We are posting this on behalf of George Davis, and is of particular interest to our friends from the United States, as he compares San Francisco with London and New York.
A Tale of Three Cities
by George Davis
(George Davis is the author of two books: Naked Yoga, and Weapons of Mass Deception. He is co-editor of Free Your Body; Free Your Mind. As a body-freedom activist, he has been arrested more than twenty times, including an arrest for making a public speech on the Capitol Mall in Washington, DC.)
Do you remember George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words” that you can’t broadcast or publish? That was 40 years ago… but the ban on such words still exists. And word-censorship is not the only in-your-face censorship that is going on.
If you are curious about the real purposes of routine media censorship — the kind that occurs in plain sight in mainstream newspapers and public TV broadcasts, converting words like ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, ‘cunt’, and ‘nigger’ into ridiculous gobbledegook like ‘f**k’, ‘s**t’, ‘c**t’, and ‘the n-word’ — then this tale is for you. If you wonder why Facebook and other social media will not allow you to post pictures showing female breasts, or images of your clothes-free vacation, or of the Australian Nude Beach Olympics, then this tale is for you. If you suspect that somehow this censorship is designed to make you stupid, socially controlled, and unable to perceive the world realistically, then this tale is for you.
On the other hand, if you feel that this this kind of censorship is a step in the right direction for human society, then this tale is probably not for you. If you think that social media are doing you and society a great service by censoring harmless images, and if you feel that our ability to deal with life and with the world is improved by mystifying and tabooing the human body, then this tale is not for you. You should do a mental delete, skip this tale, and move on to another diversion.
My tale is about the growth and social/cultural ramifications of the Body Freedom Movement in the three leading cultural centers in the world: London, New York City, and San Francisco. What is ‘body freedom’? It is the concept that your body and all of your body parts, including penises, pussies, and breasts, are normal and natural. You would think that this concept would be uncontroversial, since most people agree with it. Yet, the Body Freedom Movement is currently the Rodney Dangerfield of political movements. It gets “no respect.”
Aside from being a writer, as a Body Freedom activist, I will ask you to re-transmit this document by May 18, 2017 to anyone you know who has any political, cultural, or artistic leanings via email, your social media, or blogs. If enough people know this story, a potentially revolutionary (or more accurately re-evolutionary) game-changing court decision will occur.
The tale itself
Once upon a time, on an ordinary planet like trillions of others in a universe suitable for carbon-based life forms, there dwelt a dominant species, Homo sapiens (Latin for ‘wise ape’). The species’ control of the planet’s resources derived from its large brain which was capable of developing language, tools, fire usage, agriculture, and social organization. Homo sapiens’ undisputed mastery of Earth has only existed for 5,000 years, a sliver in time compared to a universe that has already existed for 14 billion years.
Let’s fast forward and snapshot the year 2017. Looking at Earth from space you might never guess that its land areas are divided up by Homo sapiens into nation-states whose boundaries are set by oceans, rivers, longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates, and most importantly by accidents of history — wars, colonial settlements, dynastic marriages, and the like. Almost every individual Homo sapiens has a nationality. Over the past few centuries global wars have been fought between nations — wars like the Seven Years’ War, the Crimean War, and World Wars I and II. In 2017 and recent decades, there have been no national wars between states. However, in recent years, there has been a nationalist resurgence characterized by groups and events like America First, UK Brexit, Russian annexations in the Ukraine, and “strongman” regimes in several nation-states.
Homo sapiens divides itself into
A Message from Gypsy Taub.
Dear Body Freedom lovers,
You are all invited to our very first Nude Summer of Love Parade in honor of Jerry Garcia. August 1st is his birthday and August 9th is the day he died.
Please join us to celebrate the hippie movement and all the liberation that it brought to America and to the rest of the world.
The hippie movement started here, in San Francisco, and then it has and still continues to change the world. As we all know, body freedom, sexual freedom and freedom of choice and self-expression were very important aspects of that movement. Civil rights movement and massive rebellion against the oppression of the human race have also permanently changed our planet for the better. Today we take many of our freedoms for granted and often forget that it took a multi-generation worldwide movement to secure those rights and to make them a normal part of our daily lives.
