Several people doffed their clothes for a rally today outside San Francisco City Hall in protest of a proposed ban on public nudity in the city.
The group is opposing an ordinance introduced by Supervisor Scott Wiener that would prohibit the display of genitals or buttocks in plaza or parklets in the city, as well as on sidewalks, streets and public transit.
George Davis, who said he is “66 chronologically but 45 physically,” was one of the protesters who bared all for the sake of the rally.
Choosing what to wear, if anything, “is the first decision you make in the morning,” Davis said. “It’s an essential freedom that’s proposed to be taken away.”
The rally was initially planned to be on the steps of City Hall but preparations for the parade celebrating the San Francisco Giants’ World Series victory prompted the group to move to a spot in Civic Center Plaza near an Annie’s Hot Dogs stand.
The colorful crowd included a man adorned with nothing but a pet parrot on his shoulder and other naked men who held signs with the supervisor’s picture that said “the only Wiener that doesn’t belong in San Francisco.”
Ckiara Rose was one of two women who undressed for the rally and said the public nudists in the city are innocuous.
“No one is harming anyone here,” Rose said. “Has anyone ever died by looking at us naked?”
Wiener has said he felt the legislation was necessary after an increasing amount of nudists were showing up regularly in Jane Warner Plaza in the city’s Castro District.
He said today, “I disagree that people should be able to take over public spaces and use them as nudist colonies, it’s just not the best way for us to go.”
If the proposal is approved by the board, violations would cost $100 for the first offense and $200 for the second, with rising penalties for each additional offense within a year.
Violators, however, would not be required to register as sex offenders and the legislation would not apply to street fairs and parades like Folsom Street Fair and the Pride Parade.
The ordinance will be heard at a board committee hearing on Monday and the nudists said they plan on attending. However, they will have to wear clothes–public nudity is banned at City Hall.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News