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Thread: Protesters Bare All Over a Proposed San Francisco Law

  1. #1
    Elite Member Chalet's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Default Protesters Bare All Over a Proposed San Francisco Law

    SAN FRANCISCO — Perhaps it should not be a surprise that San Francisco does not have a law against being naked in public, nor that a small, unselfconscious segment of the city’s residents regularly exercise that right.

    A proposed law would put some restrictions on public nudity in San Francisco, and a “Nude-In” on Saturday became a tourist attraction. “This is about body acceptance, not politics,” the organizer said.

    That tiny minority was joined this weekend in the autumn fog and cold by unclothed sympathizers at a “Nude-In.” One of their objectives was to draw attention to a proposed law — introduced by Scott Wiener, a city supervisor — that would prohibit nudity in restaurants and require unclad people to put a towel or other material down before sitting bare-bottomed on benches or other public seats.

    Mr. Wiener said the law was introduced in response to an increase in nakedness in parks, streets and restaurants. “It used to be that there would be one nude guy wandering around the neighborhood and no one thought twice about it,” said Mr. Wiener, who represents the city’s Castro district. “Now it’s a regular thing and much more obnoxious. We have guys sitting down naked in public without the common decency to put something down underneath them.”

    Mr. Wiener’s effort was destined to grab headlines, but he probably did not anticipate that his legislation would inspire even more people to disrobe.

    “Wiener might as well have shot lasers and fireworks into the sky announcing that public nudity is legal,” said George Davis, 65.

    A self-described “urban nudist” who once ran for mayor and often campaigned in the buff, Mr. Davis now spends most afternoons lounging in his birthday suit in a public plaza in the Castro.

    Putting a towel between your backside and a seat is “basic nudist etiquette,” said Mr. Davis, adding that the legislation requiring it was “totally unnecessary.”

    Still, Mr. Davis said, the publicity about the proposed law could be credited for the new faces at the Nude-In, which was held Saturday at the Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro.
    Other nearby cities like Berkeley and San Jose have passed laws prohibiting public nudity, but in San Francisco it remains legal. In accordance with state law, public nudity is only illegal when accompanied by “lewd thoughts or acts” or “where there are present other persons to be offended or annoyed.”

    But since state law prohibits police officers from being the offended party, it takes a citizen’s arrest— a rare occurrence in a city that prides itself on its open-mindedness and tolerance — to take a naked person into custody.

    Many of the people who took part in the Nude-In said that they already used towels when they sat down, and that they thought Mr. Wiener’s legislation was pointless. The event itself was originally organized not as a protest but as a curtain-raiser for the Folsom Street Fair, which spread over 13 city blocks on Sunday. “This is about body acceptance, not politics,” said the Nude-In’s organizer, Mitch Hightower, 50, who runs a pornographic Web site.

    Nowhere is brazen public nudity more evident than at the Folsom Street Fair, which is billed as the largest leather and fetish event in the world. The gathering attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year, many of them wearing black leather chaps and nothing else.

    “In San Francisco, public nudity is a big part of a lot of social street events, and that’s a good thing,” Mr. Hightower said. Businesses in the Castro are divided over the role that naked people play in the neighborhood’s economic and cultural appeal. Despite receiving some complaints about nudity from business owners, Steve Adams, president of the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro, says he often sees tourists posing for photographs with the nudists.

    “Nudity really doesn’t impact business,” said Mr. Adams, whose group represents about 300 businesses. “In fact, it is kind of a draw for tourists. As long as the people who come to look spend money in the neighborhood, that’s all I care about.”

    At the Nude-In, bystanders in sweaters and jackets circled the cluster of several dozen naked people, gawking and snapping photos with their smartphones. Two teenage girls posed with a man carrying a “Nude Is Not Lewd” sign and wearing nothing more than a white cowboy hat and a pair of worn leather boots.

    “I brought my out-of-town guests here to show them an ‘only in San Francisco’ experience,” said Maggie Cahill, 53, a technology manager at a bank who stood scrunching her nose at the scene with friends from Los Angeles. “Where are the supermodel types?” she asked. “We want to know why it’s always the people who should not be naked who get naked.”

    Some of the nudists at the rally seemed to already be adhering to the sought-after decorum by sitting on newspapers. In fact, The San Francisco Bay Guardian, one of the city’s weeklies, explicitly advertised its usefulness for just that purpose, printing a special clip-out page in last week’s issue. The page pointed out that newsprint was a 100 percent recyclable seat guard, and in bold type it said: “If you go bare, put ’er there.”

  2. #2
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Feb 2007


    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  3. #3
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    Apr 2006


    I love SF and how they let their freak flags fly proudly.

  4. #4
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Wherever my kids are


    Quote Originally Posted by Beeyotch View Post
    I love SF and how they let their freak flags fly proudly.
    Same here.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Your Pocket


    “It used to be that there would be one nude guy wandering around the neighborhood and no one thought twice about it,” said Mr. Wiener, who represents the city’s Castro district. “Now it’s a regular thing and much more obnoxious.
    So it was fine that people had permission to go nude, as long as virtually no one actually did it?
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

  6. #6
    Gold Member BigBen's Avatar
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    Sep 2008


    Maybe if Mr. Wiener let his own wiener flap openly in the breeze he'd feel better about the whole thing and leave everybody alone. Although I do wish bare-assed people would put something down if they sit! Ass cooties are still a big concern!
    "Not only do we embrace it, we take it out for drinks, get it absolutely steaming drunk, leg hump it and then leave it covered in shaving foam and a stolen Chuck E Cheese outfit in its own bath with no recollection of how it got there." -Kittylady on the sad and pathetic and strange.

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