Let’s get naked to honor and to celebrate the power of love and freedom! Let’s get naked to celebrate the beauty of an open heart and an open mind! Let’s celebrate the beauty of nature, of the human body and spirit!
The Summer of Love started in the 60s but it never has to end. It is up to us to keep it alive in our hearts and minds. It is up to us to continue this tradition of liberation of the human race through love, understanding and compassion. It is up to us to continue pushing the envelope and reaching for greater and greater freedom. It is up to us to never give up and never settle for mediocrity.
Please join us in our celebration of the new spirituality and the new world! It is up to us to create that world; it is up to us to manifest our dreams and to inspire others to dream.
Please come as bare as you dare and please feel free to wear flowers, to paint peace signs on your body and to bring signs or objects that reflect the spirit of the Summer of Love!
We will gather at Jane Warner Plaza (Castro, 17th Street and Market Street) at 11 am. The parade will begin at noon.
We still don’t have the permit from the SFPD so there may be changes to the date and to the parade route. But most likely it will remain the same.
Parade will start at 11 am (march will start at noon) from Jane Warner Plaza to Haight and Ashbury corner. We will take pics there and proceed to the park. Unfortunately, the park is under a different jurisdiction so we are not allowed to be nude there but we will still march to the park and then back to Jane Warner Plaza or you are welcome to stay at the park or a Haight and Ashbury. That area is great for nude activism, people are very supportive there.
After adding up all the donations that I received at the Pride Parade and through PayPal I almost have enough to cover this month’s legal fees. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! If you haven’t donated in a while please send us some donations towards our legal bill for August. You can PayPal it to gypsytaub AT gmail DOT com or email me for other arrangements.
I created a Facebook page for the parade. Please spread the word! This link should work from your Facebook account:
Jane Warner Plaza, North on Waller Street, North on Divisadero, West on Haight to Stanyan and back – East on Haight, South on Divisadero, South on Castro to Jane Warner Plaza.
We will stop at Haight and Ashbury corner to take pictures.
This route may change so please stay tuned for updates from mynakedtruth.
I hope to see you all there!
Attenborough at 9 or 90
On the 8th May, Sir David Attenborough, one of Briton’s icons celebrated his 90th birthday with an hour special on BBC1. Naturally, one of the many memorable clips they showed was the moment a Gorilla family accepted the young Attenborough like any other member of the family.
To help the celebrations along, the BBC commissioned Aardman Animations to imagine what the Gorillas thought of the encounter and it ended with one of them wondering how to describe him: Archaeologist? Naturist? Presenter Kirsty Young asked the television veteran if he was a naturist and he played along, enjoying the moment and the humour like a nine-year old, without actually answering the question.
So, belated I know, but in case he is a naturist and subscribes to H&E Naturist: Happy Birthday sir.
Scotland the Brave
For some, Scotland and midges go together like peaches and cream, but not if we’re to believe the Daily Record (02/05/2016) who told us of Scottish naturists who gathered at Morag’s Fairy’s Glen, a beauty spot in the Firth of Clyde. A graduate of Stirling University, I can vouch for the stunningly beautiful landscape but this has been the first time that naturists could walk through the valley naked.
Apart from the walk, those attending the Scottish weekend celebrated the national poet for Scotland, Robbie Burns and had a cellidh, where the gentlemen attending were expected to wear a bow tie, while the ladies wore a sash with their clan tartan.
Ivan Gill, the organizer for the weekend told the Daily Record: ‘I do this first and foremost for people to have fun, but it’s also about making naturism more socially acceptable.’
The sad thing is that the newspaper’s editor chose to cover peoples’ backsides with large Daisies in one photograph but not in others. How daft is that?
Black IS beautiful
This is an old article from Ebony magazine (15/10/2015) when ‘sexpert’ Glamazon Tyomi asked if nude beaches were for black people? She was visiting a nudist beach near San Diego with a male friend and it quickly became obvious that they were the only black skinned people on Black’s Beach. Leaving aside the bit where she discusses the effect of a warm sun on her male friend’s penis, Tyomi asks a valid question, why do so few black people visit nudist clubs or beaches?
