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September 21, 2014

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New era: Health authorities open brothels to male prostitutes

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Men may now join the ranks of Nevada’s brothel prostitutes, after a unanimous decision today that added language to health codes so male sex workers could be tested for infectious diseases.

A brothel industry lobbyist -- in what could be considered a befuddling double standard -- bemoaned the change, comparing it to the industry’s “Pearl Harbor.” He managed to voice concerns about homosexual sex entering the industry without ever saying “gay sex” or “homosexual.”

Men were previously barred in Nevada from the oldest profession because codes specified that prostitutes must undergo “cervical” testing for sexually transmitted diseases, which ruled out men.

Bobbi Davis, owner of the Shady Lady Ranch, a small brothel near Beatty, wanted to add male prostitutes to her stable of sex workers.

And while there have been plans for brothels to hire men in the past, Davis made the first-ever request to have the Nevada State Board of Health add urethral exams to the guidelines. That allows male sex workers to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases.

Davis has said the men could start working at her five-bed brothel starting in the New Year. The male prostitutes will decide for themselves whether to accept male or female clients, she said, just as the female prostitutes do now.

The health board approved the change in what an attorney from the ACLU, representing Davis, called “housekeeping.”

George Flint, the former Assemblies of God minister who has been lobbying for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association for 24 years, said he “reluctantly -- and I underscore reluctantly” agrees to the change.

Flint refused to be interviewed by the Sun Thursday, and could not yet be reached for comment today. But because female prostitutes in Nevada service both men and women, his complaints about changing the status quo can be interpreted as a problem the industry has with gay sex.

Flint told regulators today that he was going on the record with concerns about the board’s agreement, so when he goes before legislators in 2011 they will know that the industry opposed male prostitution. The brother industry has previously tried to avoid any controversy.

“There should be some fallout and backlash from this decision,” Flint said. “Some may feel it’s a repugnant thing to do or something that does not have the appetite of the state as a whole.”

“We’ve worked hard for years to make the traditional brothel business in this state socially acceptable an something we can be proud of that most Nevadans accept,” Flint added. “We have some concerns that this can be diluted by what Ms. Bobbi Davis wants to try.”

Flint went on to say that he’s proud of the industry’s track record in preventing the passage of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, between prostitutes and clients.

“Now we’re going to get into an areas that doesn’t enjoy the same track record that our industry has enjoyed,” he said.

Flint said he could not oppose the regulation change that allows male prostitution because it can’t be legal for women but not for men. But he said today’s decision was like Pearl Harbor for the brothel industry.

“It was inevitable with Pearl Harbor we’d have a problem there someday, and we’ve known this would be a problem, too,” he said.

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