14.7 million behind Proposition 61, Weinstein’s initiative aimed at lowering prescription drug prices in California.)

Weinstein says he’s steadfastly promoting condoms when other groups seem to have forgotten them.

“It’s unfashionable,” he says. “I was on a panel discussion and one of the guys said, ‘You’re acting like our mother telling us to wear galoshes.’ And my reaction was ‘Yeah, somebody needs to do that!’ I …

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