Tyomi’s article doesn’t really answer the question, it doesn’t even try, and as I’m white, male and aging, I cannot expect to have the answer either, but there are naturists of BAME origin who can. Perhaps part of the answer comes in a comment made by Tyomi, when she said she felt the eyes of the other beach users were on her. Naturism might be a European concept but it isn’t just for us white folks. So, for me a question has been raised, is naturism really as welcoming as we say it is?
“Performance Features Nudity”
The whole world, it seems, is commemorating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Now I know that he is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but what has emerged is just how translatable his plays are with adaptations replacing the setting to ancient Japan or to modern South Africa.
Mahita Gajanan wrote a review for The Guardian (20/05/2015) for an all-woman, fully nude abridged version of The Tempest played in New York’s Central Park in May, performed by members of The Outdoor Co-Ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society (aka Topless Book Club). While it is legal for women to be topfree in New York, full nudity in the park is only allowed if it is for entertainment purposes and licensed.
Alice Mottula, co-director for the play told Gajanan the reason why they chose Shakespeare was because ‘you can’t ague the script sucked’ adding that many of the characters in The Tempest wrestled with ‘confinement versus freedom, being yourself and becoming who you are’.
They also wanted something that they could adapt, working nude performances into the story, ‘otherwise, it defeats the purpose of normalising nudity’, which was one of the group’s aims. Most of the cast is nude throughout, and those who begin in costume, discard it before the play’s end.
The most significant part of the play for the group comes at the end. The actor playing the main protagonist, Prospero, delivers the epilogue, as she gets dressed. Pitr Strait, co-director, explained that once the play ended, ‘nudity becomes illegal again, which is strange, and arbitrary and tragic.’
My challenge to you, if you choose to accept it, is what other plays – by Shakespeare or not – do you think could be adapted for nude performances?
Learning to be Body Positive
To be honest, this is something I’ve never done but a guest blogger for Young Naturists America (YNA) described her first experience of skinny-dipping as an introduction to ‘a wealth of body positivity to [her] life,’ and that she ‘realize that [her] body was not much different from theirs’.
Initially, wrote the blogger, she was worried that it would introduce an element of sexual tension between her and her friends that hadn’t existed before? It didn’t and she added that, if the opportunity arose, she would go again.
That got me thinking. At the mere mention of skinny-dipping, you think of isolated places in the American West, but does it ever happen here, in the UK?
Breasts are Healthy
Another piece originally published by YNA, this time an interview of top free activist, Chelsea Covington (aka Gingerbread), conducted by Felicity Jones.
Covington explained that even as a child she preferred to go around the house either top free or nude but it wasn’t until 2014 that she went top free in public. Since then, she has became an activist, walking bare-chested wherever it is legal to do so, talking to the police and getting better training for officers on the ground. Permission for her bare-chested walks are never sought, as she says women do not need permission, but she does confirm ‘what already exist in law.’
Her blog Breasts are Healthy was set up to help other women to take the same steps she has and explained in September 2015 why she prefers the term bare-chested to Toplessness.
Here in the UK, women have the legal right to breast feed their babies and young children in public places but they still get abuse, no matter how discreet they try to be. It is therefore surprising that there isn’t a more vocal campaign seeking equality with men to be bare-chested and breast-feed their children without harassment in this country.
Fall Out of San Francisco
Those who have been following events in San Francisco and the campaign for urban naturism there would have been surprised by the sudden falling out between Gypsy Taub and George Davis.
Taub has alleged that Davis has sexually harassed her daughter, who is a minor, and expelled him from the Body Freedom Network. Taub added that she would not be attending any events organized by Davis in the future.
Taub explained in an email to her Body Freedom supporters that the final break between the two occurred during or immediately after the Nude Women’s Day Parade. She claimed to have email and other evidence, adding that it would not be difficult to get a restraining order if he chose to attend her events.
In an email exchange with George Davis, he wrote: ‘I have never ever inappropriately touched her daughter, telephoned her, emailed her, stalked her, etc.’ At the time of contact, Davis said neither the police nor a legal restraining order are involved, and put the whole episode down to a lot of ‘he said, she said’.
‘I only wish that Gypsy had money so that it would be worthwhile to sue her for libel,’ added Davis.
