Whore Next Door: From 60 to Zero

(Photograph by Isabel Dresler/Isabeldresler.com)

“This doesn’t look good,” my boyfriend said.

He looked up from his 538 app with terror in his eyes as we felt our country crumbling around us the night of Nov. 8.

We couldn’t even be excited about the news rolling in that Proposition 60, the condoms-in-porn initiative that the adult-film community and I have been tirelessly fighting for the past year, was defeated.

We poured more than blood, sweat, and tears into the battle against it, as it mandated condom use on set and deputized every California resident to enforce that mandate and get paid for it. Some performers donated their own money, as well as much of their sanity, working day and night, sometimes in the heat of the summer sun, and other times in the trenches of the comments section dueling fearlessly with some of the ugliest trolls the internet has to offer, all in the name of defeating Prop. 60.

The night of the election, as we huddled around laptops and televisions up and down the state, we should have been rejoicing, as No on Prop. 60 pulled ahead county by county, eventually winning 54 out of 58 statewide. Instead, I sat sobbing into my Sauvignon Blanc, unable to pull myself together around my colleagues as an openly misogynist, racist predator was declared our next commander-in-chief.

The now-defeated proposition was backward and draconian — to say the least — but it would have made for the perfect side dish to the full-on nightmare that is America under the impending doom of a Trump presidency.

Someone mused that it felt like we are living in the scariest episode of Black Mirror ever. And now, as my social media is inundated with reports of racialized violence and KKK rallies, it feels clear that something has broken.

And it was not a glass ceiling.

Many times during the campaign, I said that if Prop. 60 didn’t pass, but Hillary Clinton didn’t win the general election, I would regret it for the rest of my life. I think I will.

Just days before, I was being interviewed by Danish television while doing voter outreach at a farmers market. They asked me why I was campaigning so hard against Prop. 60 instead of for my preferred presidential candidate, and I said that come Nov. 9, it would have a more direct and immediate effect on my life and livelihood. Now, as I watch thousands of my peers take to the streets, and read reports of transgender youth taking their own lives rather than live in a country led by that man, I don’t know if I was right.

I’m angry that Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation wasted millions of dollars intended for people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. I’m angry that he wasted my community’s time and resources during the most crucial election of our young lives. Instead of drafting dangerous legislation that would put our lives at risk, he could have worked hand-in-hand with performer groups to better address the needs of the population he keeps claiming he wants to help.

All of that valuable time and those critical resources could have been spent strengthening the communities that needed to fight for their lives this election.

I thought that defeating Weinstein, the man who drafted Prop. 60, and nearly a dozen other attacks on the adult film industry, would be like throwing the ring of power into the fires of Mount Doom, ensuring the safety of Middle Earth. I didn’t realize that killing Prop. 60 was more akin to defeating Smaug (the miserly dragon from The Hobbit, for the rest of you).

This is just one epic battle of the many yet to come in the long and terrifying journey to defeat the Dark Side. This is the part of the story when we have to assemble the Order of the Phoenix. It’s not just Voldemort we have to fear; it’s the Death Eaters that may live next door.

Though Prop. 60’s defeat proved that even when the odds are stacked, a group of passionate individuals can change the course of history, that victory now feels hollow in the wake of all the violence and hatred that Trump and his supporters feel empowered to spew. But as we move through this national tragedy, we must hold even those small victories close as we hunker down to fight for our future.

View Comments