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Public nudity ban eyed in fed-up San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco may be getting ready to shed its image as a city where anything goes, including clothing.

City lawmakers are scheduled to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would prohibit nudity in most public places, a blanket ban that represents an escalation of a two-year tiff between a devoted group of men who strut their stuff through the city's famously gay Castro District and the supervisor who represents the area.

Supervisor Scott Wiener's proposal would make it illegal for a person over the age of 5 to "expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region on any public street, sidewalk, street median, parklet or plaza" or while using public transit.

A first offense would carry a maximum penalty of a $100 fine, but prosecutors would have authority to charge a third violation as a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine and a year in jail. Exemptions would be made for participants at permitted street fairs and parades, such as the city's annual gay pride event and the Folsom Street Fair, which celebrates sadomasochism and other sexual subcultures.

Wiener said he resisted introducing the ordinance, but felt compelled to act after constituents complained about the naked men who gather in a small Castro plaza most days and sometimes walk the streets au naturel. He persuaded his colleagues last year to pass a law requiring a cloth to be placed between public seating and bare rears, yet the complaints have continued.

"I don't think having some guys taking their clothes off and hanging out seven days a week at Castro and Market Street is really what San Francisco is about. I think it's a caricature of what San Francisco is about," Wiener said.

The proposed ban predictably has produced outrage, as well as a lawsuit. Last week, about two dozen people disrobed in front of City Hall and marched around the block to the amusement of gawking tourists and high school students on a field trip.

Stripped down to his sunglasses and hiking boots, McCray Winpsett, 37, said he understands the disgust of residents who would prefer not to see the body modifications and sex enhancement devices sported by some of the Castro nudists. But he thinks Wiener's prohibition goes too far in undermining a tradition "that keeps San Francisco weird." "A few lewd exhibitionists are really ruining it for the rest of us," he said. "It's my time to come out now to present myself in a light and show what true nudity is all about so people can separate the difference between what a nudist is and an exhibitionist is."

Because clothes are required to enter City Hall itself, demonstrators who try to disrobe at the Board of Supervisors meeting will be escorted out by sheriff's deputies. That is what happened last Monday when Gypsy Taub removed her dress at a committee hearing where the ban had its first public hearing. Taub, a mother of two, said she got her start as a nudist while hosting a local cable program devoted to the theory that the government was behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"I thought if I take my clothes off, I bet they are going to listen," she said.

San Francisco lawyer Christina DiEdoardo filed a federal lawsuit last week on behalf of Taub and three men that seeks to block Weiner's ordinance, if it passes and is signed by Mayor Edwin Lee. The complaint alleges that the ban infringes on the free speech rights of nudists and discriminates against those who cannot afford to obtain a city permit. While it may seem strange that going out in the buff is not already illegal in San Francisco, most California cities do not have local nudity laws, Wiener said. Instead, they are adequately covered by state indecent exposure laws and societal mores. But indecent exposure technically only applies to lewd behavior, so city officials have had to craft a local solution, he said, adding that the cities of Berkeley and San Jose already have done so.

"I suspect there are a lot of places that maybe don't currently have a local law (and) that if people started getting naked every day would quickly see a local law," Wiener said.

by Anonymousreply 3011/19/2012

[quote]Supervisor Scott Wiener's proposal would make it illegal for a person over the age of 5 to "expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region on any public street, sidewalk, street median, parklet or plaza" or while using public transit.

Fine with me, if person mean "boy" -- you doo-doo Apple Head!!!!

by Anonymousreply 111/19/2012

Welcome to civilization, San Francisco.

by Anonymousreply 211/19/2012

Do people really need to walk around nude? I don't care if it's some hot, young stud - I still don't want to see people walking around with their bits hanging out.

by Anonymousreply 311/19/2012

The powers that be in San Francisco wouldn't be making such a big to-do about public nudity but for the fact that most of the people who get naked in their city tend to be old, fat, bald, ugly, dirty or a combination of the above; or that mnay of the naked bodies on display belong to homeless people.

by Anonymousreply 411/19/2012

San Francisco needs a good talking to. It needs to be much more like contemporary New York City. Decent folks want a Disney Store in the Castro.