It has also been suggested that the relationship between the two campaigners began to deteriorate about a year ago. Davis admitted to have disagreed ‘sometimes,’ but has ‘no serious problem with [Taub’s] tactics.’ These included linking body freedom with another cause. For example Taub combined a Body Freedom protest with anti-vaccination, and on another occasion to a 9/11 conspiracy, both protests were lightly attended, according to Davis.
In Davis’ opinion by piggybacking one protest on another, ‘diffuses them both’.
Whatever the truth of the matter might be, now the two main drivers for urban naturism in San Francisco have taken different paths, there must be concern for the campaign to allow social nudity on the streets of San Francisco.
Davis says his own plans are to produce a Body Freedom event and parade himself on 24th September 2016 and is helping Andy Golub to create a body-painting day on 23rd October 2016, both in San Francisco.
We tried to contact Gypsy Taub via her Gmail account, but as of the time of writing there has been no reply.
NB: After the publication deadline for H&E Naturist, Gypsy Taub contacted us but objected to the use of ‘alleged’ and suggested that we were already siding with George Davis. NAG is not in a position to judge the strength or otherwise of Ms Taub’s allegations and under both UK and US Law, George Davis is innocent until proven guilty.
It is a staple of comedy sketches everywhere, the man (or woman) to walk out into the street while sleepwalking, naked. Well, it has really happened.
According to the BBC, a naked man was spotted outside his Manchester hotel at 04:30am in his birthday suit. Greater Manchester Police tweeted: “We checked with officers; was proper [sleepwalker], not a dare. Person grateful for our help + saw the funny side themselves.”
Question: how did he get out of the hotel at that time of the morning?
Dear body freedom supporters, dear friends,
I am excited about Pride Parade this year, hoping that many of you will come and proudly join our Body Freedom contingent! Last year the audience loved us and I am sure it will be just as awesome this year!
We have finally completed the settlement with the City and are getting ready to file an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court. (See press release below)
In the meantime, we are $292 short of our June payment to our legal team. Please send us some donations! Every little donation adds up and makes a difference. Please PayPal $ to firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> or if you need my address to send a check please email me. If you would rather send a payment directly to our lawyer Gill please let me know.
Big naked hugs,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Body freedom activists and City of San Francisco Settle a Portion of Claims
San Francisco, California – June 15, 2015 – Plaintiffs in the case challenging San Francisco’s nudity ordinance filed a stipulated dismissal on that claim which was settled as part of an Agreement entered by the two sides last month. The settlement includes a one-time payment from the City to the Plaintiffs for $20,000, all of which will be given to the nudists’ legal team to cover a portion of the legal fees. Plaintiffs other claims are slated for appeal to the Ninth Circuit.
San Francisco Police Code 154 was introduced by District 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner in late 2011 and was passed on a 6 to 5 vote with significant opposition from 5 Supervisors and the public. Prior to its enactment on February 1, 2012, non-sexual nudity was legal in San Francisco except in land under the control of the Park and Recreational Department. The ban has specific exemptions for nudity at permitted fairs, festivals and parades.
However, the SFPD ignored those exceptions and cited Plaintiffs even when they were nude at Bay to Breakers and the Haight Street Fair, both of which are covered by the exemption. The SFPD also cited and arrested Plaintiffs when their nudity was an integral part of political protests protected by the First Amendment. A win at the Ninth Circuit could protect the Plaintiffs’ future right to use nudity to convey their political message of body freedom, which includes freedom from body shaming.
‘Judge Chen’s earlier rulings made it clear that the Plaintiffs were going to succeed on First and Fourteenth Amendment claims based on viewpoint discrimination,’ stated the Plaintiffs’ attorney D. Gill Sperlein. ‘We have settled that claim so that we can focus on the claims that are the most important to the Plaintiffs.’ The reason those claims are important is that they would allow for injunctive relief preventing the SFPD from interrupting nude protests in the future.
‘The settlement reached with the defendants provides important funding to continue litigating the important
An urgent message from Gypsy Taub that will appeal most to our US friends:
Dear Body Freedom Supporters,
We urgently need your help to pay our monthly payments to our lawyers. We haven’t paid for March yet and I only got $175 from three people. (Thank you so much for those generous donations.) But we need $500 per month and still need to pay for April.
