for WEEKS i have agonized writing this blog.
when the Hep C situation recently reared it's ugly head, i started to write. i'd pour my thoughts and feelings out, then go back and edit. delete and rewrite. rewrite yet again. i tried to get more facts, and then i kept writing. while it was still just a saved draft, before i had even worked up the discipline to finish it and hit "publish post", i learned about the current HIV situation, and in an instant, i was hit with the same exact feeling i had back in 2004 when i found myself just FOUR days away from being on a first-generation quarantine list. i don't think you ever forget that tingling shock, that sinking in the pit of your stomach when you think that life as you know it has ended.
right now we are supposedly in the middle of a moratorium. safeguards are in place to notify and (hopefully) support the person/people who is/are affected by this horrible tragedy, but let me remind you...this moratorium does nothing unless we are taking into account the HUMAN factor in all of this and realize that NO ONE knows what ANYONE really does in their off-camera time.
look at us, as an industry.
we are SHAMING a girl whose life is changed forever. it could have been me. you. any of us.
we are unjustly pointing fingers, judging and blaming people.
we are attacking each other online and in public forums right in the sights of mainstream media.
we are going on crazy, hate-driven rants on blogs calling people names and making accusations and threats, totally destroying our credibility, and forwarding the stereotypes about the mental stability (or lack thereof) in this industry.
there have been several mentions of unionizing, and while this may be good in theory, in practical application, the likeliness of it being run fairly is nil.
personally, i think that in order to effect change, it has to begin on an individual level.
*right now, i do not feel comfortable shooting. i will not shoot until i do.
*i will, as a performer, require a test for HIV, Hep B & C, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis that is newer than 14 days from my on screen partners. i will do my due diligence and check it's validity.
*as a director, i will require my talent to have tests newer than 14 days. period.
*if i am told by an agency that this means i will pay a higher rate for a performer, i will not continue to book through that agency.
*as always, i will continue to adhere to a specific list of talent that i am willing to work with. i will continue to add or remove people at MY discretion.
you can do this too. make your own guidelines. we have to lead each other and help each other. not by hate speech and shaming and dueling unions, but by strength...and willpower...and by example. EDUCATE yourself about the risks that you take on and off camera, and make informed decisions with YOUR best interest at heart because chances are, no one else will. we can be mentors and support one another. i'm not perfect, none of us are. i will not judge you. i'm no doctor, either, nor do i claim to be- but if there is ANYTHING i can do to help you- answer a question, talk with you, listen to you, support you in any way, reach out to me. if you do not have my number, DM me. and if you don't need support, then lend some to someone else.
FUCKING STAND UP for yourselves. in closing, i will quote an article i wrote about the SYPHILIS incident last year:
"Performers- RESPECT YOURSELF. you only have one body, one life, one chance at this. you are worth more than whatever you are being paid for the scene."