Interview by: Brandon Bartling
Quite Simply, Michael Lucas
Michael Lucas is patently unapologetic in expressing his thoughts and opinions. He was no less opinionated when Fop sat down with him to talk Tuvada®, dating and documentaries. And, Lucas weighs in on the “Q” word as part of LGBT, and whether our community is loosing focus on the priorities in the battle for equity. Is he a libertarian in disquise, a truth teller, or simply offensive? We leave it to you to decide.
Fop: You’ve recently done numerous interviews regarding your decision to make condom-free scenes, citing the benefits of Truvada®. In an interview with queerty.com, when asked whether you think that men learn behaviors from watching porn, you said that you don’t think that men go to porn for life lessons. However Dan Savage, and numerous other sex educators, has said that a lot of people get their basic sex education from porn and that filming condom-free is premature and not guaranteed to be safe.
ML: If someone is using Truvada® he cannot get HIV. This is a fact. In all the years during the study, or now years after the study has finished, there’s not one case. Not one person who was on Truvada®/PrEP, got HIV. And, not one person who is on HIV cocktail and is HIV positive has given HIV to a HIV negative person using Truvada®. Even if you are HIV positive and you are taking Truvada®, you can’t transmit it. The virus is suppressed.
My boyfriend is HIV positive and I don’t use condoms. Ever since I started taking Truvada®, I stopped using condoms. For me, it’s enough to know nobody got infected in all these years. The whole thing about “Oh, but we don’t know. Maybe. Who wants to be the first?” Yeah, I can get hit by a car tomorrow. I can’t make my decisions on “what if”. So, no, it’s not premature. If every gay man would take one Truvada® pill every day, the AIDS crisis would be over. There’d be no AIDS in the world. We have the miracle pill — the pill that can stop it forever. Finish it.
Fop: I have read a lot of commentary opposed to Truvada® from people in older generations. Michael Weinstein calls PrEP a “party drug” and Larry Kramer calls users “cowards”. What do you think they are missing about Truvada®?
ML: That’s not old thinking. Maybe some of them don’t want to lose their jobs. If everyone would be on Truvada® we would not have HIV, right? Every day, 6,000 new people in the world get HIV. In America alone, 50,000 people a year. And, I think this year it will be more because young people don’t see people dying — they’re not afraid . . . So that’s where the message failed. “Yeah we do know that if you use condoms you wont get it.” The message was right, correct, but it doesn’t work because people don’t use them. How many times have we told people they have to use condoms? They still won’t. Or at least 50,000 Americans won’t. And 6,000 people around the world a day won’t. So, how can one say “Just use condoms and don’t use Truvada®. It’s a party drug.” Ok, let them party. Condoms are not always available to you right next to you when you want to have sex. It just happens. People obviously don’t want to use them. They were using them in the 80s when they saw their friends dying. This is human nature.
Fop: Dating is so weird these days. When I was first starting to date, AOL chat rooms were still the “thing”. Nowadays, you’ve got Scruff, Grindr, Adam4Adam and all these hook up apps. How do you feel those apps have influenced dating these days?
ML: It’s fantastic, I met my boyfriend on Tindr. Somehow we have a lot of the same friends, so our paths crossed. And I loved his profile and we met, and we’ve been dating 5 months?
Fop: Did you specifically decide not to date other people in the industry?
ML: No. You build a set of requirements for your boyfriend, for your partner, or for whom you’re going to want to spend your life, so after time you know better what you need. And, so it’s not just a guy with a cute face, my boyfriend is super cute. There are a lot of qualities that I am looking for and I never found that in the porn world.
Fop: What are your thoughts on AB 1576, the California bill that would require compulsory condom use for adult film performers? A lot of porn actors have come out in opposition of this bill. What is it that the general public doesn’t know about the porn industry that makes performers so adamantly against such a bill?
ML: I don’t think they should be forced to have sex the way the government wants them to have sex. I’m very much for small government and for as little influence on private sector as possible. Let me decide how to have sex. This is up to adults, not up to the government.
Fop: How do you balance being such an outspoken public figure while maintaining a sense of personal privacy?
ML: I think I don’t have many secrets. Usually, the journalist already has a certain opinion and there is always an opinion in a profile on me. In general, I am very open about details of my life. Some people maybe don’t like my politics, but you know I don’t think there’s any information that I am withholding.
Fop: In your debut documentary film Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promise Land, you examine the thriving gay community in Israel as an example as a country that has emerged as a pioneer in gay integration and equality. What inspired you to make this film and what do you hope people take away from it?
ML: Oh, you know, I just had a very clear agenda of bringing tourists to Israel because I love the country. It’s my second home, and I wanted to share my love for Israel with gay people. I have so many e-mails about people who saw this movie, went to Israel, and had an amazing time. And I’ve never had anyone say, “You misled me. I went there and it wasn’t great.” So, I did it because Israel has been a great place for me, and I thought it was underrated. Now, it’s become a gay mecca.