Please PayPal donations to firstname.lastname@example.org or email me for other methods of donating. Even the smallest donation makes a big difference.
Here is an update about our federal lawsuit:
You may recall that earlier U.S. District Judge Chen dismissed many of the claims we brought in the nudity litigation, including a claim for injunctive relief. This means that even if we were to win on the remaining claim, the Court would not order the SFPD to act any differently than they have been.
We, and our attorneys, feel it is important to appeal the Court’s dismissal of our claims since our ultimate goal is to obtain an order that would prohibit the City of San Francisco from arresting people engaged in nude protests – activity that we believe is protected speech under the First Amendment. In order to speed up the process of appealing the Court’s dismissal of our First Amendment claims, we elected to settle the one remaining claim for discriminatory enforcement.
Once finalized, the proceeds from the settlement will go towards paying a small part of our legal bill, which is currently over $100,000. Once the settlement is finalized our attorneys will begin work on the appeal so that we might ultimately obtain an order preventing the City from arresting people who are exercising their
A message from Gypsy Taub and friends, providing an update on their legal action to overturn a nudity ban in San Francisco, which we hope, will interest our supporters in the US.
Dear friends, dear body freedom supporters,
Happy New Year and any other holidays you may celebrate!
Here is a quick update on our federal lawsuit against the nudity ban:
A couple months back we submitted our second amended complaint to Judge Chen. Following that the City filed a motion to dismiss our complaint. I got an email from Gill Sperlein, one of our lawyers, saying that the Judge finally issued his order and as Gill put it “some of the claims have survived”. I still need to talk to Gill to fully understand where we are at now and I will send a more informative email in the near future. For now I attach Judge’s decision.
In the meantime we are in the process of discovery, a very tedious and sometimes challenging process where we have to submit all our videos, photos, emails and media reports along with answers to their “interrogatories” that are named that way for a good reason.
Our lawyers have served discovery to the City where we get to “interrogate” them with our “interrogatories”.
We have been doing a lot of good work and really need some help to pay our lawyers. At this point we owe them tens of thousands of dollars (I haven’t seen the recent bill yet). But luckily for us our lawyers are very generous. Larry Walters joined our case pro bono, and our main lawyer Gill Sperlein is only asking us to pay him a minimum of $500 per month to continue the case.
While donations are being made, any shortfall has to be made up each month from my own money to keep going and we will need another $500 for January.
If you are able to contribute any amount, even if it is only $5, please help us out.
You can send the donations to me through PayPal. My PayPal address is email@example.com or if you want to send the money directly to Gill I would be happy to provide his address to you.
If you don’t use PayPal please let me know. We can figure out an alternative payment method.
Thank you so much for your support!
We have been asked to share the latest information from the campaign led by Gypsy Taub and George Davis to obtain a fairer deal for naturists in San Francisco.
Dear body freedom supporters,
One top First Amendment lawyers in the country Larry Walters has just joined our Federal case against the City of San Francisco and the San Francisco Police Department. We are very excited and very proud to have him on our team.
We Desperately Need Your Donations For Our Legal Fund. I had to pay $230 out of my pocket for the month of August and now we need to come up with $500 for September. We owe at least $13,000 but our generous lawyers are letting us pay $500 per month.
PLEASE PAYPAL DONATIONS to firstname.lastname@example.org or email for more info if you want to donate but don’t use PayPal.
George and I were just asked to resubmit our disclosures for our case. We need names of people who attended our protests and other nude actions as well as names of people who interviewed us and documented our body freedom activism. If you are one of those people (especially if you witnessed us getting arrested or cited) please email me back with your full legal name, phone number, address and email contact. We need as many people as we can get to make our case stronger. We also need names of people who were at the Naked Sword filming, World Naked Bike Ride and other events where nude people were present but not cited.
George Davis is organizing Malaysian Nude Beach Game Baker Beach, San Francisco on Saturday, October 4, 2014 Free. Registration 11am for noon
We are going to be holding the Malaysia Nude Beach Games on Baker Beach, San Francisco. Noon, Saturday, October 4, 2014. We will have athletic contests like running races, javelin throw, wrestling (Sumo and Greco-Roman), volleyball, human wheelbarrow race, and other contests. We will have a body-decorating contest with body paint, dollar store accessories, and beach extras like kelp and seaweed. In the Malaysian games they had swimming contests (not practical at Baker Beach – cold water, currents, and sometimes waves) and something called “crabwalk races”. If we can figure what a “crabwalk race” is, we’ll include it. We are still open for other events to include.
