Hello, nudity ban: activists arrested outside City Hall for being naked


"All you have to do is strip naked to find out if public nudity is political in San Francisco," nudist activist Gypsy Taub said into a bullhorn outside City Hall today, where a nude-in was being held on the first day of Supervisor Scott Wiener's ban on being naked in public.

Moments later at around 12:30pm, she became the first arrest made under the ban, followed by two (UPDATE: Although police officers on the scene put the total protesters arrested at three, other news outlets are now reporting that there was four detained) other protesters. An incensed crowd rhythmically chanting "shame!"

The message was clear: San Francisco is not the same city -- and y'all can keep your clothes on.

It should be noted that the first person detained for the crime of taking one's clothes off was a woman -- and that the crowd at City Hall was not the mass of wrinkly older Caucasian gentlemen with cock rings as the nudists have popularily been portrayed. The crowd was diverse in gender, representative of many races, and displayed vastly divergent fashion sense. One man who was arrested wore a top hat and mesh penis sling. A woman who quietly told reporters that the police had told her the protesters would receive citations and be back on the streets in an hour had on one purple and one red fishnet stocking, a statement necklace, and a proudly erect rubber cock swinging in front of her. 

"Why do you hold my arms so hard?" top hat man implored the cops as they hauled him away. Another clothed man with a pink sign proclaiming "NUDE IS NOT LEWD" screamed ceaselessly at the cops, questioning why city resources were going toward detaining naked people and not to stopping drug sales blocks away in the Tenderloin. 

After the arrests, there was a moment to reflect.

"I have a gnarly vitamin D deficiency," Alice "Wonderland" (she withheld her last name so that people wouldn't try to add her on Facebook) told me when I asked why she and her tits had made it to the protest that day. A Santa Cruz resident who works in San Francisco, Wonderland said she used Harvey Milk Plaza in the Castro -- the geographic flashpoint for the nudity conflict -- as a spot to sunbathe on her lunch break.

"If I don't get a lot of sunshine, I get depressed," she said. "Supplements don't work the same way." Wonderland was under the impression that going topless was still okay in the city, but all the same she was nervous about have her tits in front of so many police officers.

It was worth it: "[Being nude in public] has been a highlight of my 'holy crap' city life."

Taub has helpfully posted a transcript of the speech she was delivering when she was arrested on her website. In it, she questions whether the ruling by Judge Edward Chen was in fact written by the judge or an unknown person associated with the military, and draws some untoward correlations between the nudity ban and "strict Muslim society." But we do get down with her overall message that body freedom is a right, and that its repression is a definite step backwards. 

In closing, the conclusion that Taub didn't have a chance to deliver today before she was hauled away by the cops: 

"Let’s reach out to each other in the most human way possible, let’s support and empower each other. Let’s face our fears and get [past] them, let’s take action, let’s stand our ground."