Fop: And you’re actually helping to raise money for the Israeli Pride float this year in New York?
ML: Yeah, I gave a big deposit for that. And now, I’ll just raise what I can. There is no question we will have a float.
Fop: Well, speaking of documentaries you were recently featured in Buck Angel’s Mr. Angel.
ML: I heard about that but I haven’t seen it.
Fop: He showed up here to your office to attempt to get you to feature his work, but you turned him down. Considering Buck has a mostly gay audience, what is it that you think makes his porn a bad fit with your brand?
ML: I really don’t know who his audience is. You know and I know that gay men don’t like vaginas. So, as we wouldn’t go for a woman, a man with a vagina would be strange. I don’t know about this fetish. It’s very good that it works for him though. You know, the world is great because you can find anything. I just don’t think that the people that come here want to see a man with a vagina. And then, I have to think about sales. He’s a great guy, but that’s not enough to get him into our films.
Fop: A “Lucas-type” performer typically seems to project a masculine vibe, which is why I was a little surprised to see Chris Crocker pop up on your site. How did that come about?
ML: You know, I don’t know. It was the publicity people who thought it would be good and it was. Because he has a huge following, our website actually went down twice that day. They crashed it. So many people wanted to see him.
Fop: Since he was so popular, can we expect to see you bring him back?
ML: I don’t really do that. I think it was more of a one-time thing. But he’s a super nice guy.
Fop: Ok I’ve got to lighten this up and ask …You were in RuPaul’s movie Starrbooty.
ML: Oh, God…
Fop: And you recently posted a picture of yourself with him. Do you keep up with him at all? What do you think of the controversy surrounding his statements as of late?
ML: Yeah, I keep in touch. Gay men don’t give a sh*t about this funny thing, “shemale”, right? People couldn’t care less and I’m talking about the entire LGBT community. I never met anyone that is a known transgendered – I have lots of different friends – who’s not laughing at this stupid thing that this stupid blogger wrote. There’s someone who wanted to get five minutes of fame and create the drama. When RuPaul is saying this whole thing about shemale, it was in a friendly, innocent, joking way. And the fact that it was RuPaul, who is a drag queen and is bringing very positive attention to drag queens, and to transsexuals . . . And he is humanizing them and showing them as people like everybody else with feelings and difficulties in life . . . So, to attack him for using the term — this funny, joking term — and then capitulating to those bullies because one, two, three people said, “Ooo, our feelings are hurt”? This is a democracy. This is freedom of speech. This is a joke. This is not a vicious attack. I think that they should be so thankful to him. And they are. I think the gay community should not fight their own. I mean, my God, not RuPaul. That’s ridiculous.
And you know, gay people are sometimes going a little bit overboard in general, I think, lately. For example, the attack on Alec Baldwin was ridiculous. I mean we have real enemies. Come on, he is an ally. He’s as left wing as you can get. He’s not a homophobe. He likes gay people. I know that very well. He yelled some stupid kindergarten word that had something to do with gay. I don’t think he was thinking about gay bashing. I don’t think he was referring to violence against a gay person. I think he just used that word. And the backlash that he got? My goodness. He is an ally. He is not a target of our wrath and he shouldn’t be. There are real enemies and that’s whom we should fight. But we are acting like a mafia, and that’s not a good thing. There is going to be a backlash.
Fop: I know there has been a lot of talk about what it actually means to be a member of the LGBTQ community . . .
ML: I don’t even know Q. How did Q get there? It’s all so stupid. In the end we will put the entire alphabet there. What’s Q? Queer?
Fop: Yes, Queer.
ML: Q. Queer. I don’t know anybody who identifies themselves as queer. I maybe just don’t know them. But, I don’t know any friend of mine who would say, “I am queer.” This is a very academic term. Also it’s very 70s, you know? I think that everybody is referring to themselves as gay, and I guess, lesbian and queer? Why? For what? I don’t think it’s going to work. I don’t think people will switch to “LGBTQ”. I think they are already saying LGBT and it is already so many letters. This is not what the gay community wants. This is what a few want — a few academics, a few political gays that do not represent anyone. Just pushing that word. Do you know anyone who wants Q?
Fop: I actually know a lot of people in the queer community. A lot of my friends identify as queer. I know that LGBTQIA gets thrown around some in conversations . . .
ML: What is “I”? Where did you meet them?
Fop: Well I have spoken on various panels within the sex industry and conferences and . . .
ML: And see, that’s what’s happening, the LGBTQIA community? They are all good words, but you can’t put them all in the name of an organization. You know? It’s broad enough — LGBT. You’re saying that you know somebody who identifies this way? I still think it’s just people involved in gay politics. It’s only for political gays, I call them. The activists, I only hear it from some activist.