In May 2014, about 18 people held a Nude Sports Games privately on a beach in a National Park in Malaysia. Most of the participants were from Malaysia with a couple from the Philippines and Albert Lam from Singapore. All the participants were Asian. Albert Lam posted a video of the games on the Internet. During the month of August 2014, the Malaysian police sought the arrest of all the participants and offered rewards for the identities of the participants. Several were arrested and held for a few days. (“Perp” photos made for shame.) The event attendees were threatened with 5-year prison sentences. As of August 29, 2014, five were sentenced for 30 days and a fine. The videographer got six months for “distribution and possession of pornographic material”. This story was reported widely in the Asian regional press and Internet search engines, hence, the idea to call the games in San Francisco, the Malaysian Nude Beach Games. We will keep the name until such time as the Games can be held again in Malaysia without police harassment. Let’s have some fun and make an international statement against the police state harassment of nudists. As long as we exercise it, we have this freedom.
Gypsy, Rich Pasco, Rusty Mills and Nomad are helping with the spreading the word. Even if you cannot attend, please distribute this information to your social network.
For more details: George Davis – email@example.com
Why is a nude San Franciscan politician making a campaign speech in exile in Times Square, New York City at noon, Wednesday, August 6, 2014?
George Davis is a Body Freedom proponent and a candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (equals City Council) in the November 4, 2014 General Election.
The Body Freedom Movement holds that you have a natural right to be nude and live in a less stressful clothing optional society. This is both futuristic thinking and a return to the cultural standards of Ancient Greece and Rome…. At worst, public nudity is harmless. At best, public nudity has a positive public health benefit by normalizing the human body and overcoming the body shame and negative body image feelings that permeate the neurotic contemporary psychological thinking of many Americans… Does anyone think it’s mentally or physically healthy to feel insecure about your body and the bodies of others? Plus, there is the old adage: “If nudity offends, imagine what truth and reality will do.”
For ten years, George Davis has run for public office and made public speeches (nude) in San Francisco. Recently, a nudity ban law went into effect in San Francisco with the intentional consequences of censoring and the attempted destruction of the local Body Freedom Movement.
In the Supervisor race, Mr. Davis’s chief opponent is the incumbent Supervisor who sponsored the nudity ban legislation. Interestingly, this electoral district is the same one that Harvey Milk was elected from. (Harvey Milk was the first “out” elected Gay official in America and was assassinated in 1978) Mr. Davis intends to be the first “out” nudist elected official. Both the Gay and Body Freedom Movements are all about freedom of expression and freedom of choice.
Since the San Francisco nudity ban went into effect, George Davis has been arrested twice, cited once, and threatened with arrest two more times for making the same speeches that he has always made. Due to this censorship by his incumbent opponent, he can no longer effectively campaign in San Francisco in public.
Recently, New York City has recognized the validity of public nudity for theatrical and artistic performances and political speeches. Mr. Davis’s speech (nude) is being made with the knowledge of the NYPD and NYC City Hall officials. Andy Golub, a talented well-known body painter of nudes will join George Davis in Times Square. Andy Golub will give a short speech and a nude body painting demonstration.
Does this mean that San Francisco is losing it’s cultural edge and New York City is becoming an International center of free thinking?
For an uncensored 3 minute campaign video of the before-and-after of the San Francisco nudity ban, go to www.supervisorgeorgedavis.wordpress.com.
For other damning reasons other than the nudity ban to vote-out the incumbent District 8 Supervisor, go to www.showmeyourwiener.blogspot.com
For fundraising information on this campaign, go to www.indiegogo.com, search for “Body Freedom Election Campaign”.
For a recent history of SFPD suppression of the Body Freedom Movement and a short history of social nudity and contemporary global status of public nudity, go to www.urbannudism.com.
Vivienne and I took the opportunity of a stop-over in San Francisco in January, to meet with the leaders of the campaign to overturn that city’s new ordinance ( by-law). The history of this issue has been covered before, but a brief re-run may help.
