Arguments laid bare at nudity ban hearing
Nudist activist Gypsy Taub takes off her clothes in front of Sup. Scott Wiener at Monday’s hearing. (Credit: Mike Kepka/The Chronicle)
Let’s face it, it would’ve been weird if everyone’s clothes stayed on for the entirety of Monday’s hearing on legislation that would ban public nudity in San Francisco.
For two hours, speakers tussled over whether the Castro “naked guys” were a few harmless individuals just expressing themselves, or a growing public nuisance that San Franciscans should no longer have to tolerate. Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, is proposing legislation forbidding genital exposure on city sidewalks, plazas, parklets, streets and public transit while exempting street fairs, festivals and parades.
“Over the past two years, the situation on our streets and particularly in the Castro has changed,” Wiener said. “Public nudity is no longer random and sporadic it’s no longer an occasional quirky part of San Francisco.”
Nudist activist Gypsy Taub was removed from the proceedings after she disrobed during the public comment period, standing at the lectern naked touting “body freedom” and deriding Wiener’s legislation as “fascist.”
“Down with Scott Wiener!” Taub cried before a sheriff’s deputy led her from the hearing room. In the hallway, deputies had Taub up against the wall and were holding her arms for several minutes before she agreed to put her dress back on and was led out of the building. She was not arrested or cited for violating City Hall rules against nudity in the building, Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Susan Fahey said.
Taub, who had sent out a press release to alert the media about her plans for the nude protest, had accompanied her two children to the lectern earlier as they spoke during public comment opposing the legislation.
Wiener’s proposal will be heard before the full Board of Supervisors on Nov. 20. Last year, supervisors voted unanimously to implement his “skid mark law,” which required nudists to place a barrier between their naked buttocks and public benches or chairs.
Castro resident Matthew Johnson testified in favor of the ban, even though he has bared all at nude beaches and the Folsom Street Fair.
“You expect to be nude there,” he said. “However when it’s in my neighborhood and I can’t enjoy lunch because a guy is spread-eagle near me, it’s a problem.”
Pat Tura, president of the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association, said she has seen nudists hang around libraries and schools in the area, where children are present.
“This is inexcusable and the neighbors demand that something gets done,” she said.
If passed, Wiener’s legislation would fine a naked person $100 on their first offense and $200 for a second offense in a 12-month period. If caught a third time, the nudist could receive either a $500 fine or misdemeanor.
That seems harsh to Ray Borkowski, a 70-year-old man who hangs out naked in the Castro several times a week. He said he believes most San Franciscan’s attitude toward nudity is “who cares?”
When the hearing ended, Borkowski said he planned to take advantage of the warm and sunny afternoon.
“I think I’ll go down there and take off my clothes right now,” he said.
San Francisco Chronicle staff writer John Cote contributed to this report.
Posted By: Neal Riley ( Email , Twitter ) | Nov 05 at 5:00 pm
Listed Under: Board of Supervisors, Living here | Permalink | Comments & Replies (89) : Post Comment