By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com April 27 2010 4:00 PM ET
Porn star Brent Corrigan has partnered with Washington D.C.–based STD prevention group DC Fuk !t for a series of instructional videos on proper condom use and sexual health.
The program launched last year after a study revealed the nation’s capital has the highest percentage of HIV-positive residents in the country. It promotes safe sex and condom use through the distribution of safe sex kits promoted by a series of provocative, often sexually graphic ads and videos.
Cofounder Terry Gerace, M.D. says he recruited Corrigan for the campaign because of what he’s learned since starring in a series of bareback films at the beginning of his career while he was still underage. (Watch Corrigan's video here: WARNING: Contains sexually explicit content; NSFW)
“He has long since become an advocate for safer sex and has very publicly apologized for his past appearances in films depicting unsafe sexual practices,” Gerace says.
Garace talked to The Advocate about Corrigan’s video shoot, why he thinks the young porn star has more than redeemed himself for his bareback films, and how a recent scandal involving Yale University ended up playing a role in Corrigan’s campaign.
The Advocate: Why did you approach Brent Corrigan, who is known for shooting a number of bareback porn videos early in his career, to come full circle and do this PSA for proper condom use?
Terry Gerace, M.D.: It wasn’t so much about him having done bareback porn, it was that he’s made this change from doing it to not doing it. He hasn’t done those sorts of films for at least four years. He’s stayed in the industry, and now only does safer sex porns. It was really about it being someone who learned from their behavior and made a change, which I think represents most young people. They’ll start out doing something high-risk, and if they’re lucky, they’ll survive it and make a change. That’s what he did, so I think in a lot of ways, he represents your average person.
So much has gone back and forth about Corrigan — some think he was very aware of what he was doing in his early films, and others think he was a young kid taken advantage of by porn producers. Working with him on this campaign, what was your sense?
Oh, I would say that he was taken advantage of pretty clearly. No 17-year-old knows what they’re doing (laughs). He knew what he was doing as well as any 17-year-old brain knows what it’s doing. He definitely was taken advantage of, I don’t have any question about that… which is why he’s grown considerably. He’s an amazingly mature individual for someone who’s been through what he’s been through.
He was supposed to be back east attending Yale’s Co-op Pride, which is how you planned his trip to come and work on these videos. There’s been a lot written about what went down with Yale. Did it throw a wrench in your plans at all?
I had purchased plane tickets already for him to facilitate [the trip to Yale], so he just lost the plane tickets… we just had to reschedule and get him a new plane ticket. It just cost us $190. It wasn’t a huge deal, obviously. It was just sort of ironic.
And what about the reasons that were given for his appearance being canceled?
Well, it was a couple of things that they said. I knew for a fact he was doing it for free, and their first thing was that he’d asked for too much money, which was not the case (Garace says Corrigan also participated in the DC Fuk !t campaign for free). The second thing was that he was too controversial because he’d done bareback, and of course he was coming right off of shooting a safer sex video.
You have one video with Brent online now, but he shot more, correct?
We shot three little videos… there are two more coming. One he talks about sexually transmitted diseases specifically, and then another one he actually did with Matthew Rush, which is a little mock sex-ed class. Those will be coming out during the summer.
The goal of the campaign is to get people to practice safer sex, but it goes about it in a very provocative, almost taboo sort of way. What has response been like to the campaign?
It’s about being honest, really. Gay men don’t learn a lot about sex in the sex-ed classroom. They learn on the Internet, from porn. That’s where they’re getting this material, and we were seeing such resurgence in bareback online that we needed to put out an alternative that focused on safer sex. It’s tongue-in-cheek. a little bit. that they’re public service announcements, but they’re very straightforward in showing you exactly what you have to do. I think they’re pretty effective. I was bracing for negative feedback, and frankly, we haven’t gotten any.