by Anonymousreply 511/19/2012

How did this public nudity thing start, anyway. Did the original city fathers forget to include indecent exposure laws when they first wrote up the codes?

by Anonymousreply 611/19/2012

It just majorly pisses me off. R6 is right. San Francisco has been nude since the monks first settled the place. If they didn't have a problem with it, if the U.S. during its most conservative periods like the Red Scare or the Reagan AIDS crisis could deal with sprinklings of nudity why does 21st century, bluer than blue California suddenly have the temerity to lash out at tradition?

by Anonymousreply 711/19/2012

[quote]why does 21st century, bluer than blue California suddenly have the temerity to lash out at tradition?

Rejoice, homosexuals! The Mommies are here to liberate you from your perversions!

by Anonymousreply 811/19/2012

Isn't this all about Mommies moving into the Castro?

by Anonymousreply 911/19/2012

developers, yuppies and business owners are trying to turn the Castro and every non-mansion San Francisco neighborhood into another outdoor suburban mall.

gentrification is the rising tide that drowns all without boats

by Anonymousreply 1011/19/2012

They should pass a law that only pretty people can be nude, both indoors and out.

Now, that's something I could get behind.

by Anonymousreply 1111/19/2012

To be fair, it sounds like a lot of the complaints about "nudism" are really complaints about obnoxious people making a nuisance out of themselves. I don't think anybody in SF has a problem with people running nude in races, as part of a group of dancers or whatever. Somebody ought to find a way to stop people from being a public nuisance, like maybe a loitering law. As far as ugly, old, fat people displaying "sex enhancement devices," ugh. Also being naked and hanging around schools and parks where kids are playing. Sorry, if you're a nudist you don't do that. That's just predatory behavior.

by Anonymousreply 1311/19/2012

There is a place for nudity and it's not on the streets. I can understand if it is for a performance on stage or in some sort of private indoor "club" but not out in public out in the open where anyone can see.

by Anonymousreply 1411/19/2012

Why do people like Wiener have to be dicks. Can't one have one's disagreements without trying to re-establish a mindless and immoral Puritanism in the body politic?

by Anonymousreply 1511/19/2012

Uh, their bodies have no more bacteria than they would have if they were clothed. Stop being such a Howard Hughes R16.

by Anonymousreply 1711/19/2012

No way would I use public transit if I was a nudist. Eww-factor in effect.

by Anonymousreply 1811/19/2012

I disagree, R3.

Hot young studs should absolutely be exempt from this law. They're only beautifying the city.

But this law should stand as it applies to all women and old, fat or unattractive men.

by Anonymousreply 1911/19/2012

[quote]illegal for a person over the age of 5 to "expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region on any public street,

This law was written by a pedo I presume?

by Anonymousreply 2011/19/2012

I don't want to see THAT!

by Anonymousreply 2111/19/2012

Even in Germany, where open-air swimming and sunbathing in the nude is considered no big deal, you can't just go naked in public wherever you feel like it. Even in nudist camps you're supposed to sit on a towel, not just smash your naked ass down anywhere and everywhere. Come on, have some manners.

by Anonymousreply 2211/19/2012

The point is that an outright ban is a starting point from which you build consensus, but all I've heard is ban it period. I suppose San Franciscans are delighted to invite a hostile police presence into their city over this issue. When it comes to cops vs naked people, naked people die.

by Anonymousreply 2311/19/2012

Wow, there are some crazy people in SF.

by Anonymousreply 2411/19/2012

r23 last line should be made into an after school special.

by Anonymousreply 2511/19/2012

I used to live in SF during the early 90's - I'll never forget the crack whore on Polk who would show prospective clients her pussy with a little shard of broken mirror - now she can show the real thing! Progress is great.

by Anonymousreply 2611/19/2012

So the nudity has grown? It was my perception that public nudity was endemic and could as easily appeared in San Francisco scenes from the Alfred Hitchcock film 'Vertigo'.

by Anonymousreply 2711/19/2012

So a Weiner wants to ban publicly displayed weiners?

Nuts! (sorry).

by Anonymousreply 2811/19/2012

Clothe the saggies.

by Anonymousreply 2911/19/2012
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