Warning, spew alert! You’ve been advised…
Public nudity in San Francisco is not illegal. In fact, it is quite common. The San Francisco Supervisor , Scott Wiener, is proposing a bill that would require nudists to carry a towel and throw on a robe — or some other clothing — before entering a restaurant.
Wiener said he is not trying to stop public nudity but instead he is trying to legislate a public sanitation issue. “But this is really focusing on two very specific issues,” he said. “One when you go into a restaurant you should cover and two if you are going to sit down on public sitting you should put something down.”
But the nudists aren’t having that. They staged a protest last Saturday in San Francisco’s Castro District. Pajamas Media had a reporter (goes by the name Zombie) on the scene to document the lovely individuals attending. Zombie also had an excellent opinion of what the true motive is of these nudists. And that aren’t just doing this to be exhibitionists. Zombie had an excellent summary of the issues involved: the purpose of clothing, public hygiene, exhibitionism, community standards and morality. Now comes the photos:
The protest was held in a small plaza at the intersection of Castro, 17th, and Market streets in San Francisco. While the Castro District is well-known as a sort of outdoor gay-themed tourist attraction, it is still a “real” part of the urban landscape, just like any other part of the city, with street lights and gas stations and trolley tracks and laws. Traffic streamed by as the nudists (all men) began to assemble, several of whom were carrying protest signs saying things like “Nude is not lewd” and “Get your hate off my body.”
Zombie surmissed that clothing has several functions:
1. To protect the wearer from the elements — cold temperatures, blazing sun, wind, etc.;
2. To cover up various body parts which cultural norms have deemed taboo;
3. To advertise one’s status, role, class or position in society; and
4. To prevent the transmission of potentially unsanitary excretions and fluids by enclosing the anal and genital regions.
And this is the source of the conflict: Wiener’s law merely addresses the issue of public hygiene in point 4 above — but the nudists are protesting the cultural norms in point 2. Yet no matter how successful they are in smashing cultural norms, they still can’t escape the general consensus that day-to-day urban nudity has pubic health consequences.
The nudists’ reply is that the “pubic health” argument is merely a smokescreen to justify puritanical repression. The anti-nudity advocates are being dishonest, the protesters argue; opposition to public nakedness is not based on concern about transmissible diseases, but rather on old-fashioned prudery.
While that may be true, Zombie counters with this: The San Francisco public nudists are also being dishonest; there is indeed a sexual component to their behavior, and they are exhibitionists using politics to justify their thrill-seeking.
The naked protest originally had nothing to do with the hubbub over the new towel legislation; it was in fact basically just a launch party for the Folsom Street Fair: The event, which had been scheduled before Wiener’s proposal was announced, was part of the unofficial celebrations leading up to the annual Folsom Street Fair, billed as the world’s largest leather and fetish event. Zombie goes on to describe the event:
A festival of sexual fetishes — bondage, sado-machochism, animal fantasies, and so on — yet the pre-eminent sexual fetish at the Folsom event is the one least discussed: exhibitionism. Exhibitionists derive sexual pleasure from having people watch them engage in sex. (I can’t bare to describe more, click here for the full details).
The spot chosen for the nude protest is on a traffic island in the middle of an extremely busy intersection; trolley cars filled with commuters and tourists run immediately adjacent to the “park,” while a six-lane major traffic artery runs along the other side; and one of the city’s most crowded pedestrian streets leads right to the same intersection. Why choose that particular spot, not just for Saturday’s protest but for daily nudity year-round? The goal quite obviously is to be seen by as many people as possible. The nudists claim they just want to be left alone and be free to go about their daily lives with no clothes on. But if that were the case, they wouldn’t purposely congregate in crowded places.
I highly recommend to read Zombie’s full report here (if you can stomach it).
These nudists are not only exhibitionists, they are selfish (among other things). There is a nude beach in the city and several nudist colonies. You can’t smoke in public anymore because of health concerns – so why should a smoker not be able to blow smoke near your face yet a nudist can dangle their private parts in the smoker’s face? Don’t these nudists care about their fellow human beings catching some disease from the bodily fluids that they excrete? Nope. They only care about their personal sexual perversions and demanding they be accepted by the public.
I haven’t been to San Francisco since the late 80’s. And I will never, ever, ever go to San Francisco as long as this is legal.