Bryan Fischer, voice of the AFA.
Bryan Fischer is the American Family Association’s no-holds-barred spokesperson, who finds new ways to attack the LGBT community (and plenty of other groups) on a weekly — if not daily — basis. In his latest column, Fischer purports that an effort to ban the portrayal of “barebacking” or any unsafe sex in pornography is actually the gay community trying to criminalize its own sexual practices, which Fischer endorses:
Do not miss the significance of this. A homosexual activist group is leading the charge to re-criminalize gay sex. Gay sex should be contrary to public policy, and it looks like the first steps in that direction are being taken by gay activists themselves. Who could have seen that coming? Perhaps the best thing the pro-family community can do is just get out their way. [...]
We have been saying for years that homosexual behavior ought to be contrary to public policy because it is a menace to public health. We ought to care too much for our citizens to promote behavior that we know is linked to a disease which can destroy human health and shorten life spans. It is callous and indifferent to endorse behavior that we know can be lethal to people we are supposed to love and care for. [...]
So the next logical step is obvious: for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to propose an ordinance that proposes a fine for any act of unprotected gay sex, whether money changes hands or not, and proposes criminal penalties for repeat offenders. If they care about the health of all homosexuals, not just the ones who do it for money, they can do no less.
The petition in question will expand a Los Angeles law requiring porn actors to wear condoms to 85 other cities in L.A. county (excluding Pasadena, Long Beach, and Vernon, which have their own public health departments). It has important consequences for both the safety of the actors, as well as the cultural impact of the films.
Fischer easily ignores the impact on heterosexual porn, leaping at the opportunity to condemn gay sex as the direct cause — not form of transmission, but cause — of HIV. His motives are clear: criminalize homosexuality itself. Conservatives like Fischer refuse to promote safe sex because they believe in abstinence until opposite-sex marriage, and anything outside of that paradigm is morally wrong. But as offensive as his extreme (and self-plagiarizing) conclusions are, what is perhaps even more offensive is his insensitivity to the history and ongoing threat of HIV infection.
As Mark S. King noted today, the term “barebacking” first appeared as a rebranding for unsafe sex in the mid-1990′s when new medications became available that prevented AIDS from causing near-instant death. According to King, “gay male culture responded with a vengeance,” seeking to erase the ugliness and fear associated with the spread of HIV in favor of a condom-free sexual revolution. New porn companies celebrated and profited off the carnal, using “collegiate jock” types whose “health and vitality” could erase “all evidence of HIV.” But the end result has been to reinforce the invisibility of the HIV/AIDS menace, and the continued high rates of infection among men who have sex with men — not to mention society’s widespread ignorance about the virus — are the disastrous consequences.
What Fischer unsurprisingly doesn’t appreciate is that promoting safe sex among gay men is good for the health of the gay community. He instead offers a false dichotomy of two anti-gay solutions: let gay people suffer AIDS as God’s punishment for having sex or punish gay sex as “domestic terrorism“ under the law. Fortunately, reality offers solutions that actually affirm the lives of gay people and their well-being.