Not many members of the LGBT community have managed to spark conversation as distinctively as adult film mogul and activist Michael Lucas. As the founder of Lucas Entertainment, one of the largest gay adult film corporations, Lucas is no stranger to sex and his provocative standpoints have ignited criticism, citing him as ignorant and reckless.
Similarly, his outspoken position on Jews and Palestinians as well as related political affairs has led to Lucas being labeled a hardcore Zionist and Islamophobe.
Interestingly, rather than address the varying and growing criticism he receives; Michael Lucas appears to seemingly use it all as a business technique. Despite his line of work and candid nature Lucas, now in his mid-40s, is still much of an enigma in our community and to the public as a whole. Although it took some doing, Michael Lucas agreed to open up to me regarding the controversy surrounding his take on bareback sex, the use of PrEP, and LGBT Jews vs. Palestinians. Brace yourself.
You have been very vocal in your support of PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to the extent that you feel every gay man should be on the medication. However there has been controversy as to potential side effects and the mindset it promotes. Do you consider yourself partial because your boyfriend is HIV-positive?
Michael Lucas: Bareback sex is natural and much more stimulating than having sex with condoms. Condoms have only been used out of necessity and were more vital during the HIV epidemic decades ago. PrEP is proven to be a more effective treatment reducing the risk of HIV by upwards of 99%. As far as my boyfriend goes, he is undetectable and poses no risk. People who know their status don’t spread HIV. I actually might be more concerned having sex with someone who is not HIV-positive.
That is a very big statement to make. In today’s society, it’s crucial to be health-conscious especially with the discovery and recent growth of subsequent sexually transmitted diseases. What makes you comfortable about having sex with someone who is HIV-positive?
ML: Generally speaking they are on medication to suppress the spread of the disease and undergo routine medical care. That is why I push HIV-negative gay men to take PrEP: you can have sex with anyone regardless of his status. Let’s be real here. If straight men could get laid as easy as gay men, this conversation would be taking place universally. Did we use condoms before we learned about HIV? No. HIV is a known risk factor so it makes no sense for bareback sex to be a controversial topic now considering all a healthy HIV-negative man would have to do is begin PrEP to remedy that fear and potential future outcome.
Yet it can’t be denied that PrEP, as beneficial as it is in the moment, is a double-edged sword. Some argue the extensive promotion blinds users to the exposure of other sexually transmitted diseases and caters to an invincibility complex where users may not take into account the many STI’s they could pick up during anonymous sex albeit still avoiding HIV. Even Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, has expressed similar sentiments labeling Truvada as a party drug.
This notion continues to infuriate me. The same can be said for condoms despite the lower risk. The same can be said for oral sex. You can still pick up chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and the rest of the menu. Gay men are not dumb. They enjoy having sex and they should. Having sex on PrEP as opposed to condoms makes the world of a difference. The key here is that most STI’s are very easy to treat and are not life-threatening. HIV, on the other hand, is life-threatening and PrEP treats that possible outcome. It just comes down to common sense and being aware. For example, if you’re going to cheat on your husband, use a condom in addition to PrEP.
Good point. But the side effects remain including lactic acidosis, a plethora of liver and kidney issues that could arise, and potential bone density loss. This explains the standard three-month medical checkup users undergo when on PrEP. Do you view the possible outcomes as a threat?
ML: PrEP is nothing new. Truvada has been on the market for a decade. It’s a good thing you need to go for bloodwork every three months because you are being extensively monitored for not just HIV but the entire catalog of STDs as well as any side effects. You are meeting with a doctor per protocol more than you would have had you not been taking the prescription.
You’ve come under fire for your feelings regarding the chaos taking place in the Middle East and Islamic extremism before. So, what are your feelings on the Orlando nightclub massacre?
ML: I am glad you asked. This is not just a black-and-white situation. The main issue at hand is Islamic extremism and radicalization. This was pure terrorism and I am extremely disappointed in our political leaders, especially Hillary Clinton, who diverted the issue of Muslim extremism to gun control and pigeonholed Orlando as an anti-LGBT issue. Islam is very homophobic, yes, but they also hate women, they hate Jews, and they hate anyone who disagrees with them.
How could Hillary Clinton and subsequent politicians have handled it differently?
ML: I truly feel the massacre could have been used to unite rather than further divide. The attacker pledged his loyalty to ISIS on social media prior to the massacre. The liberal party platform’s mantra is that all religion is bad. Granted, religion as a whole is flawed, but you never hear of Jews or Christians detonating themselves publicly in the name of Jesus. This is not a generalized issue. Bill Maher is one of the few liberals brave enough to express a similar sentiment.
In retrospect do you feel that maybe our leaders or the media feared addressing the topic of radical Muslims?
ML: Yes. I feel it was easier for them to compartmentalize this as an anti-LGBT incident and shine light on gun control rather than ignite tension within the gay community. Yet what did we learn? That gay society is just as vulnerable as everyone else. Gay Jews and gay Muslims share a commonality and are much more united than their heterosexual counterparts. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that welcomes gay Muslim refugees and protects them from the persecution they would have experienced in their homelands. I created a documentary about Israel’s progression in all LGBT matters, titled “Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land,” and encourage your readers to view it.
Your authenticity has been very much appreciated throughout this entire conversation. Do you feel as though you get a negative portrayal within the media due to your bold statements?
ML: I do. I’m aware after this interview is published I may be labeled a bigot to some degree but I honestly do not care. I feel my voice needs to be heard, and after the initial shock wears down, I am confident many will come to find that there is veracity behind it all. I hope your readers take to heart my advice and perspective.