Pro-nudity activists took to the streets of San Francisco Wednesday to fight for the right to bare it all. Yahoo! News reports there were some two dozen demonstrators, all of them traveling light (translation: sans clothes) as they descended on City Hall to protest a proposed municipal ban on public nakedness. A hearing on the measure by the city’s Board of Supervisors is scheduled for next Tuesday.
Rally organizer and former stripper Gypsy Taub, wearing nothing more than a look of determination, is quoted as saying, “We are here today in response to an attack on our fundamental freedom, our freedom to be ourselves in our own city,” Taub, who hosts a blog and public access television show, both named My Naked Truth, was joined by likeminded (and like-attired) protesters. Many held aloft signs with messages like “Nudity is Natural” and “Nude is not Lewd.” One of the attendees used a cane while another was in a wheelchair.
And one, the group’s attorney, Christina DiEdoardo, was fully clothed. “The city is overstepping its authority,” she told reporters. “The act of being naked is not enough to be obscene or indecently exposed under California law. My clients,” she added, “are trying to save the Board of Supervisors from acting unconstitutionally.”
One might wonder why lawmakers are even entertaining such a law in a city where virtually anything goes. The reason, explains Scott Wiener, the board member who introduced the ordinance, is the proclivity of men to parade naked through the streets of the predominantly gay Castro District, which he represents.
“We’ve always had random and sporadic public nudity in San Francisco, and no one had a problem with that,” Wiener told The New York Times. “In the last two years, things have changed. In the Castro, in particular, we now have men who take their clothes off and hang out every day of the week, and that has caused a lot of anger and frustration in the neighborhood.”
Under the law, a first-time citation for nudity would result in a fine of up to $100. A second violation within a twelve-month period would up the penalty to $200, and a third violation would increase it to $500 and add in up to a year of jail time.
The law, fittingly nicknamed “the Wiener bill,” would make allowances for the public display of naked breasts. Unclothed children under the age of 5, and nudity at events permitted by the city, including the annual gay pride parade, would also be exempted from prosecution.
Still, that’s not enough for some diehard nudists, such as 69-year-old Rusty Mills, who grumbled that “nudophobic bigotry has now taken root here in San Francisco.”
Adds Gypsy Taub, “We refuse to go back to the dark ages of body shame and sexual repression. Long live body freedom.”
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