Since the 1950’s San Francisco has been one of the most liberal cities in the USA, probably originating in Berkley University, the early ‘beat-nicks’, and developing its own momentum in the hippy days of the 60’s and 70’s, and the parallel development of an overt gay scene there. The ‘gay centre’ of SF became the Castro district, and along with its alternative lifestyle, alternative dress styles became common, including groups of gay men who took to spending warm days in the public areas and a few cafés enjoying the sun and conversation au naturel. Like most things in Castro this went largely unremarked for a number of years, and gradually the practice spread to straight men and some women, who enjoyed the relaxed ambience social nudity brings with it. Eventually this came to the attention of the City Authorities, sparked partly by a new influx of Silicon Valley Yuppies who were moving in to Castro and attempting to ‘gentrify’ it, thereby destroying the very character which attracted them in the first place. A few local traders also made noises about the naked people deterring visitors (whilst ignoring the ones it attracted). And nothing speaks as loudly as money, in the USA as elsewhere. Pressure was added because of an increasing number of out-of- town gay exhibitionists joining in at weekends with flamboyant sexual displays which even the original nudists found weird. It was a familiar tale of a few extremists getting the moderate many a bad name. At the same time a ‘new broom’ City Supervisor (similar to a Police and Crime Commissioner) was elected. The joke is that his name is Scott Weiner, pronounced ‘weener’, which is US slang for a small penis! His first reaction to the urban nudists was also somewhat of a joke. Pronouncing nudity a health risk, he promoted a city ordinance decreeing that it would henceforward be illegal to sit on public furniture or other surfaces with a naked bottom, unless you put some cloth down. The nudists (the term ‘naturist’ is almost unknown in the US) loved this because they were using towels anyway, and it confirmed that it was OK to sit around naked. He would also not listen to the voices of moderation who suggested naturist areas in some public parks, so that like folk could be kept together. So the pressure for a blanket ban on public nudity continued, and eventually another city ordinance was passed late last year setting out in medical detail the genital areas of both sexes which it would become illegal to show in public. It would apply to anyone over 5 years old, and be effective 1st February this year. Strangely, ‘parades’ agreed in advance by the City can include nudity. So we have the strange paradox which seems to afflict Authorities everywhere, that public nudity is OK, so long as it is done for a special reason, but not if it is enjoyed simply as a natural state! It also seems that the offence caused is inversely proportional to the number of people involved. Odd!
Throughout this process the voices of dissent were rising to a crescendo. One of the first to speak out against ‘the ban’ was George Davis. George is a long time San Franciscan who had quietly enjoyed urban nudism for many years, including teaching naked yoga classes and lecturing on the history and sociology of nudism at the Free University. A semi-retired business man, George became the spokesman for the movement opposing the ban by legal and political pressure, and working on public opinion. The issue was quickly taken up by Gypsy Taub, who turned the volume right up. Gypsy is a Russian émigré, nudist and all-round activist who has lived in the US for about 20 years and now has her own small cable TV show – ‘My Naked Truth’. She and George are opposites in many ways; he an amiable softly spoken American, she a tiny outspoken firebrand. However they share a steely determination not to lose their liberty to go naked, and they have around them a determined and diverse collection of campaigners who are not afraid to be arrested. Indeed, they have been – several times when they have publicised the issue by stripping off during televised City Council and Court meetings.
At the time of our visit (late January) an appeal against the ordinance was being heard, and we did not then know the outcome.
Over a meal in Gypsy’s home, with George and activist friends Carl and Lloyd we discussed what might happen. The appeal was based largely on Human Rights issues, and claims that the ordinance went against US
From our colleagues in Naktiv.
First Court Hearing for Nudist Activists Arrested at Political Protest. You can read more in the blog Nude In.
The nudist activists who were part of a legitimate and newsworthy political demonstration on the first day the San Francisco nudity ban took effect are fighting the citations issued by the SFPD. Attorney Christina DiEdoardo, who represents some of the nudist activists, said the false arrests amount to “kidnapping”.
Come show your support for the nudist activists at the first hearing regarding the citations on Friday, March 1 at 1:30pm, at the Hall of Justice on Bryant Street.
A legal fund has been started for you to make a donation.